Edmonds: Friends can still be made as an upperclassmen

After New Student Orientation, making new friends can be daunting, but people are much friendlier than we often realize. Winding up a junior or senior without a solid group of friends isn’t a failure, but an opportunity. It’s hard to know what kind of friend to look for early on but with age and experience, knowing what you need becomes easier.

Clubs on campus are a great opportunity to find friends especially since your membership serves as common ground. It’s also easier this way to find groups of people to hang out with rather than one person at a time. The key is to find a club that is enjoyable and sometimes that takes a while. There are so many groups on campus that the best one may not be clear at first. Taking a look at OrgSync and even talking to offices about discussion groups to join is a great way to expose yourself to more possibilities. The Flora Stone Mather Center for Women, LGBT Center and the Center for Civic Engagement and Learning all have really genuine staff that would love to point you in the direction of a group.

On top of this, random campus events are a wonderful way to meet people. These opportunities may be more difficult for the introverts among us but if you find the right event and remember to take a deep breath, beginning a conversation won’t be as hard. Keep an eye out for events that may interest you on billboards and in emails. Case Western Reserve University hosts many speakers, shows, lunches and discussions, all you have to do is find one you’re willing to go to. Beginning a conversation by talking about the event is a great place to start and keeps the pressure low. Once you’ve had these initial conversations, try to stay in contact without asking for much personal information. Asking to connect on social media is a nice way to do this.

Eventually, when you feel comfortable, ask them to do something that interests you both. Use the face-to-face time to deepen your trust and respect in each other and to ask deeper questions that may seem awkward to ask online. Doing this will also give you an opportunity to swap numbers, which will make further conversations easier. When it comes to groups of people, the same principles can be applied. Asking them to go to lunch or to an event that seems relevant to everyone’s interests is a really fun way to hang out with a casual group of friends.

Continue to check in and offer times to meet up and your amiable relationship will turn into a deeper friendship. And don’t worry if not every acquaintanceship leads to something bigger, not every first meeting is meant to work out. “Failing” in this way is not a reflection of your worth as a friend or person. It just means you have to try again. Find an opportunity to meet someone, start a conversation, check in with them and start hanging out. Eventually you will find what you’re looking for and you will have made lots of good connections along the way. So stay determined. Friends will come your way.