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Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

KIM: Up the Ante with New Friends


With less than a handful of weeks left to go in the semester, a few of you might question the timing of this piece on making new friends. Surely, there isn’t enough time to build anything significant with any of the cool people you’ve been (platonically) crushing on. Hear me out — the best time to kindle a new friendship is now. Despite how chaotic and overwhelming the last few weeks of the semester can be, I always find that the scarcity of time inclines people to take more risks, just for the sake of squeezing in one last memory before the semester’s out. And, for the more risk-averse among us, the last few weeks are the perfect window of time to throw spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks; if everything goes well, you’re setting yourself up to have a budding friendship to pick up when you guys return in the fall. And if the vibes are less than ideal…Well, there’s plenty of fish in the sea and plenty of semesters to go fishing. You’ll get it right next time. 

In the meantime, let me set the scene: You’re intrigued by a classmate who always has the most random thing on their laptop during class. Or you’ve built a steady rapport with the guy who always matches your side-eye when That Person says something questionable again. The point is that you’ve been eyeing this person for a hot second, and you want them to give you a chance. Here are a few ways to make it happen in the time we have left.

Up the ante. Here’s my bone to pick with grabbing coffee or Leo’s on a first hangout — it’s easy and low stakes, but it’s boring. Worse than boring, it’s uninspired. It goes back to my first point about people wanting to make memories before they go — do something memorable! Even if you do end up just getting food or a coffee, turn it into a walk! Grab a drink from Blue Bottle and sit on the canal to soak up the sun. Or grab a delicious grilled cheese from Say Cheese! at the far side of M St. (a personal favorite). In my opinion, even running errands together incites a more engaging and unexpectedly fun experience than grabbing a meal at Leo’s. Doing something novel, or at least having a novel element in the experience, will almost never fail you. It shows the other person that you’re someone who’s willing to make that extra effort to have a good time.

Corollary: break past the Dead Zone. Another way intentionally offbeat experiences up the ante is by breaking past the dead zone. We’ve all been there. You like a new friend, and you’ve been wanting to move past the “schedule a meal a week in advance” stage to being on “someone I can spontaneously call up and hang out with” terms with them. But if you’ve set a precedent of grabbing a meal at Leo’s every once in a while, trying to break out of that routine can feel intimidating. When you start a friendship outside of this mold, you set yourself up to vault over that stagnancy entirely. After all, it’s hard to feel awkward or stiff with someone if they’re helping you pick out a new shampoo — there’s something about the casualness of the situation that helps your brain see this new friend as an already familiar person. 

Pick your battles. Maybe you’re on the other side of this equation, and someone you’ve gotten to know tangentially has mustered the courage to ask you to hang out sometime. There just isn’t enough time in the day. There are a few tacit signals you can give to let them down easy (“I’m just so overwhelmed with everything, but let’s grab a meal when we’re back next semester!”), but it’s important to firmly signal to them that it’s not personal. On the flip side, if you’ve put yourself out on a limb and had it fizzle in your face, take it in stride and keep it moving. Under no circumstances should you let it be representative of your ability to make new friends or how willing others are to befriend you. Be graceful about it, and know when to leave well enough alone. After attempting to befriend this one girl once or twice over a semester, I set it aside and thought nothing else of it. Serendipitously, after a memorable night during finals last semester, she quickly became a good friend of mine who makes me instant noodles when my soul needs it. The point is that some friendships are just meant to happen at a different time, and pushing for something that isn’t meant to happen right now is typically detrimental in the long run. 

I think everyone can agree that it’s been quite the semester. As I close out my column for the last time, I invite you to take a minute and ask yourself if you’ve taken enough risks this semester. If not, well, we have three whole weeks left to go. Bye, you lovelies. I know you hate to see me go. Stay safe, and do everything for the plot. You know I’m waiting to hear all about it. 



Diane Kim is a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences. This is the final installment of her column “Asking for a Friend.”

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    DoopaApr 18, 2024 at 9:58 pm

    Can’t agree more