I don’t like to make excuses for my shortcomings but…
Making friends in university is hard. Making friends in university, when you don’t live on campus, is harder. Making friends in university, when you don’t live on campus and are scared of strangers, is obscenely difficult. This is why I’ve been struggling with making friends. As of this morning, I had one girl in my psychology class I sit next to and like to talk to.
Generally, I’m pretty accepting of the good and bad in my life; I take what comes and I let things run their course. Generally, I’m not by myself in a place I’ve never been to with people I’ve never seen before. Generally, my golden-hearted dad isn’t sending me manuals on how and why to talk to other people.
But since when does life stick to the generalities? I was sitting by myself for the third week, in a strange place with stranger people still, in a row. Let’s get something straight: I only believe it’s justified to complain about something you plan to do something about. What you cannot do is complain about something you have no intention to fix. That’s calamity and counter-productive. If if bothers you, do something about it. Yet, there I sat, paralyzed by fear and uncertainty. I had enough. Headphones still blaring in my ears, I snatched up my bag and lunchbox and stormed through the dreaded dining hall.
“What bothers you about this place? Why are you so afraid to set foot in it? You’re halfway through the corridor, did anything happen to you? Aren’t you still standing? Nobody here tried to hurt you!”
Satisfied with my perilous trek, I plonked down at a table outside resolving to sit down with someone inside the dining hall tomorrow. Then, I saw it…
I was floored. I’d spend the past hour talking myself out of mingling with other students. “You don’t fit in.” “They’ll think you’re a freak.” “You are a freak.” “You don’t belong here.”
All of those thoughts immediately faded away and I had to say something. Had to. Had to let the girl know what her balloon meant to me, had to prove myself wrong, had to break the stifling silence that permeated my lunch breaks.
“Hey there, I saw your balloon and I really liked it. It’s a really nice thing to say.” OK so I didn’t actually tell her how much I needed to see her balloon, but I did manage to initiate conversation with her in a not-so-painfully-awkward-way! Then, her friend came over and, funny story, I actually knew her from freshman orientation. Long story short, we all had lunch together, I proved myself wrong, and I broke the silence.
By the way, I did confess to the girl what her balloon meant to me after school. She thanked me for sharing and is still willing to eat lunch with me! (Remember when I wrote about wanting to be vulnerable with people? I’d say it went pretty well if I may say so myself.)
So to all you lovelies who are looking for friends/scared of strangers/all of the above…my advice to you is to just to go out there and talk. It’s OK if you’re awkward. I tried to pass on the balloon, to spread around the positivity, and wound up freaking the heck out of a girl.
Seriously, I’ve never made anyone besides myself that uncomfortable. Poor thing. Then I went to psychology class with the balloon tied around my finger. (Nobody actually cared other than the girl I sit next to. She got a real kick out of it. And I think we bonded a little more?)
Moral of the story: Friendship is out there! Go find it!