Ask Colleen: Finding my people on campus
September 28, 2016
I am having a really hard time finding "my people" on campus. It is my sophomore year on campus and I feel like the friends I do have aren't really the people I want to hang around with. I don't know if I should ditch them and find new friends or just keep the ones I have. I'm scared to try and join a new friend group.
Dear Finding My People,
There are definitely people on campus who are “your” kind of people. River Falls is a small campus and sometimes it feels like you’ve already met everyone, but I can assure you that you haven’t. My freshman and half of my sophomore year I lived on campus, that lead me to create a close-knit bubble for myself. I hung out with the people that lived in my dorm or friends that I knew before I came to campus. I just stuck with that same routine and never really branched out. To be honest, I’ve felt exactly the same way you did during my sophomore year as well. The good news is that I did find “my people,” but I had to put myself out there in order to find them.
If you feel like you haven’t found those people, I would suggest joining clubs or going to events that you are interested in. This is the perfect opportunity to get to know new people and you will already share a common interest with them. There are so many different student organizations on campus; I bet there will be something you are interested in! If not, try taking different classes that spark your interest. I’ve actually become really good friends with people from my classes, especially ones specific to my major.
It can be scary to approach a new group of people or to try to join a different friend group. There are two things that could happen: 1. They are just as excited as you are to meet new people and welcome you with open arms. 2. They are not interested in going outside of their friend group and shrug you off. If people shrug you off, just ignore it. They are clearly too closed-minded and will ultimately miss out on meeting great people.
If the people you are hanging out with now aren’t people you want to want to be around, then don’t hang out with them. That is much easier said than done, but it’s okay to have a friendship transition. I think a friendship change just shows how people grow and change over time. There isn’t anyone to blame here, it’s a part of life and will happen more than once. As far as feeling like you may be ditching the friends you have now, don’t worry about it. If they are truly your friends, they will support you wanting to try different activities and wanting to meet new people. Who knows, they might want to join you too!
At the end of the day, the people you surround yourself with is a choice that YOU make. Don’t let the pressures of others decide your relationships or even make you stay in a friendship that doesn’t seem right. You may have to go out of your comfort zone a little, but you will find “your people” on campus.
Best of luck,
My friend had a "thing" with this guy for just one night a couple weeks back. She never really talked about him since. Recently, him and I have been talking a lot. I really like him, but don't know if I should pursue anything cause I don't want to hurt my friends feelings. What should I do?
From, Trying to be a good friend
Dear Trying to be a good friend,
I see why you’re seeking advice; this could definitely turn into a very complicated situation. Don’t worry, I think a lot of people have been through something similar to this. It’s a classic question: Is it okay to be with someone your friend has had a relationship with? It doesn’t really matter the type of relationship it was, there could still potentially be line that you wouldn’t want to cross.
Honestly, I think the best thing to do is to talk to your friend. Maybe it was just a one-night thing and they don’t want to pursue anything more than that. On the other hand, maybe your friend developed feelings towards this guy as well. You’ll never know how she’s feeling unless you talk to her. I think the fact that you’re already conscious of your friends feelings shows that you do care and are trying to be a good friend.
If you really want to pursue a relationship with this guy, you’ll have to talk to your friend first. It’s kind of an unwritten rule of all friendships, but it’s more out of respect for your friend. The response may be good or bad, but either way you’ll never know until you have that conversation.
The best outcome would be that it was just a one-night thing and feelings weren’t attached. Still keep in mind your friend at least for a little bit. They may still have some mixed feelings towards the idea of you pursuing someone they were once with. Hopefully they will be honest with you from the beginning, but they may not want to hurt your feelings by telling you it would make them feel uncomfortable.
That leaves the outcome of your friend not wanting you to pursue a relationship with this guy. This is tough, because you don’t want to lose a friend over a guy. However, you wouldn’t want to miss out on a guy that could potentially lead to a great relationship. This is where it gets tricky. Again, your friend might have some reservations about this or they may take it to the extreme and end the friendship. No matter the response of your friend, remember being honest with yourself and others really does go a long way.
Colleen Brown is a student at UW-River Falls.