21st-century strategies for winning friends and influencing people

Dale Carnegie, eat your heart out. GVL Archives

Eric Coulter

Dale Carnegie, eat your heart out. GVL Archives

Maddie Zimmerman, Columnist

Friendships in college are hard. You grow up seeing cute college pictures of girls and their roommates, guys and their friends partying every weekend, but that’s not always the case for everyone.

I went into college with such high expectations for friends. I was so excited to be BFFs with my roommate, to have countless friends and plans. I got to college, and it was completely different. My freshman roommate moved out, I had maybe one friend the whole year and I was lonelier than ever.

I blame half of the loneliness on the COVID-19 pandemic. There wasn’t anywhere to go or anything to do, which made it hard to meet new people. We also had classes online over Zoom. Let’s be real, we all sat at our desks with our cameras off (if our professor didn’t mind), and sat on our phones. We didn’t connect with other human beings. No wonder I was lonely last year. 

This year I made it a goal to make things different. I wanted to make more friends and relationships with these people. I had my boyfriend, which helped me get through a lot, and I felt a lot less alone. But you still have to have some friends.

My biggest tip for making friends is just to bite the bullet, and talk to people. Yeah, it might be scary to ask for someone’s social media or number to connect, but this is the only way you get to meet people and make plans.

Facebook has been a life saver for me. Trust me, I never thought I would be using Facebook at 19 as much as my mom does, but it has helped me find so many friendships. Each GVSU class has a Facebook page and I strongly suggest joining all of them.

I posted a short bio about myself and my hobbies and a few pictures of myself or things that I like to do and asked people to either add me on Snapchat or follow me on Instagram. This has helped me meet more people that I wouldn’t have met in classes or just by being on campus. 

You can’t be afraid to put yourself out there. If someone asks you to go do something, say yes. Even if you don’t like what they asked you to do, just go and try it. You never know, you could find a new hobby and hopefully end up with a new friendship.

If things go wrong and you don’t like the vibe of someone or feel like you guys don’t have a long lasting friendship, that’s fine. You went and gave them a chance and that’s all that matters. Put yourself out there and believe in yourself. You are capable of making long lasting friendships and you deserve them. Don’t forget that.