Different periods of my life resemble different Drake songs. One moment I’m all “Versace” and then I’m all “No New Friends.” Such is life, but what’s a girl to do? I think about when I’ll find the Drizzy to my Drake, my Ricky to my Rosé in my classes but just like breaking up, making friends is hard to do, especially girl friends.
There are “girlfriends” as in ladies who lunch - as in “I’m just going out with some of my girlfriends,” but that word will never cease to make me uncomfortable. In group settings I think about how desperately I don’t want to be identified as a Miranda when the inevitable “Sex and the City” conversation is brought up. Then there are you know, girls who are my friends. Girl. Friends, mom - and I think every girl needs more girl friends, especially in a new city. That being said, it can be really difficult and intimidating moving to a new town and not knowing anyone. Having a female-based support system in college is as essential as candy-colored shorts and boat shoes in a frat house. Here’s how to make some:
Know what your tribe looks like
Be smart about finding friends. Don’t force yourself to hang out with groups you don’t identify with. I realized after years at UF that the bow-wearing, body-con-enthusiastic girls will never fit in with my personality and that’s OK. I don’t treat them any different; I just know we probably won’t have the same ideas on fun. While starting off in a new city, take some time to people-watch. Notice where people that look like yourself congregate (and then follow them to their houses). Coffee shops are great for people watching because they attract different types. Spark up a conversation because life is a romantic comedy and you should have your own montage of coffee shop chit-chats with strangers. Point out a book, an article in the newspaper they’re reading or their clothes and the rest should come relatively easy.
Don’t be afraid to be a little creepy
When starting off in a new city, or just sick of being stuck in a friendless rut, it’s perfectly acceptable to be a little creepy. Creepy is a word that has so many different meanings, so now is the perfect time to test your social skills and see how people respond. If they respond well, they’re wonderful people who are open to making friends. If they think making social interactions is strange, that’s their issue to deal with, but you’ll never have to talk to/see them again. If you were in class and got to know some girls but want to make them friends outside of class, add them on social media networks, but don’t be impersonal about it. Send a message along their way saying something like “Hey, I noticed we have this class together, I’m in _______ program myself. Maybe we’ll see each other around campus.”
Making new friends can be seen as a social experiment. You don’t have to pretend to be anyone else. Without any ties to previous friendships in a new city, no one has any formed preconceptions of you. Honesty isn’t just always the best policy, it’s better for you, mentally, as you’ll be able to weed out the people who don’t genuinely click with you. Making friends can seem like serial dating, and at times exhausting, but there’s something liberating about not having to put on a mask to get someone to like you. Girls
Having a lot of male friends is great and all, but it gets a little too sitcom-y when you identify with the phrase “one of the guys.” Do you stand back-to-back, arms crossed, playfully nudging each other? One of them probably has a crush on you anyway, so it’s good to have a group of girls to go to when things get weird in boy land.
“I just hate the drama!” said every girl ever, but boys have a different kind of drama surrounding their lives. Life is dramatic in small doses. The stereotype of girls being gossipy isn’t true for everyone. Make this a daily affirmation, as you look in the mirror and tell yourself, “of course I’m not” but judge everyone else. Forget the stereotype, branch out and don’t pledge your allegiance to one side. Talk to your guy friends’ girlfriends, so they don’t think you’re a blood hungry boyfriend stealer when you hang out with their partners, but more importantly because they’re accessible friends in waiting.
If you’re not “one of the guys,” find someone you know well enough, explain your situation and ask if there’s anyone they think would match well, personality-wise.
Give yourself a goal
Make it a challenge to introduce yourself over a passing compliment, a “hello,” or casual waiting in the same place, to at least one new person every day. Conversations likely won’t go past, “thank you,” but the more people you talk to, the more you’ll be comfortable with talking to new people. You’ll see these girls around town and they’ll be reminded of your initial kindness and it will be less intimidating to start a conversation. It isn’t easy at first, but just the act of being friendly and interacting with someone face to face does a lot for your personal happiness and self-esteem.