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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Monday, June 24, 2024

SOS | Charlotte Steinway

Dear SOS,

I've always been a member of a pretty intense sports team, both throughout high school and college. Since team practices and dinners take up a good deal of my time, my teammates have become some of my closest, but also some of my only, friends. Now I'm starting to realize that it could be time to branch out and meet new people, but as a sophomore, I fear that my opportunity may have passed. Can you suggest some ways to meet new people? Or am I doomed to be a teammate for life?

 

Sincerely,

Amicable Athlete

 

Dear Amicable Athlete,

Although I met one of my best friends at Tufts on MySpace.com the summer before college (dead serious), I am always looking to meet new people here (in ways that don't involve Internet stalking), and can definitely attempt to answer your query.

The correlation between athletic teams and friend groups is definitely an interesting phenomenon at Tufts. Some of the teams certainly seem cultish in the way they take up an entire row of tables at Dewick, barricading a sizeable portion of the dining hall.

What you may not realize, however, is that a fair number of students actually join an extracurricular activity like a sport BECAUSE they want to make friends and feel some sense of team unity. But such unity can, at times, be limiting.

In my opinion, the hands-down best place to meet new people is in class. I met my other best friend in Intro to Psych the first day of my freshman year — an unlikely prospect in a class of nearly 200.

Even as a sophomore, making friends with your classmates is still a viable option. Let me play out a little scenario for you: First day of class (awk ice breakers and introductions to get a feel for the people you're surrounded by) —> a couple of weeks of classes thereafter (make sure to sit next to the person you want to befriend so you can establish your relationship as habitual seatmates) —> make sure to approach the person at some point out of class to bond over how amazing/horrible/totz-hawt the teacher is, or how difficult/boring/fascinating the reading is —> schedule a study date for the exam together (exchange digits) —> study together —> plan to celebrate later that night over some voddy-cranz/cranny-vodz. You are now automatically instaBFFs.

Classroom aside, the introduction of alcohol into a burgeoning friendship can go a couple of different ways.

First of all, what if you stumble up to a girl in your calc class and bond about how your math prof ALWAYS has chalk dust smeared across her face and hair but no one in the class has the guts to tell her (true story ... anyone who has taken "Math 11" knows who I'm talking about) — but then you DON'T acknowledge her presence in class the next day? Then you've already screwed it up by way of the classically paradoxical Tufts trope: the Boozed-up Bifferz/Sober Strangers (BB/SS) model.

But if you sit next to her in class the next day and scheme a plan to gracefully inform your chalked-up prof about her dusty 'do, then THAT is grounds for a friendship in the works. Also, as mentioned before, if you make plans to hang out in a non-academic setting (whether it involves alchy or not), that alone can be the means for a burgeoning friendship.

And even if befriending your classmates isn't really your flava, just being open to meeting new people — whether by striking up a convo, flashing a smile or abandoning the BB/SS cliché — as Oprah-esque as it sounds, will pay off.

--Charlotte Steinway is a junior majoring in sociology. She can be reached at Charlotte.Steinway@tufts.edu.


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