“My roommate has all her high school friends to hang out with and I don’t know anyone. I’ve tried to tag along a few times, but it feels like she’d rather not include me. I don’t want to seem needy but I’m just not sure what to do.”
First let me just start by saying, I’m sorry. It stinks to feel left out. It hurts to feel lonely. And it’s double hard when your roommate has her own friends from high school and you don’t.
I know you also may be feeling hurt that your roommate isn’t inviting you when she goes out with her friends. My guess is that she’s not being malicious. She’s not leaving you out to intentionally hurt you. Remind yourself of that. We have to trust the best of people. While she may be aware that it’s weird or awkward that she doesn’t invite you, I can’t imagine that she really wants to hurt you.
All that said, you’ve got to find your own friends. If she’s happy hanging with all of her high school buddies, that’s great. Let her be. But you want to create your own community anyway, not just feed off of her high school one. Easier said than done, I know. So how are you going to find your friends?
This week, you are going to:
1. Chum it up with people who sit near you in your classes. I know this may seem awkward, but you just have to do it.
2. If you have a lunch break immediately following a class, ask some people around you if they want to join you for lunch. Be an initiator.
3. Say yes any time you are asked to hang out socially. (Okay, you need to do your homework, but seriously don’t turn most of your invites down.)
4. Go to at least one, if not multiple, student organization events/meetings. Again, initiate meeting and connecting with people there.
5. Initiate a meal or hang out time with other people on your hall. Do this at least once every 2-3 days, but really as much as possible. It doesn’t have to be planned out. It could mean that at 6:15pm when you’re hungry for dinner, you walk down your hall and just find people who want to go grab dinner with you. Everyone needs to eat. And a lot of other people are sitting in their rooms wishing they had dinner plans too. So you be the one who finds those people and include them.
Are you seeing the theme here? You have to initiate. You have to pursue people. Ask people to grab coffee, go for a walk, grab a meal, go to the gym with you, etc, etc. Set a goal for yourself. “I will ask X many people to hang out this week” and do it. Make plans to do things that you like to do and find someone to do it with you. Right now, come up with 3 people that you can ask to do something with you in the next 3 days. If they say no, ask again another time.
And one more note about your roommate, be kind to her. Don’t make her feel bad for not including you. You get to be the bigger person. And when you’ve made plans with other people (because you’re going to be an initiator), invite her sometimes. She probably feels guilty for not inviting you all the time, but she is probably also fighting the feeling of being obligated to invite you. She doesn’t want to feel socially responsible for you. Which of course, she doesn’t need to be, because you are completely able to take care of yourself. My guess is that once she sees you creating your own community, she may actually start including you more. Sounds crazy, but I see it happen all the time. She needs to feel like you are independent from her. More than likely it’s her fear of you depending on her that is causing her to not include you in her own plans.
BUT this isn’t about her. It’s about you. Go start making friends this week. Be patient with the process. It will take time for you to find really great friends, but you have to initiate and pursue people a ton. Best friends don’t fall out of the sky. You make them. You cultivate those relationships.
Finally, pray about it. Seriously. I don’t want to sound cliche, but God will honor your prayers. Ask Him for some great friends. I think you’ll find He delights in giving you things like that.