Ivy gives some advice about making friends at Mason, even during a pandemic
BY SHYLOH-SYMONE BAILEY STAFF WRITER
If you’re reading this letter in hopes of making friends during the new era of COVID-19, then it was written with you in mind. The pandemic has made it difficult to connect in-person as we once did, but there is room to maneuver. Now, more than ever, it is important to make those connections — whether you are a freshman starting a new chapter in your life or a senior finishing up your degree.
First, it is important to remember that friendships are quality over quantity.
When looking for new friends, it’s best to be your truest self. A lot of times, people try to fit into a mold in order to make friends and feel accepted by others. There is no true acceptance if others do not know the real you. Instead of compromising parts of yourself, choose to be fully you.
Friendships shouldn’t be forced arrangements and it is normal for them to develop slowly over time. Instead of chasing after people to befriend, look for opportunities and spaces that would have the type of person you’re looking for. Where would a studious friend be? Probably on an academic forum or in the library.
The bottom line is to go where people who have those interests you are looking for would be. It could be meeting someone in a gym who turns into your workout buddy. It could be virtually when you and someone you meet on an online cooking class decide to swap recipes.
Show up for yourself and the things you love and people will come to you. In doing so, the kindness and respect you give others will open the door to meaningful connections and friendships.
Lastly, never make someone feel obligated to be your friend under any circumstance. No matter if there is tension or not, both parties are free to go whenever they choose. Not everyone you meet will stay but you can appreciate the time that was shared.
Be true to you and the things you stand for and people will be drawn to you.
It also is important to remember that during a time of pandemic restrictions, social distancing and masks are important when meeting strangers. Activities that college students would normally do — such as going to parties and hanging out in larger groups — should be put on hold for the time being. That being said, it is still possible to get to know someone. Minimize the number of people together, hang out outside instead of in a dorm and, of course, wear masks.
Submit a question to Ivy here.