Dear Mirror: Everyone Has a Friend Group But Me
One writer speaks on what to do when it feels like everyone has found their friend group at Dartmouth but you.
Freshman fall is nearing its end, and I feel like everyone has found their friend group except for me. Everyone was really friendly and open in the first few weeks. Now it feels like everyone has settled down in their own friend groups, but I have yet to find mine. Is it too late for me? I like the friends that I have, but they have their own groups that I’m not really a part of. What should I do?
Dear Socially Scared,
When I was in high school, I had a really tight knit group of five friends. We did everything together — studied together, went to Homecoming together and participated in the same clubs. Coming to college, I expected to find the same. Quickly, I realized that these strict, tight-knit friend groups are not the norm after high school.
I completely understand your fears because I know exactly what it feels like. In fact, I would say that most people have gone through the same thing during their freshman year. It’s easy to feel that way when social media is littered with photos of friend groups seemingly having the time of their lives. Everyone online looks like they started thriving at school the minute they stepped foot in Hanover.
But those photos are just that — photos. They tell you nothing about what real life is like. Other people are just as scared, just as anxious. They have the same fears about friendships and their social lives. You are far from alone, but you would never know that just from Instagram. Social media is a place where everyone tries to project the best version of themselves. We all know this rationally, but it’s hard to remember when it feeds into your insecurities.
The fact of the matter is that “friend groups” don’t really exist as a constant construct in college or beyond. When we first arrive at school, it feels like a race to find a friend group because it’s scary to be untethered at a new place. As time goes on, we join clubs, partake in Greek life (or don’t), declare our major and explore all different corners of campus. All of these experiences expose us to different people and allow us to make new friends.
Dartmouth is also unique in that friend groups are even more unstable here because of the D-Plan. You may find yourself going abroad with none of your close friends, and while you’re abroad, you might expand your circle or join a new friend group. You might also be on campus while your best friend is off, and during that time, you become close with a friend in your class.
You’ll soon realize that many students, even if they seem to have one friend group, have other friends from different corners of campus. Someone might have one friend group in their sorority and another on their sports team. Another person might stay close with their first-year friends but also join an acapella group and befriend people there. Someone else might never have a defined friend group but instead have a collection of friends from various parts of campus.
The opportunity to make friends doesn’t end after freshman year, and having friends does not prohibit you from making more. I didn’t get close to some of my best friends today until my sophomore year. In my senior year, I still feel like I am meeting new people and making new friends, and I guarantee that most people feel the same.
What is most important right now is that you have already found friends that you genuinely like. Don’t focus on finding a friend group; spend your energy investing in friendships that are valuable to you. Instead of focusing on what you feel like you don’t have, focus on what you do have — and with friends you care about, you have a lot! Your world is so abundant. When freshman fall comes to a close, it is by no means the end. Your life at Dartmouth is only just beginning.