Dearest Susan Zelda,
I am a sophomore at Roanoke that doesn’t really belong to a particular social group. I also feel like no one is taking applications. Constantly, I feel like I’m being judged by the various cliques deeply rooted in Roanoke culture. How do I navigate my way through and find a niche that I can call home? Am I secretly an introvert?
Sophomore year seems to be a common time for friendship groups to change. You’re floating away from the friends you initially made freshman year as everyone is figuring out more of who they are and where they belong. We’re blessed and cursed with going to a school so small. On one hand you get to know a bigger proportion of your schoolmates but on the other hand it can seem very cliquey.
Some people gear towards Greek life as a way to find friends. Sororities and fraternities are typically very close knit organizations. Of course this isn’t for everyone, especially if you’re wary of cliques already.
When you’re in a position that you feel like an outsider it can feel like other people are judging you, but it’s unlikely they actually are. Unless you tell people that you’re lonely it’s unlikely they know and probably think nothing of your social life. But there’s nothing wrong with being an introvert. If you’re happy spending time by yourself don’t let what you think is socially acceptable to force you to do things you don’t want to do.
An easy way to make friends is joining different clubs on campus and meeting a wider variety of people. Most clubs love new members and aren’t overbearing. For socially awkward people though that might be a little hard. An easier way is just tricking classmates to hang out with you. Ask for help studying for a test or work on homework together. Starting to hang out with one person instead of a whole group is a little less intimidating.
Don’t give up on your old friends though. Try to hang out with people you used to talk to, even if you never were very close to them before. You may find that good friends were there all along.
Happy Friend Finding!
~Suzan Zelda Maroon