How do I join already-formed friend groups?

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“My college is known for being cliquey. How do I join friend groups that have already been formed?”

This is a great question that is applicable for a freshman at a small school, a transfer student at a new school, and really any person joining a new community (a new church, a new town, a new job environment, etc.)  Most of the time, when we are the new kid on the block, we have to finagle our way into an already existing community or friend group.  Of course, this can be easier or harder depending on the openness of the people we are trying to befriend.

The most important thing is that you commit to being persistent and choosing to believe the best in others.  Here are my typical “rules of thumb” when it comes to pursuing new friends.

1. Ask people out one on one to do coffee, lunch, run errands, etc.

It’s way easier to get to know one person individually, rather than trying to join in a group activity with a bunch of friends who already know each other well.  If you get to know one or two people on an individual level who are in an existing friend group, they will eventually invite you to join in on group activities.

2. That said, you may have to ask someone to hang out with you 10 times before they ever think to invite you to something.

That’s okay.  When we already have a group of best friends, it’s hard to remember to invite the new girl.  People aren’t being malicious, they just aren’t thinking outside of their  normal friend group.  So we have to have thick skin, not be offended if we aren’t invited to something, and choose to believe the best in people.

3. Be a connector.

Don’t hoard all of your new friends to yourself.  If you’ve gotten lunch a few times with a girl you think would also connect with another friend you’ve gotten to know, invite them both to do something with you.  Sometimes people don’t do this because they are afraid they will be cut out if the other two friends connect better.  Again, choose to believe the  best in people and be confident with what you have to offer.  People prefer to be friends with connectors over people who isolate themselves with their close friends.

4. It’s all about the approach.

Approach people (especially those who already have their friend group established) with an attitude of, “I am a great friend to have and you want me as your friend.  I am going to convince you of that.”  It sounds silly, but that is the perspective you have to take.  That was my biggest lesson as a transfer student.  I had to convince people they wanted me as their friend.  And eventually, I did.  I made some of my closest friends as a transfer student– All of whom already had their best friends and friend groups formed.  But it takes time, persistence, and a confidence in yourself that you have something great to offer to others.

And you do have something great to offer.  If you want some other tips on pursuing people check out this post.

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