- Identify friend candidates. Beggars can’t be choosers, so you’re probably going to have to start with low-grade friends. But you have plenty of time to work your way up. It’s called social climbing, and it’s what college is all about. (But never forget the story of Icarus, who flew too close to the sun and lost his wings. Climb too fast, and you’ll end up right back where you started.)
- Get your foot in the door. Break the ice with your friend candidates in whatever way you can. This could be as simple as, “Hey neighbor, can I borrow some Preparation H?” but feel to get creative: “Come quick! I think my roommate is going into anaphylactic shock!”
- Be memorable. Look around you. Literally every person you see is a potential friend, so you need to make yourself stand out from the crowd. Try sporting a fedora or “liberty spikes.” But don’t come on too strong—advertising your love of flesh hook suspension is likely to scare off more people than it attracts.
- Follow up. A budding friendship is like a premature infant—weak, fragile and in need of constant care. Regardless of the strength of your first impression, your friendship will definitely require some (metaphorical) postnatal steroids if you want it to mature. Don’t ever let a prospective pal out of your sight without first getting their number. Then, deploy texts at strategic intervals to ensure that your delicate, shriveled friendship won’t perish in the incubator. The first time you feel that friendship’s miniscule hand grasp your thumb (metaphorically, of course), you’ll know you’ve succeeded.
- Seal the deal. Remember that no matter how awesome your new friends may seem, they could stab you in the back at any moment. That’s why any veteran friend-maker will tell you that it’s always best to get the terms of your friendship in writing. That way, if your friends forget your birthday or hook up with your significant other, you can sue the shit out of them.
Making and Retaining Friends: A Practical Guide
The beginning of college can be a deeply frightening time, as everyone except you meets lots of awesome people and quickly finds their social niche. The competition for friends can be fierce, and if you’re afraid to be aggressive then you WILL be left behind. If you’re socially awkward, unsightly, or just rub people the wrong way, the friendship game may seem like more trouble than it’s worth. But with this handy guide, you’ll soon have potential friends eating out of your hand. Literally, if that’s what you’re into.