Tuffy Luv Sez: Make New Friends, Plz
You got a question? Tuffy’s got an answer. TuffyLuv@collegecandy.com. Nuff said.
Dear Tuffy Luv,
College has been really complicated for me. It started out in my freshman year when I didn’t like the dorm where I lived (it was gross and I didn’t fit in anyway). The first semester a friend of mine from high school died. Soon after I realized that one of my closest friends from high school was toxic and when I decided to cut her out of my life. I lost touch with so many of the people I loved most. It was a really bad time to isolate myself because I really could have used the support. Looking back I do see how they really were crappy friends and it was for the best. Everything was a mess. I was supposed to meet amazing new people and have exciting adventures. Nothing was going how I imagined. By the end of my sophomore year things were looking up and I had made a small group of fantastic new friends, but I decided to transfer to another school. I just wanted to leave everything in the past and move on.
My new school is at the beach and I love it! It’s amazing! I just finished my junior year and although it’s so great to be here and have this fresh start, I’m still having trouble moving on. I keep applying my past experiences to my current situation. Every time I start to get close with a new person I get really freaked out. I either freeze and can’t think of anything to say or I start avoiding them and make up excuses for not being able to hang out. I’ve become a total flake. It’s like I can’t handle any level of commitment. I don’t want to let anyone get close to me because I feel like it couldn’t possibly end well or be a positive thing. I even ran away from the circle of friends from my sophomore year… and they didn’t even do anything.
Ever since I broke away from my life in high school I just can’t take the plunge again. I’m not even mad at the situations that got me here, I’m mad at myself because I can’t fix me so I’m back to normal. I even keep the few people that I have managed to remain close with at arm’s length. Sometimes when they try to be helpful and talk to me about it I feel the disapproval and judgment and it just makes me want to pull back even more. And that is so incredibly difficult when I’m sincerely trying to move forward and feel better about trusting and letting people get close to me again.
I just don’t know what to do because I feel like I’m missing out on the essential college experiences. I’m graduating next year and I don’t want to look back and wish that I had gotten my sh*t together in time to enjoy college. I just want to be normal and carefree and fun like I used to. Besides aren’t men supposed to be the ones with commitment issues? What would you do?
Well, it’s been a tough few years for you. You really need to cut yourself a break.
I’m really happy to hear you like your new school. That, at least, is a good sign. You aren’t completely depressed, which is great and a sign of good things to come.
Forget about the bad friends you left behind in high school. High school friends are only based on circumstance anyway. Sometimes they turn out to be real friends, and sometimes they turn out to be friends just for that time and place. In your situation, it’s a time-and-place deal. That’s fine. You’re fine. Move on.
I do hope you sought counseling after your close friend passed away. That must have been a very difficult time. If you didn’t go for counseling then and you still have unresolved or depressed feelings about it, please, talk to someone. The wonderful thing about college campuses is that they are full of resources (free resources) that are there for you to take advantage of. Find a counselor to talk to and really work out whatever might be left over from that traumatic situation. Everyone needs to talk sometimes and when your personal support system is up in the air, that someone is a professional.
But let’s get to the situation at hand. Basically, you can’t get close to anyone because you’re afraid of getting hurt, right?
Honey. Welcome to adulthood.
I’m kidding. Kind of. Well, look. People hurt you. That’s a fact. But living a lonely life without friends and loved ones is SO not worth, say, a month of heartache if a bad friendship should go south. You have to keep going. You have to find new people to love.
Look, you did it before. Right? Remind yourself: There are people who like you. There are people who love you. These people don’t just care about you arbitrarily–there must be very good things about you! You made friends before and you can definitely, positively, absolutely make them again.
I recommend coming up with a mantra. This sounds cheesy and may remind you a little of SNL, but I swear to shoop it works. A mantra is something that’s true that you tell yourself over and over again to remind yourself of its truth. In your case, it could be something like “I deserve to have good friends,” or “Today I won’t be afraid of making new friends,” or “I am worthy of other people’s love” and so on and so forth. Say this to yourself, looking yourself in the eye, in front of a mirror five times every single morning. Feel that it’s true. And make it happen.
In this case, happily, you are the only one holding yourself back. In addition to the mantra, promise yourself that you will talk to at least one new person every day–and then REALLY DO IT. Yeah, not everyone will be cool. But you may just meet people who are REALLY cool, or maybe even a new best friend! You’ll never know till you try, and you lose nothing by doing it.
You get out there and make some friends, friend. You can do this. You. Can. Do this. (<– Tuffy’s mantra.)
Hearts & Skulls,