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Friends and Family Everyone has disagreements, even best friends and family. If you need advice about a relationship, ask us here.

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Woes of a College Pariah - August 29th 2011, 06:34 AM

Hi everyone. I just started writing in my journal tonight after a slightly embarrassing experience, and it turned into an endless rant about my lifelong troubles with friendship. I'm posting it in the hopes that maybe someone could offer me a little advice or just let me know that you can relate. If so, maybe we could chat a little. I'm warning you, it's long. Here goes:

I fucked up my first year of college. I stunted my social life, and now it seems there is no hope for it. I just began my second year, promising myself that I would do better this time, and already the old feelings of alienation have me confined to my room in tears. I really don’t know what to do anymore.

Here’s what happened. My college strongly encourages freshmen in the same halls to bond with one another. Members of each hall were placed together based on some polls and essays we wrote on our housing forms. Events are organized within halls, and members of these groups are expected to stick together like a flock of baby ducks, led by their assigned sophomore guides. It sounds great – you have a built-in group of friends when you arrive. And most of the time, it is successful. Already this year, I have seen people reform into their groups from last year, even if they are living different places now.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t so lucky. Don’t get me wrong – the people in my group were great. They were all very nice, and we are still friendly now. The problem is that I have almost nothing in common with any of them. They are kind, studious, and intelligent, but they just weren’t really fun-loving or adventurous enough for me. Most would rather spend a Friday night studying than going to a party or out on the town. I am someone who needs to have some fun now and then. Only one member of my group became more than a well-known acquaintance to me. Other members were not completely cohesive with all the others either, and most of us picked one or two best friends from the group.

This was highly unusual. The normal sight is to see a group of freshmen streaming out of the building together, headed for a party or a late night snack. This almost never happened with our group. Seeing it now, with the new freshmen, fills me with envy and makes me wish I could do it all over.

So here I am, a starting sophomore, with two real friends and a handful of acquaintances, surrounded by a student body that already exists divided up into seemingly impenetrable cliques. When my two friends are unavailable, I function alone. I feel like I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place, because, although I do like my alone time, I feel pathetic being alone when it is not my choice, and when I try and socialize, I am inevitably made to feel more pathetic and desperate.

Sometimes I will encourage my friends to introduce me to their friends. I have made a few strong acquaintances this way, but I realize that these are not strong friendships as soon as I approach them without the mutual friend there. A couple of times, when my friends can’t meet me for lunch or aren’t available to go out on a weekend night, I will track down one of these acquaintances. I feel weird about doing it, but I bite the bullet because I figure I will never bond with people if I’m not outgoing. So I’ll sit with them at dinner or call them/knock on their doors and ask if they want to go out and do something. Usually the acquaintance (there are a couple of people who fill this role) will make something of an effort to be kind to me, but in the background her friends that she was already with when I arrived will treat me coldly or make it clear that they are just tolerating me.

I may be insecure in this respect, but I have a certain degree of pride, and these people’s complete lack of interest in reciprocating my efforts is both humiliating and infuriating. I will admit that when I force myself to hang out with these people, I don’t really interact that much with them, but that is because they always seem to be talking about things and people I don’t know about. I try to say something relevant whenever I can. I usually stop approaching that particular group after this happens a few times because I am too proud to let myself be treated like a puppy that gets kicked and keeps running back.

I used to have a lot of friends as a little kid, but when I think back on it, I always realize that most of the time I was a sucker. Many of my friends in elementary and middle school were nasty to me, used me, and took advantage of my kind and trusting nature. I took it because I was a very nave kid. I lent people toys, and they lost or broke them. I kept their petty secrets (some to this day even) and they spread rumors about me. I signed my birthday cards “Love X” and they called me a lesbian and mocked me (I was 9 for crying out loud). Pretty much my whole life, my “friends” have treated me like complete and total shit. I’m really sorry that I am getting upset writing this, but the truth of the matter gets to me.

It also upsets me that some of it IS my fault, but there’s nothing I can do about it. I’ll confess that I am weird. I inherited my dad’s personality to a tee: I pun, I make obscure references, I’m passionate about what I love and critical about what I believe. But for some reason it seems it is less attractive on a woman than it is on a man. But I can’t change my personality. I tried it before, and not only did everyone still hate me, but even I found myself loathsome. In fact, it was during this period (middle of high school-ish) that I lost one of my best friends. She has had a very difficult life, and I think she just found me too immature, superficial, and unreliable to waste time on. She gradually stopped contacting me (we didn’t go to the same school), and recently when I tried to reconnect with her through facebook, she seemed very uninterested and did not reciprocate the effort even though I have become “myself” again, so to speak.

Another thing that worries me is that I have not been asked out by a single guy since I got here. I’ve had a few long-term relationships over the years, but haven’t had one for quite a while now. It makes me nervous because I am going to be 20 and I still haven’t experienced sex. I have had the opportunity plenty of times, but it would only be with guys who saw me as a piece of ass and once again my pride gets in the way. I want to have sex, but only with someone I trust. I have yet to find that person. My best friend always tells me that I am attractive enough for any guy (and I believe her; she’s a critical bitch) but that I scare them away with my “aggressive” personality as they know I won’t put up with their BS. First of all, they’re wrong, I’ve put up with plenty of BS from guys, much to my shame, and second of all, it’s depressing if all guys really just want a girl who will eat shit for them.

I think part of the problem may be in what I look for in a friend and the fact that I judge people around me for not having it. I consider myself primarily to be a moral person. Not in the sense that I am anti-drugs, anti-sex or any of that shit because I’m very liberal in all those respects. It’s that I’m very concerned with ethics – harm principle, the golden rule, all that. I’m even considering pursuing ethics as a course of study. I do not want to be friends with people who behave unethically, and many do in small everyday ways I can’t help but notice. Second of all, I’m moderate. I love to have fun, but I also need to rest and get work done. When I am drunk or stoned, I want to take the time to appreciate the beauty of the experience and of spending time with others, not just tear shit up. It seems you can’t find anyone on campus who is not either a prude or an uncontrollable party animal. Third of all, I am a nerd. I love my philosophy, and I want to have friends that I can talk about it with. I know that I am not putting off my friends by being intellectual or acting all smarter-than-thou because I go to a good school where everyone is bright, and many of them more than I am. The unfortunate thing is that I want all three of these qualities of mine in my friends, and very few people I’ve met seem to have more than 2 out of 3. These are the shared traits that seem to make me most compatible with others.

Finally, I’m brought to facebook: another agent of my patheticness. I made a facebook mainly for the purpose of keeping in contact with my numerous acquaintances. However, whenever I post, there are basically four people who seem interested: one of my two college friends (the other doesn’t like facebook), my best friend from home, my brother, and my uncle. All of these are people that I can talk to on a regular basis without facebook, and the fact that 50% of my biggest fans are family does not exactly make me feel good. And the fact that I am basically writing little notes about my life for my own sake makes me feel like the great masturbator, minus the orgasm. So I am thinking about deleting my facebook. But that would also mean more or less officially cutting myself off from the social scene. But I don’t know what to do. In a way, I’d rather cut myself off and decide that I am here solely for the purpose of intellectual endeavor than live on the goddamn periphery of the social scene any longer.

Seriously, I just got a little cat and she is such an unconditionally loving creature that I am thinking about saying “Screw you guys, I’m going home” to everyone and just getting a bunch of cats to be my friends. This is how cat ladies are made, people.
   
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Name: Annie
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Re: Woes of a College Pariah - August 29th 2011, 04:29 PM

Honestly, I think you're doing everything fine.
You actually remind me a lot of my friend in the way you type.
In a very academic school, you often find that people put studying among their top priorities. I'm not saying that there won't be anyone who doesn't want to go out and have fun, just that it's not the easier place to be looking. Try going somewhere to meet new people related to things you like to do.
I can relate to how you feel. I think I'm not so outgoing, and more of a pushover. So I quite admire you in some ways.
Don't be so hard on yourself. You don't have to compare your social life to other people's, and it's okay to spend some days doing nothing at all. If you find yourself bored, think of things that you've wanted to do but not had time, then go out and do them. That's a good way of meeting friends who actually last.


"Everytime you smile, I smile
And everytime you shine, I'll shine for you."
~Taylor Swift

PM me anytime, Love Annie
   
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