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ISSUE 119 VOL 2 PUBLISHED 9/23/2005

Freshman follies: Guide to forming first-year friendships

By Brenna Bray
Staff Writer

Friday, September 23, 2005

The first year at college can be surprisingly stressful, so it’s important to develop a supportive group of friends on campus.

Fellow Oles can relate to your experiences and offer direct support. By sharing your thoughts with friends, you may even learn a thing or two. After all, you’re not the only one who fears eating alone in the Caf. The following tips will help you on your way.

I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like me!

Remind yourself each morning that you are an asset. You are interesting, kind and beautiful – people fancy your company and friendship for many reasons.

Reminding yourself of your positive attributes may feel foolish, but the reminder will help you maintain confidence and create a nice start to each day.

Don’t underestimate the importance of body language.

People respond to subconscious cues you give them about yourself, especially during first meetings.

Good posture denotes self-confidence and self respect. Others will identify you as comfortable with yourself, and will feel comfortable around you in return.

Hold your shoulders back and your head upright so you can make eye contact with others. Do not slouch.

Keep your arms at your sides to indicate ease and openness and keep your hands free; you will be ready to shake hands and form friendships.

Tip: Recalling your assets helps maintain good posture with confidence. If you understand that you are a wonderful person whose companionship others desire, you will understand that you deserve to view yourself with respect.

Remember: Eyes are the windows into our souls.

Direct eye contact is a building block to friendship and suggests openness and honesty.

By making eye contact, you allow others to “peer into your soul” and assert that you want to share yourself.

Research shows that direct eye contact signals kindness and stimulates cooperation between new acquaintances.

Eye contact indicates that you are receptive to your companion and makes a bold statement: I value you.

Meet one new person each day.

Introduce yourself to someone you think looks cool or lonely – someone you’d like to befriend.

Make eye contact with each new person and try to share one conversation about class, the weather or where you’re from. Whatever’s on your mind should work.

You may meet a few “duds” in there, but keep it up and you’ll make a few friends, too.

Remember: This may feel awkward. Meeting people, making eye contact and conversing with new people are not necessarily comfortable tasks, but these friendship-forming essentials improve with practice.

Use your roommate.

It is important to have someone to talk to, and a roommate makes a great starting point, even if he or she seems weird at first.

Your roommate may have his or her own set of sorrows to share and you can help each other out and learn in the process. Trust me — you’re not the only one who feels stressed right now.

Being friendly with your roommate will help you feel more comfortable being open with your peers in general. Eventually, you will feel comfortable sharing personal feelings with the new people you are meeting.

Soon you will not remember your burdens at all — you’ll be too busy developing a newfound friendship.

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