Welcome back Oles to another year of fun relationship advice (both romantic and otherwise) from Heart Beat! Join us this year as we try to unpack the complexities of social interactions.
Today I thought we could talk about something that is on everyone’s mind, from first-years to seniors. I’m writing from Copenhagen, Denmark, and it’s on my mind too! What is it, you ask, that is on everyone’s mind? Making new friends, of course! #WholesomeContent.
As a first-year, transfer or exchange student, there are a lot of internal and external pressures to find the right friends. And we are expected to find them fast. As an upperclassman, you probably have your core group, but perhaps you’re taking a class out of your major, had a falling out or just started a new campus job. You’re probably looking to meet a few new people too.
So how does one go about it? I’m going to be honest with you, there’s not a right or a wrong way. I am by no means an expert, but I can give you a few pointers to get you started.
First off, nobody wants to be first to introduce themself, but you’re usually better off if you do. I pinky-promise the world will not implode if you sit down next to someone you don’t know in class, and say, “Hi, my name is Cristiana” (but say your name, please don’t steal mine), “what’s your name again?” I always add the “again” because, in my panicked state of meeting-new-people anxiety, I guess I think that sounds more laid-back and casual? Judge me all you want, but I pretend that I have maybe heard of or seen this random new person on campus before. And chances are I maybe have because 3,000 people is not a lot…?
That simple but sometimes terrifying strategy can lead to some good class friendships, if not true love and a Boe Chapel marriage. What sometimes works even better, and is maybe easier for the shy among us, is to find yourself a connector. Connectors are the type of people that come up and introduce themselves in class, have 1,000 Instagram followers they didn’t buy and have to constantly stop their conversation as they walk to class because they are greeting so many acquaintances. Connectors are great, because they will not hesitate to introduce themselves, pull you into their orbit or introduce you to different groups of people. It might take a little courage, but if you happen upon a connector who invites you out, take them up on it, because they might introduce you to your new best friend.
Another guaranteed way of meeting people is by doing what you like. Yes, it’s a cliché, but it’s a cliché because it works! We, the scientists of the world, know that success breeds success. So surround yourself with successful people that are doing things you love, and soon you will be part of the group. That means signing up for the Quidditch Team. It means showing up to Gospel Choir rehearsal. It means going to the first rugby practice. It means taking classes you are actually interested in. It means going to study at Blue Monday’s downtown because you have a kindred connection with coffeeshop studiers! Do what you love, and you will find people that share that same love.
And most importantly, remember that friendships take time. It’s okay to be a month into school and realize you haven’t quite found your people yet. That is normal. It’s okay to start junior year and realize you aren’t the same person you were two years ago, and that you need to expand your friendship circle to reflect that. You are okay. You are normal. And you will find your people. And good news for you, we Oles are freakishly friendly. You’re in the right place. Happy fall, and welcome home!
Having trouble navigating the St. Olaf dating scene? E-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and maybe one of our love columnists will answer them in next week’s issue. All submitted questions will remain anonymous.