Avoiding Restraining Orders

Find out how to meet new people without looking like a total creep.

By Ashley Rauls

It’s crazy to think about how one person can change your life.  Just with a simple handshake and a “How do you do?” you’re a different person.   Those people change you without you knowing.  They introduce you to a new genre of music.  You might secretly develop an obsession for the way that person dresses.  Or they might make you want to be a more outgoing person.

As a sophomore this year and not having the great pleasure of attending O-Week and awkwardly making friends that will last a lifetime, I’m consciously making it a goal to meet more people.  People may feel even more awkward walking up to a stranger and introducing themselves without the excuse of O-Week, but how else should we meet people?  These are a few ideas I suggest people not use when trying to make friends.

You see that dreamy guy who sits in the back of your math class walking down the sidewalk after class.  You’d like to be his friend, or “friend”, so you yell after him his complete name, first, middle, and last.  He turns around and frantically looks around to see you waving your arms like a maniac in his direction.  He’s thinking, “How do you know my full name, you psychotic girl?”  Because you looked at the participants of your math class on Moodle to find his name and then continued to Facebook Stalk him enough to gather a few other details of his life.  Yeah, please don’t do that.  It’s great to start a conversation with a classmate, just don’t let them know you already have time invested into your future relationship.

There’s a girl you see frequently in Einstein’s and you really admire her fashion sense.  You remember she always orders a cinnamon raisin bagel, so you think a present would be a nice gesture to start a friendship.  When you present her with the gift, you also begin rattling off how you love her wardrobe.  She’s flattered until you tell her how you found the jacket she wore the other day online because you’d like to emulate her look.  You even looked at her Pinterest fashion board and ordered a few things she had pinned.  Compliments are fantastic.  Presents are even better.  Presents and compliments and mimicking your new friend might be overwhelming to her.  Start off slow, then raid her closet, but give it some time.

It’s a Friday night and you don’t have plans yet.  You are sitting in your room with your computer looking at everyone’s favorite social media website.  You realize you don’t have that fun friend you were looking for last year.  Casually meeting people at parties isn’t your thing, so what better way to find the perfect friend than the friend catalog Facebook has so considerately made you.  The option “Find Friends” couldn’t come soon enough as a Facebook feature.  You scroll through your options.  Too bad blond, six feet, and muscular aren’t options.

You find a possibility and nonchalantly look at all their photos and compare mutual friends.  Reading previous posts and listening to the bands’ pages they liked may have happened as well. You clicked “Add Friend” to seal the deal and there you go.  You wait for your new potential friend’s confirmation and it doesn’t arrive.  Facebook works in mysterious ways.  The confirmation must have gotten lost. Wait for an introduction in real life before sending the friend request.

These may or may not be things that pass through your mind and hopefully the latter, but making friends is simple.  If you think someone looks awesome, then go for it.  If you want to make friends, join clubs and casually introduce yourself.

Even just approaching someone out of the blue and introducing yourself isn’t a bad thing. People want to make friends just as much as you do.  Be bold and take the initiative to introduce yourself.  I did today, and so far no restraining orders have been filed.

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