College Q&A: Balancing Friendships

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Question:
So I’m a sophomore and I’m living in my sorority house. I’m having the best time – there’s always someone to hang out with here and there’s always something going on. The problem is that my non sorority friends have been getting mad at me for not hanging out with them. It’s not that I don’t want to – it’s just that they live all the way across campus and I don’t have as much time to see them as I did when we lived on the same floor. I feel really torn and don’t know what to do. If I stay at my sorority house, I miss out on times with my other friends. But if I hang out with them (when I find time), I’m missing out on something at the house.

Can you help me find a balance?

Busy Bee:
It all boils down to this: Who do you like more? I think that when you like a certain group, you make an extra effort to hang out with them, regardless of the complications. On the other hand, I do understand that you are extremely busy. You have to hang out with whoever is easier to access (which happens to be your sorority girls).

Sooo, you gotta tell your non-sorority friends to meet you halfway. They can come to your place every other week, while you make it over to their dorms on the other week. Other ideas include meeting up at the campus coffee shop, making weekly study dates, or having weekly shopping hangouts.

Plus, your sisters should understand that you have a life outside of the sorority. I don’t think that you would miss that much when you go out with your friends. If you do, I’m sure some of the girls would be happy to fill you in when you get back. And it’s always good to have a life outside of the people you live with (it can get catty)! Remember, just set your priorities straight. I know it’s difficult, but just keep in mind that if you really like both groups, you have to find a way to keep them in your lives. Otherwise, you might lose a good thing without knowing it.

Party Girl:
You’re in a pretty common position. Even without the sorority committment, it’s difficult to find time for all your friends during sophomore year. You all have different living assignments and some of you may have taken on jobs and Greek life as well. Finding the balance is tough…but completely manageable with alcohol. It’s the great socializer! Your campus can’t be that huge where walking to your friends’ dorm on the weekend is impossible. Dorm parties, house parties, tailgates – all of these are great ways to keep the balance. Also, I’m sure your sorority has functions that the general public is allowed to attend. Invite your friends! And while you shouldn’t start flaking on your sisters, you should make some time for your old friends by skipping one or two of the smaller events. Keep the connections alive, girl!

GPA Girl:

My first reaction was to say that your non-sorority friends sound kind of petty, but then I thought about it some more, and I think they have a point. From the way you describe it, it does seem as if you’re not really making much of an effort to see them. Then again, I have a feeling we don’t know about the full situation here–how much of an effort are they making to see you, for example? Are they trekking across campus to hang at your place?

I think you need to be really honest with yourself about how much of a priority your non-sorority friends are to you. Because if you keep telling them they’re important to you but your actions always say otherwise, they’re going to figure that out pretty quickly, and they’ll have a right to be ticked. If you start to actually back up what you say and meet up with them regularly, though, I predict they’ll cool off before long. Why do you have to go all the way across campus, anyway? Can’t you guys meet at a nice coffee shop in town or at the library to study or something?

Alternately, if your non-sisters just aren’t as important to you as they used to be, I believe you should gather some balls and be honest with them about it. There is nothing wrong with having friendships that fade away–it’s natural, and we all have experienced it–but the bogus part results when one friend isn’t honest about her priorities. You can be honest and still be nice. Try saying something like, “I’m so sorry I’ve been neglecting you guys lately. But I’m really having fun hanging out at the house, and it’s hard to motivate myself to leave. Would you want to meet up with me just once a week off-campus or something?” This is really a communication issue–just talk with your friends about how you feel, and be real with them. A solution will follow.

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