I’m a first year student at a small college and I’m having social issues. I was really focused on academics in high school and even though I had friends and a boyfriend in high school, I mostly stayed in on weekends and was never social.
Now I’m in college and I want to try new things and party, but I never get invited anywhere. I’ve been friendly and fun as far as I can tell, and tried to be the one making plans, but I feel so clearly behind the party scene and so awkward somehow that it never works out. I feel really lonely and bored, now. Advice?
Firstly, points for self-awareness in checking that you aren’t the problem. You’ve been friendly, and you’ve tried initiating plans. That’s a great start.
My advice would be to try other ways to be social that aren’t partying. It sounds like that’s not a good fit for you really. Maybe it will be, down the road, but if it’s not working out now, no need to focus on it. There are plenty of other ways to make friends and enjoy people’s company, especially at college.
Have you looked at joining any groups or societies? I was very active in a few, and met lots of people. The ones I was involved with that had a charitable focus also included a disproportionate number of people with, let’s say, lower than average social skills, so if you feel more comfortable when surrounded by awkwardness, that might be a good option. [and shout out to all my slightly awkward friends from that era, I hope you don’t mind my verbalising what we all know to be true ]
Clubs, societies, sports teams, the campus newspaper… there must be something that piques your interest? Knitting? Basketball? I don’t know how big your college is, but even at smaller ones, students are a social group with more free time than most, and shared facilities readily available at a low cost, so I find they have one of the most active social scenes of any community.
Also, I’ve written a couple of posts about making friends as you get older – they don’t necessarily apply to your exact situation, but the step-by-step may be of some use:
Those people who you have already met – in your classes, or at your accomodation, why not try socialising with them during the day? This would quell the loneliness and not involve the rejection you fear with partying events (work up to it though!).
I usually found very willling coffee or lunch dates because most people were trying to procrastinate and avoid writing essays too!
A job is also a good way to meet people, with the advantages of cash and experience. Do your due diligence though.
What I’m saying is, look farther afield than just the partying scene. Once you find a few good friends you will be much more likely to be invited along, or will have a partner in crime to invite along to evening events yourself. Best of luck. Any other readers have tips for our letter writer?