How to Get Over Feeling Friendless
It’s my first night at college, and I’m laying in my new twin XL at 11 pm watching Clueless.
In the grand tradition of bad roommate situations, I got stuck in a suite with five sophomores who would not be arriving for another week. I was simultaneously confused and ashamed. Wasn’t college supposed to be the best years of my life? Wasn’t I supposed to meet my best friends here? All I knew was that I hadn’t met them yet.
Earlier in the night, I mustered up the confidence to go to the hall orientation party. However, everyone there was confined to their roommates and suitemates, and I was a lone island, in the middle of the room, feeling all eyes on me. Of course, they weren’t. It’s the spotlight effect; we all think everyone is looking at us, noticing what only we notice about ourselves. I thought people were self-conscious in high school—but in college, especially the first semester, everyone’s trying to prove something. If they’re not trying to shape their reputation like in high school, they’re just trying to impress people so they can make friends.
For the first couple of weeks at college, I’d call my mom every time I went outside of my dorm alone—to the college’s convenience store, to the dining hall, to class. I always wanted to seem occupied, like I wasn’t alone. The funny thing was, I wasn’t alone. Sure, I’d spend most school nights eating a microwave meal while doing homework or watching American Horror Story. But I’d spend my weekends at free concerts, exploring the city around my college, and hanging out with friends. Three friends to be exact.
For the first half of the semester, I suffocated myself in pessimism. Three friends—three! That was pathetic. Out of the roughly 20 people I’d met at events during orientation, I’d managed to become friends with a whopping one of them. There were a few that I'd wave hi to and some I'd sit next to in class and have awkward small talk with, but when it came to friends, I had three. This was a huge insecurity, until I realized pretty much everyone else was in the same position. The people I’d wave to were often alone; the ones I’d make awkward small talk with were always posting photos with the same few friends—just like me.
Around midterms, I learned that three friends wasn’t a bad thing. In fact, I was incredibly lucky. I had friends at other schools who were considering transferring because they hadn’t met anyone they could even go to the dining hall with. I realized that my best college friends weren’t going to all pop up at once, so I might as well enjoy the few good ones I had at the moment. After all, we all miss our high school friends and our families; we’re all scared of rejection or reliving high school horrors. Eventually, all that will change. College won’t become a place to prove yourself, as high school might have been. It will become home.
An upperclassman recently told me that her best friend, and now-roommate, was a girl she’d met during orientation week. They had a class together their first semester, but they never spoke. The following semester, they had another class together, and they finally became friends. I realized that the first semester was hard for me because it’s hard for everyone. Most people feel alone. So, I’ve learned to enjoy my nights in and to savor my nights out. I’m no longer just content with my few friends; I’m happy with them. Each day I become more blissful with the thought that my future friend could be sitting right next to me, or that one day, I’ll have more than three.
To me, good friends are worth the wait.
By Madison Lynn, 17