Meeting new people at school?
January 3, 2009 3:55 PM   Subscribe

I am a semester into college and extremely dissatisfied with my social life. Please help me set some tangible, reachable goals and create specific New Year (New Semester?) resolutions that will allow me to reach them.

I don’t adore my very small group of friends, an extremely short relationship (my first) recently failed, and I often feel alone and hopeless. I recognize that my social life is in my hands, and I’m afraid that my attitude is holding me back. My dissatisfaction contributed to my being pretty depressed for the last few weeks of last semester, and I’m already dreading going back to school in a week and a half.

I want a small group of friends who are like-minded, smart, creative, and intellectual, as well as a good-sized network of acquaintances. A boyfriend would be nice as well :) I want to feel that I’m being proactive in forming friendships, rather than just hanging out with the people I know from my hall. I know that I’m still at the beginning of my college career and that these things take time, but I want to make sure I’m doing what I can.

Other information: My classes are generally pretty large but I will have a small class and a few small recitations this semester. I live on campus in a dormitory. The most popular weekend activity is attending frat parties, which I detest. I’m shy and have some social anxiety, but don’t consider myself unfriendly.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (28 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Your university probably offers counseling/therapy for free- you should look into that. It may halp you deal with aniexty and depression, which likely have a negative impact on your social life. Here are some more practical tips as to making friends:

1. Join a club or two. If you hear of an activity that sounds interesting to you, go!
2. Talk to people. Say hi to people from your classes when you pass them on campus. Maybe try to find a study partner or two from your classes? The more people you meet, the better.
3. When someone invites you to something, accept, even if you think it might not be your cup of tea. You never know until you try.
4. Focus on meeting people and making friends, not getting a boyfriend. Chances are if you increase your social circle, a boyfriend will come around eventually, but the opposite is usually not true.
5. Don't be too hard on yourself. It's just your very first sememster? Most college students take a while before then end up with a close group of friends.

Good luck!
posted by emd3737 at 4:06 PM on January 3, 2009

It took me a year and a half to meet my favorite college friends. And they lived right up the hall from me.

The dorm is a great place to meet people - especially people who don't attend frat parties. Don't be afraid to ask people their names, repeatedly, and make sure you leave the door to your room open whenever possible. That's all I ever did and I met plenty of people in no time, though it took me until my sophomore year to really "fall in" with a group. And it was a group of people that were already friends with each other from high school - so even though I was an outsider I kind of jumped on an existing bandwagon and it was great.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 4:07 PM on January 3, 2009

Don't despair! There are lots of ways to get to know people outside of class.

Join a club oriented around an activity you enjoy, or at least an activity you think you want to try. My first couple weeks in college were dreadful -- I read a lot of myself in your words -- but after I joined the university fencing club I was able to attain that critical mass of a few interesting, smart friends. (In fact, it was there that I met my future wife!)

In particular, if you decide to look into a sport of some sort, I recommend finding a club rather than any of the intramural teams, so it won't be Serious Business if you try it and decide it's not for you. Film clubs are good for meeting people, but will require more of an effort on your part (since most of the time the meetings will consist of you all silently watching a movie). If you know what major you're interested in pursuing, then you might also see if that department has any undergraduate clubs; those can be a good way to meet other people who are not only interesting, but interested in the same things as you.
posted by voltairemodern at 4:15 PM on January 3, 2009

Um, hello me last year.

One thing I learned at college was that my standards were too specific. I thought I wanted one thing - your list of "like-minded, smart, creative, and intellectual" is exactly what I had in mind. As a result I almost overlooked some wonderful people who are among the best friends I've had. If I had let my first-semester self judge them based on my silly pre-requirements, I probably would have very few friends today. Never look for friends with a checklist in mind, because people are pretty bad judges of what they actually need. IMO, the only qualities that should matter are "they are kind to me" and "I have fun when I'm with them." One group of friends doesn't have to fulfill every need. I have a group I can talk to about books and politics, and a group I can go bowling and grab a bite to eat with.

Anyway, a good-sized network of acquaintances will come to you through classes (especially as you recognize your fellow majors over time) and similar social cycles. Don't worry about that. You start to see the same people all over the place.

As for good friends, dorms are excellent for this. You should also try out a few clubs. I signed up for a ton - over 15 - and narrowed it down to two or three I really enjoy. Classes aren't that great of a place to make friends, which doesn't mean you shouldn't try, just that they're not a 'friend-making' atmosphere.

The most popular weekend activity is attending frat parties, which I detest.

Have you tried going to a few with a group of acquaintances or a friend or two? Seriously, don't knock anything till you've tried it.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 4:17 PM on January 3, 2009 [5 favorites]

I'm seconding what emd says.

The friends I'm still in best contact with - people I drive three hours to visit twice yearly, whose weddings I've been in - are all from the Rocky Horror troupe I joined as a frosh. Other small groups engender the same sort of thing (the weird cape people all hang out with each other still, for instance.) Now, joining that group pushed some boundaries for me - I'm not a 'be on stage' person, for one - but it worked the best. It was also, importantly, a multi-class group, not primarily made up of other first-year students.

Secondly, and maybe for next year, get an on-campus job.
posted by cobaltnine at 4:20 PM on January 3, 2009

I'm also going to recommend joining clubs. It makes it easier to talk to people (this helps if you are like me - I have no problem talking to people in my classes, but, I never know the next step from class friends to real friends), to find people with similar interests, and, by joining at the start of a semester, you won't be the only one, which will make things less awkward.

Also, most dorms do have events going on, which are usually free, give out free food/entertainment, and are a good environment to meet others.

Also, take chances, within reason - alot of relationships form based on luck and chance. My roommates this year are the best, but I would never have met them if I hadn't seen a notice saying that they needed one more person.

Don't beat yourself up too much, though, because I'm a senior in college and I only just made really good friends this past semester. I hadn't previously because I was busy with classes and work, and only joined things and got involved recently.

Good luck! Freshman year is hard.
posted by firei at 4:24 PM on January 3, 2009

Go to the frat parties; you'll meet people similarly unimpressed with it. You're right in that it's the issue of attitude, and for as long as you're at this college, where the coolest thing to do is go to frat parties, you may want to check it out. That encounter might lead to someone who only came to meet people, who might have a bunch of friends meeting at a restaurant in, like, half an hour, and—all of a sudden—you're invited.

This is not advice to like these events, but to understand their place.
posted by trotter at 4:25 PM on January 3, 2009

I don't think its possible to intentionally construct a social life, especially not one according to one's fantasy. A social life is just a function of who you are, not who you are trying to be or want to be. Since you mentioned depression/anxiety issues, I would work on those. It is very difficult to be 'who you are' when you are in a mire of self-loathing and self-embarrassment. Depression/anxiety is physiological and does respond to diet, exercise, and maturing.
posted by norabarnacl3 at 4:26 PM on January 3, 2009 [2 favorites]

I was in the same boat in college: not the party crowd, but fortunately I lived in the honors college housing full of like-minded nerds. I met my college girls on the second day of living in the dorms, so I lucked out. But seconding that the dorms are a great place to meet people -- those "lame" socials your RA organizes (aka: me in a former life) -- why not go to them? Or just go talk to your RA about it? They probably have familiarity with your floor/house that you do not, they may be able to facilitate some new friendships on the floor. I met a girl in grad school (at a different university) who lived on my floor when I was a freshman, and I didn't even know it!

Top places I met people in college: dorm, forming study/homework groups for some of my challenging classes, and clubs (honors college, RA/res life, and band were my big activities). I had some really challenging classes, and spending hours doing calculus problems together really strengthens your relationships ;)

Things I've learned about making new friends: you mention being proactive and that is a good step. Invite a few people with whom you are acquainted but would like to get to know better over to your room or the study lounge or whatever to watch a movie. Share some snacks your mom sent you. (whether or not she actually sent them is beyond the point ;) Say "hey I'm going to dinner, anyone else up for the mystery meat tonight?" or "hey I'm going to the gym, anyone up for a run?" Just like you said - find people who like what you like, and invite them along with you. Hopefully things become reciprocal and before you know it you'll have a whole new crew.

College friends are totally different than high school -- they become your new family. You're going to have to deal with peoples emotions and personalities 24/7, you can just say "see ya tomorrow" when the bell rings at 3 p.m. So be prepared for that, even with your current group of friends. I can remember some really tough times in college with family deaths, difficult relationships, and big time adult decisions. Hopefully your friendships will also become family after a while.
posted by sararah at 4:27 PM on January 3, 2009

I'm shy too. It took me about a year to settle in. A long time ago someone once told me that college friends are the friends that you will have for life and I couldn't agree with them more, you just need to hang in there.

One thing that will make the situation better is staying out of your dorm room and keeping yourself from checking Facebook/AIM/MySpace/World of Warcraft all the time. I don't know if you do these things or not, but when I was a Freshman, I noticed that the people who were the most unsatisfied with college were the ones who secluded themselves in their rooms, chatting to long distance friends all the time.

So, get out there and do things. There is so much more to college than just parties, and it seems like you're not even a party person either, so don't force yourself to befriend people who are just going to party all the time. By joining a club you're interested in, you'll most definitely find like-minded people.
You said that you are creative? I'm willing to bet that your school has a film club or an art club that you could join. Intellectual? How about a book club?
posted by nikkorizz at 4:31 PM on January 3, 2009

Getting into theatre, even just as an extra, often means an instant social group.
posted by craven_morhead at 4:34 PM on January 3, 2009

Freshmen realize pretty quickly that frat parties are all the same, and a lot stop going to them after the first semester or two. Do what you like to do, maybe push yourself to do a little bit more that you wouldn't normally do (i.e. IM sports, a club or two, etc.), but don't worry about it too much. It's stunningly easy to make friends with people in groups/etc since they're looking for people with the same interests too. I wouldn't expect to magically get a boyfriend though. If your school is like mine, people are quite busy all the time, and dating gets pushed out of the way while people settle down into activities & groups of friends they're comfortable with. Finally, don't discount the people in your hallway. Some of my best friends were from my freshman year hallway & dorm. They're not the people I would have thought I'd be friends with at the beginning of freshman year, but I think you'll be surprised how, come next year, you'll feel quite attached to them.
posted by devilsbrigade at 4:46 PM on January 3, 2009

Can we get some more information about your school? Just as an example, I went to URI before transferring out as fast as humanly possible. At the time, it had been a Playboy Top Ten Party School for 10 years running; it was an extremely isolated and rural campus; and freshmen were not allowed to have cars. As a result, there was virtually no freshman social life outside of the Greek system, because we were geographically trapped on campus.

I made friends through art courses and drama productions, yoga (to fill my PE requirement), and by joining/helping to start a co-ed fraternity with a very different social structure. I met better people and made some good friends. Year 2 year I moved off campus into a house with some of these people and life got MUCH better.

Despite what most people say, 15 years later I'm really not in touch with most of them - but I did have a much better social life after I found the right groups for me.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:55 PM on January 3, 2009

nthing everyone on finding clubs, groups and activities that you do like.

To augment that, here is some advice on surviving the Greek scene. For a shy person with social anxiety navigating a frat party can feel like a nightmare. If the frats are a huge part of the school's social life, then there's no reason to skip them entirely. Just go, say hi to your friends and go home / to Waffle House / wherever. Enjoying a big party is a tool you can use throughout life. Plus, you won't be feeling antisocial and friendless when everyone hits the frats.

Instead of trying to conquer a frat huge party, visualize it as a series of short conversations with very small groups. When you enter the party, take a mental inventory of the people in the room who you know. I mean everyone, even people you just recognize from classes. Plan to say hi to each one of those people during the night. You can zigzag the party saying a few words to each person. Those people will introduce you to the people near them. You can kill an hour easily.

Tips to avoid awkward moments:
● If someone doesn't introduce a person then introduce yourself. Your friend may have forgotten the person's name.
● It's a frat party, not a discussion group. It's not the venue for long conversations. This is is a meet and greet.
● Always leave the person before you run out of topics. When you're just standing there floundering, it's awkward. Just say, "hey, I'm going to get another beer" and go.
● Lots of people find it easier to interact with people on the periphery of the room.

Here's the biggest trick - the best part of the party is the middle. Don't get there too early or hang out until the kegs float. When you get bored, leave. Smile and say bye to people on your way out the door.
posted by 26.2 at 6:29 PM on January 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

Are you on meal plan?

I'm also not a big fan of parties, and considered myself fairly shy. But I was surprisingly successful meeting people in the dining hall. I would sit with just about anyone I was nominally acquainted with -- people from my dorm, kids I recognized from class or section, friends of friends -- and then meet whoever else they happened to be sitting with and make conversation. (The key to this to ask people about their lives, because most people enjoy talking about themselves when you've shown an interest.) Sometimes it was awkward, but that just meant that I wouldn't bother sitting with those people in the future.

I made some of my best friends this way, and also developed a wide circle of "dining hall buddies."

(My social life was also lacking my first year of college, and I think a big part of the reason was because my university didn't have a dining hall. I transferred the next year to a new school with two traditional dining halls and a large percentage of the student body on meal plan. Even though I was coming in as a transfer student starting from scratch when most people in my year had already settled into a group of friends, my social life was much improved.)
posted by puffin at 6:53 PM on January 3, 2009

Totally leave your dormroom door open when you're not doing something private or need to concentrate on something. Wander around and poke in and say hi to other people who have their doors open, too. You say that you're shy - but not unfriendly. Open doors usually means that the occupants also want to meet other people.

Give the frat parties a try - but stay away from the booze/drugs. You'll eventually (well, maybe) run into other people who are likewise sober where the vast majority of the other people are drunk off their asses. Bonding galore.

As for the boyfriend thing, thank your stars that you're not a boy looking for a girlfriend =D Either staying away from the booze (or learn to look like you've been drinking lots without actually) or getting into drinking shape (so you know what you're doing) is probably a good idea if "partying" is one of the major/only things to do around campus.

Clubs can be ok, but there can be "politics" and stuff. Smaller, more esoteric classes can be a great place to meet other people. As long as you are actually interested in those smaller esoteric classes. My "Symbolic Logic" philosophy class (as a substitute for Calc II) was fantastic. Non-mathematically inclined artsy nerds where everyone had a different background and interest nerding out over what was, pretty much, math.

I was kicked out of school (small private liberal arts, student body ~2000) and ended up at Iowa State for a semester. Social dynamics were mucho different (that and I still had friends at my old school which was only a couple of hours away) but still managed to make a lot of casual friends from the floor/dorm and from the smaller classes (albeit, I didn't "work at it" because I figured I'd be back at my old school the next semester).

OTOH, I tried to force myself into social groups during that semester (hanging out with the "loser" grad students at the food halls, joining up with a couple of role-playing groups, hanging out with the role-players to watch B5, &c) which didn't work out very well. OTGH, I got caught with flagrant public drunkeness and had to attend anti-drinking sessions. Made some pretty ok temporary friends at those...

Are you into quirky or more indy movies? Have them on (even if you're not watching them) when you have your door open. I've had people wander into my room when I've been watching them ("Woah! You're into Akira too!? Hey, you wanna check out...") and I've wandered by other people's ("The Killer, eh? The subtitle translation is absolute garbage... want me to translate?)...
posted by porpoise at 7:40 PM on January 3, 2009

I don't know where you are going to school, but many (some) schools have cooperative living groups, aka independent living groups. These would be groups of students who probably also dislike frat parties, and enjoy a small (but not too small) community of intellectual social people. I would recommend taking a look around for one of these. Try hanging out there - they may have a meal plan of their own that you can join (if they cook for each other, as many do). YMMV.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 7:58 PM on January 3, 2009

If you don't already have one, get a Facebook. Or get on whatever social networking site is most used. Friend people you find interesting there or look up people you think might be interesting and get ideas of what to talk to them about. (Don't do the last bit if you feel creepy about it, I guess.)
posted by NoraReed at 8:36 PM on January 3, 2009

I think a lot of people are kind of depressed/lonely their first year of college.

I remember having a really hard time living in the dorms. The dining hall though is a good place to see people regularly-- even if it's a little awkward, I remember that's where lot of people would make plans for later in the evening or meet up during the weekends. I think if you can just make one friend, someone to study with, or get coffee with, this can be a lifesaver, and can lead to eventually meeting new people. I would give it time, just keep being friendly with people, open to meeting people, stopping by parties, or learning to play an instrument can also be a great way to meet people. I also remember when I lived in the dorm, all the smokers would hang out on the stoop outside, and so sometimes I would too, even if I wasn't smoking.
posted by Rocket26 at 8:50 PM on January 3, 2009

So, I've been considering writing almost exactly this question for the last month or so. I go back to school tomorrow, and I'm kinda dreading it. I go to a very small private liberal arts college and your situation may be totally different, but I bet they aren't that dissimilar. Substitute entry for hall, subtract frats and reduce the class sizes, and you're me (subtract also the relationship :) ). The main things that are helping me face going back to a college I'm still not sure was the right choice are:

-talking about it. I've talked about my worries with my friends and my parents, and it has only reassured me that everything will be fine. People say college is great, but the first semester has unanimously been hard for my high school friends, at huge state universities and smaller private colleges alike. Counseling services isn't a bad idea either- they know the details of the place better than we do.

-Keeping in touch with my high school friends. If you had good friends in high school, make the effort to keep in touch. Facebook and IM make this not too hard. You don't have to be the kid holed up in their room skyping to keep in touch, and they may be going through the same things as you.

-Realizing that you can't just sit back and wait for people to befriend you. I've realized that I need to work on me- I tend not to trust that my friends are really my friends, which is self-defeating and silly. I need to relax and trust that people like me- if you, like me, obsess and read too much into things (OMG they didn't invite me to brunch, therefore they hate me and we are not friends and I have no friends ahhhh) maybe you too need to chill out a little (or a lot). You know that person who makes friends with everyone they meet? You can be that person! Be friendly and don't be afraid.

-Seeking out groups I think I might like and not getting too upset when it doesn't work out. At a small school like mine, there aren't all that many clubs and they tend to be tiny and insular. I've gone to meetings, and so should you, but don't feel bad if it doesn't immediately make you tons of awesome new friends. Every failed social interaction or attempt to branch out is practice. Next time, it'll go better.

-Taking the long view. Sure, right now you feel constrained to the people on your hall, but no one is saying these are the only friends you'll ever make. It took me a year and a half in high school before I made any really good friends (and longer before we were really tight) and that was after spending ten years in the same school system. College, for me, has been a culture shock. Finding common ground is going to take time, but after a while you'll feel more at home. I hope.

I hope I've helped.... I'm going through the exact same stuff, and a lot of this is based more on what I hope will help in the coming semester than experience. Email or MeMail me if you want to talk :).
posted by MadamM at 9:23 PM on January 3, 2009

i met like-minded people in the strangest places:

1) i always did my laundry on friday or saturday night when everyone else was out getting loaded. drinking wasn't a big deal to me due to the way i was raised, so i didn't go through that phase. you know who else does their laundry on friday or saturday night? other people who are somewhat quiet and not partiers.

2) don't study in your room. go to the library, go to whatever space in your dorm is set up for studying, go to whatever campus space is set aside for quiet study. it gets you out and about and after a while you will start to see the same faces and you'll start to be on some kind of nodding acquaintanceship, which will then lead to actual conversations when you see these people in line for dinner.

3) engage in some kind of physical activity. it will help with the depression, give you a reason to get out of your room, and, again, get you in front of people. even if all you do is go walk around the track three times a week for 30 minutes, it will do wonders for your brain and your outlook, not to mention help with your physical health. i used to swim, the novelty of being able to swim in a pool whenever i wanted to was the greatest thing for me freshman year. :)

4) when you go to the dining hall (assuming you are on some kind of meal plan freshman year), bring a book or a magazine or something that represents things that you are interested in - not to read while you're eating (although that's also an idea), but to have as a conversation starter. i was in college so long ago that I used to carry record albums. that worked really well.

5) don't beat yourself up over this. i went through college without any enduring lasting friendships and i don't think i've been scarred for life or am some kind of mutant because i didn't. i just wanted to get through school so i could get into the real world, and that's what i did.

6) finally, do not go to the frat parties if you don't want to. there's no reason to subject yourself to that. and if you do decide to go once, do NOT go alone. buddy system. if you're not comfortable in that world you could find yourself in a heap of trouble, unintentionally.
posted by micawber at 9:25 PM on January 3, 2009

I drafted this a few hours ago and see that people have touched on a lot of it already, but you might still find it helpful.

I work as an RA for freshman at my university and this sort of thing comes up constantly, so you shouldn't feel alone in this. As RAs we're trained to identify people that are having trouble adjusting academically or socially to college life and help connect them with the appropriate campus resources. I know that our Housing department is really big on our freshman-specific programs, but RAs everywhere generally know how to help residents that are struggling with fitting in.
If you have any specific questions, feel free to shoot me a mefi mail or use the email in my profile (throwaway email accounts are fine). Here's some advice that I give my residents when they're looking to make new social connections.

1) Open Door Policy. Something we really promote for community building is getting residents to leave their doors open while they're in their rooms. One element of community building or just making friends is the opportunity for casual contact. An open door is a signal to others that you would like to talk to them. It's a passive social gesture.

2) Talk to your RA. It's our job to know what's going on around campus, and (at least for my school) it's a requirement for us to run interesting and purposeful programming throughout the semester for our residents. If you have an idea for something you'd like to see, a lot of times it just takes a conversation to get something in the works. And if you find out about a program that you think you'd like, go!

3) Extracurriculars. Whether it's a club or intramural sport or a fitness activity, anything that promotes social activity or physical/mental health outside of an academic context is key. Academics are number one, but college is a life experience that encompasses a whole swath of personal development. It's important not to neglect that. For example, I'm an engineering student but I love to write, so I write for my school's newspaper and have made a lot of great friends that way. If there's a recreation center on campus, you should find out if they offer classes there; you can often do some really fun extracurricular stuff on the cheap (like golf, climbing, dancing, martial arts, etc) if you take the time to sign up for them.

For me, my social anxiety stems from my goal-oriented nature. I'm a "big picture" type person, so when I am in a new social situation, my first instinct is to try to fit people into a larger picture of where I want my life to go, and (especially in romantic situations) this is total anathema to being able to form genuine relationships that don't feel awkward or forced. The key, I believe, is to take the initiative in finding the sort of social life that you want, but don't try to force it. Don't feel like any one situation you put yourself into is important or critical. If you let yourself fall into the trap of thinking that if you don't get this one situation right or get this one person to like you, you've failed as a person, you've set yourself up prematurely for a let down. Social interaction is very much, in the beginning, a process of attrition.
posted by anifinder at 10:10 PM on January 3, 2009

Absolutely get involved in student activites. They're definitely a good way to meet people, but equally importantly, they are a linchpin of the college experience. Looking back on my college years, I realize that one thing I could have done to not only improve my college experience but also get a leg up on my professional direction and personal goals would have been to join more groups. I did join some but could have been far more active. Believe it or not, these experiences can be fantastic and can really matter later on.

Also, because you're in college, you don't have to actually *join* things right off the bat. Usually groups have open meetings or single happenings so you can just check them out. You can group-hop for a while, and it;s okay to be just curious. Also, there are so many one-off happenings you can go to. Take advantage of the department-sponsored lectures, the readings, the coffeehouse performances, the movie showings, the [whatever] discussions, the [whatever] awareness week programs. Go to whatever's happening that interests you even a little. You'll get a really broad look into the variety of people and things on campus and you'll also end up being seen as one of those people who's "into everything," which makes it much more likely that people who see you out and about repeatedly will strike up a conversation with you. Or you'll see someone at many events and get friendly with them. Just keep getting out and about; don't isolate. The more stuff you do, the more potential social opportunities you create. If you follow up on only a small percentage of them, that still adds up to a lot. If nothing else, it does mean that as you cross campus you can say a pleasant 'hi' to a much larger number of nodding acquaintances.

Take a close look at groups that volunteer in the community outside the college. Often, this is just the dose of reality that you need to get out of the campus interaction patterns of always being around people your own age and background.
posted by Miko at 10:38 PM on January 3, 2009

Uni in Australia: Definately it took me a year or two to settle down with a solid group of friends who are still my closest friends 10 years later.

I never did the whole 'clubs and societies on campus' thing they mostly seemed to be full of loser squares... I think they are over-rated.

I had a similar period where I just didn't feel like i knew many people and the only way to rectifiy it was to go out to EVERYTHING! any party, event, gig etc that you are invited to. if you can, drag along a current friend for safety BUT also make a point of mingling. try and talk to someone new at every event and also talk to acquaintances whenever you see them.

conselling and shit seems a waste of time to me - it will just cause more introversion, just stick it out and you wil be fine.

I met most of my freinds at the coffee shop on campus through other friends or acquaintances.

Oh and if you moved away to college - ditch the high school friends who are not around. well not ditch them entirely, but if you start going home to much to hang out with them - you will never progress.
posted by mary8nne at 8:08 AM on January 4, 2009

on the Boyfriend front. if you want to make more freinds you don't want a serious boyfriend. couples are notoriously autonomous most of the time.
posted by mary8nne at 8:14 AM on January 4, 2009

I was you 15 years ago. When I got back to school as a sophmore I solved my problem by joining a sorority. From the boyfriend "I recently broke up with" it sounds like you're a girl. This may seem like strange advice (since you've said you hate frat parties), but have you thought about joining a sorority? I was not the sorority type believe you me. I didn't wear a lick of make up, I was cynical and hated rush parties with every fiber of my being. To this day people are absolutely shocked that I was in a sorority. Still, being in a sorority turned out to be the best part of my college experience. There was a group of fifty women and they were all different. Some were brilliant, some were not. Some were republicans and some were democrats. Some loved frat parties and some wouldn't be caught dead at a frat party. But we all supported and cared about each other. I became friends with people I never would have met in a million years. The people in my sorority are still close friends to this day. The women are all a lot more interesting and less cooking cutter than you would ever imagine.

So if there's some kind of spring rush, give it a shot. What have you got to lose?
posted by bananafish at 9:42 AM on January 4, 2009

Definitely consider bananafish's advice. I've met some very intelligent, friendly, driven people who happen to be greeks. Don't let prejudice make you miss out on a possibly good thing.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 11:00 AM on January 4, 2009

Pick meetings to attend of whatever local campus group strikes your fancy and be a joiner! Yes, tough to go to those meetings the first few times, but if you join something active and of a moderate size it will really help you meet people. I was in Habitat for Humanity on my campus and made some great friends by volunteering for committees that came up.

You say you detest frat parties---that's fine, but keep in mind you may be judging people too quickly. Lots of people drink one weekend a month and if you're writing off anyone you might meet at those parties, you're not giving them a fair shake. Lots of people at drunken parties are just having a beer and chilling out, not doing keg stands. If they're really not your thing, don't go, but don't be afraid to give one a shot if you're invited either.
posted by lacedback at 7:33 PM on January 5, 2009

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