Ever felt lonely on campus? I know I have. Coming to SFU alone was a little bit intimidating, and I still remember one of my awkward attempts at making friends. I met this girl though a partnership for a presentation and we got along, each doing our share of the work. I thought this was the perfect opportunity for meeting new people that would lead to a brand new friendship…only to never see each other again after the semester. We said we would hang outside of school, but that never happened. Over the next couple of years, I realized some of the mistakes I made while attempting to build a new friendship from scratch and thought some of you would be able to relate and avoid repeating the same mistakes:
1. Hoping that good friendships will magically appear out of nowhere.
Believe it or not, friendship requires work and it may take one or two years to go from strangers to close friends. Friendship is NOT about simply finding a person, acknowledging each other’s presence and liking one another, that does not cut it for a friendship. Instead, friendship is about helping each other develop into better people over time. This certainly does not happen overnight.
2. You stop making new friends.
If you have a solid group of friends that you can always rely on, you might think it’s totally okay to just stick to that crowd. In reality, that is the worst thing you could do. Once life takes its course, different career goals or new romantic relationships may arise, and those friends will become less available, which will definitely change your friendship commitments. What will happen if these were your only friends? Thus, it is important to make sure that we are constantly welcoming new people into our lives. These new individuals all have a chance of developing into meaningful friendships.
3. You keep track of who’s initiating what.
If this is something that you think about, ”I invited him/her last time, it’s their turn,” then you should stop thinking in this perspective. Instead, the thought process should be something like this, “I want to see [insert friend name here] again, I’ll get in touch and see when she/he will be available!” Friends can contribute much more than taking the initiative in arranging an activity together. Friends can help create pleasant memories by showing interest and sharing stories with each other. Isn’t this what you wanted in the first place? If you know you want to spend time with friends, don’t be hesitant to ask or be afraid of rejection. After all, everyone has their own strengths to bring to the table, and planning is just an ability we all have that some people are better than others at.
Keep in mind these mistakes when you think your friendship is slipping. Can you improve on any of these mistakes to save your friendship? As a busy student like me, friendships can be hard to maintain, but even a casual hello here and there wouldn’t hurt!
image source via bitrebels.com