Unlocking the Keys to Build Lasting Friendships at Grace
Above all else, perhaps, Grace College is known for community. Ask almost any student and they’ll tell you that friendships cultivated at Grace last for a lifetime. The rate at which students find those friendships varies greatly. Some people find their best friend on the first day of class; for others, it takes much longer.
I was at Grace for a full semester before I found friends. It was a long four months! My roommate was largely absent and my hall consisted of several seniors (who already had friends) and a few freshmen (who had no interest in adding me to their group). I began to wonder if I’d made the right decision in coming to Grace.
Toward the end of the semester, however, I discovered the secret to building friendships. For so many weeks, I had been waiting for people to approach me. That method just wasn’t working, so I tried the opposite: I attended every event I could, joined clubs, got to know my classmates and invited people to my room. Slowly, as I purposefully pursued relationships, friendships began to grow.
Pursuing friendships isn’t easy, especially if you’re an introvert! The task can seem daunting, perhaps beyond your ability. But as a now-senior with a core group of wonderful friends, I’m proof that it’s possible. Here are a few steps I took to seek lasting relationships:
- Go to everything…and ask everyone you know if they’re going, too. There are a ton of student life events, clubs, and intramurals on campus. Don’t be afraid to check out something new or join an existing group. Chances are, they’ll be happy to have you!
- Find someone you can be friends with…and pursue a friendship. There are potential friends all around: in your classes, your dorm, sitting next to you at meals. It’s as simple as saying, “Hey, I know we’re in class together and I’d like to get to know you better. Do you want to grab coffee sometime?”
- Be intentional…if you join a club or team, go consistently! One of the best ways to find friends is to be with the same group of people for several weeks in a row. Don’t just go to a club once or participate on an intramural team for one week. Even if you feel like an outsider at first, stick it out; you might just need a few weeks to find your place.
One final thought: Don’t worry about finding friends. Like most good things, lasting relationships will happen at the right time in the right way. Enjoy the journey!
By Abby Phinney