Buddy System

Understanding men and their friendships.

Tips for Freshmen Guys in Making Friends Part II

Making friends as a freshman can be difficult but is possible

Last week I provided five tips for guys making friends when going away to college for the first time. This week I offer five more tips, some taken from Buddy system: Understanding male friendships.

Last week’s tips first: 1. Strike a balance between maintaining your current friends and making new friends; 2. Try new activities; 3. Guys like shoulder-to shoulder friendships and gals like face-to-face friendships; 4. To maintain a new friendship, be a good friend; and 5.Friendships that are lasting may take time to grow.

This week’s tips:

1.  Decide what kind of friendship you are looking for in another guy.  Do you want a buddy to hang around with all the time, most of the time, or a little of the time? Are you a one-close-friend guy or do you want a posse? Some people have friends for specific activities, like shooting hoops or playing chess, but would not necessarily want to spend an evening in an unstructured activity with those guys.  Other guys like to go out in a group.  It is okay to have friends for different purposes.

2.  Be aware that sharing too much too soon can be unsettling to people who do not know you well. You should always be true to yourself and if you are the kind of person that is open about everything, go with it.  But for some men (and women), opening up too soon about a past event may make that event too central in a new relationship and may define you.  Sometimes (not always) it is better to wait a little while until you and the other person know each other better to provide a full history.

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3.  If you and a new friend are going to a mixer or party to meet women (or men), talk about expectations before you go.  If you and your new bud go together and you meet someone and he does not, is it okay to leave with her and leave your friend to his own devices? Are you responsible for fixing him up or is it every man for himself?

4. Pursue friendships with people who make you feel good about yourself.   Avoid people who will divert you from your academic goals. Also, avoid guys that make other people feel uncomfortable because of their behavior.  Bullies and insensitive people do not make good friends.

5.  Join sports teams that offer cooperation between players and a chance to compete against other universities or clubs.  This provides a fun “us versus them” mentality that builds friendships. [Thanks to a college sophomore who responded to last week’s blog with this cogent advice!]

Geoffrey Greif, Ph.D., is a Professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work and author of Buddy System: Understanding Male Friendships.

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