Recently, I talked about my struggles with making friends (in general) and my goal to make new friends in college and do it right this time. Well it’s been a week and I’ve actually made progress without much effort! I attribute this phenomenon to Portland being the friendliest city I’ve ever been to (another post, another time). The following are my experiences from the past week that seem like progress (names have been changed):
I was in my second history class, setting up my notes on my laptop per usual, when a girl (do I say woman now??) came in late and sat next to me. This particular classroom is a small lecture hall with those terrible test-taking desks that are only big enough to fit a piece of paper (barely) and then some asshole decided it was a good idea to connect that to a chair, all of this at an angle. So she, let’s call her Sarah, sits down next to me in close quarters and sets her coffee down on the desk (I decided to overlook the fact that it was Starbucks, all sins can be forgiven). The cup, because of the angle of the desk, starts sliding towards her and I laugh. She notices me laugh (YES!). Later, during our break, she asks me if I was in class on Monday and if I would be willing to email her my notes! And I’m like, “Sure, no problem,” but in my head “YES, OF COURSE! WILL YOU BE MY NEW BFF?!?!” (We did have a fuller conversation than that, but you get the general idea). At the end of class she even said bye. I got her email and name (which I took note to actually remember, which is a task for me). I sent her the email and can’t wait to see her in class again, maybe she will sit next to me and we will talk. Yay for Sarah!
Next instance: I sat next to someone in my OTHER history class (yes I’m taking two history classes, back to back. No, I’m not a history major). I forced myself to get up and move closer to an actual human instead of isolating myself. I asked her if she did all the reading and she said, “No, “ and we went on to have a conversation about how we will have to wing it because neither of us did all the reading. I did not get her name, and the conversation seemed to be a one-time thing. BUT it got me out of my comfort zone. Maybe if I talk to someone every day, in at least one of my classes, I will somehow make a friend of one of them.
Super friendly Portlanders: The other story I have is about making friends with a passerby while walking in Portland. This is not uncommon. But she was friendlier than I expected. Chelsea wanted to know where the library was (we were on campus) and I pointed but said I was going there too (the truth). We then got into a full-fledged conversation about what we were studying, why we were there, our names, our boyfriends going to school, and our dreams for future occupations. She started it! But when we got to the library, we split up (she was there to see her boyfriend, who is a student. Chelsea goes to another school). Here’s the kicker: I went upstairs to my usual spot and I’m 90% sure she was right behind me (within earshot) talking to her boyfriend! I did not turn around or engage them. Doing so would of proven my eavesdropping and could of been potentially awkward if she didn’t plan on talking to me again. So I listened to their weekend plans instead (which sounded awesome, BTW) and read my book.
Required group discussions: In my Communications class, the teacher requires us to group up into triads and discuss questions off of a PowerPoint every Tuesday. I happened to sit down at a table with two guys so nobody moved and we started on the questions. I got their names from the paper we had our assignment on (required to get points for attendance). I will call them Jake and Jerry. Luckily, they weren’t complete idiots and we did alright. Later that week I sat next to Jake again but we didn’t talk. Both of them had the looks of more serious introverts: they would talk in a graded group discussion, but otherwise kept to themselves. This is probably why I make friends with extroverts, sometimes of the extreme edition.
So this week there was much more interaction than anticipated. Which is great! Baby steps! But I still have a long way to go before making solid friends, or lasting friends. Hell, at this point, I’d settle for a study buddy. Has anyone else made progress this week? Any tips? If not, try to make progress this next week. Step outside your comfort zone. Or, if you’re an extrovert, try talking to an introvert. They might surprise you.