(Zig Ziglar as cited in K. D.).
At AU, you might miss the friendships found at physical universities. You might even feel isolated or lonely. “Friendships are important—if not crucial—for our well-being” (K. D., p. 1). But no need to fret, because below are five tips for making pals:
Join local clubs or groups related to your interests.
“When you pursue hobbies and activities you enjoy, you have a good chance of meeting people with similar interests” (K. D., p. 2). I’d love to join a Bollywood dance class. And a bubbly artist teaches Thursday night classes nearby. I might drop in one day, when I can afford it. So, “commit to 2-3 clubs that you really enjoy and care about” (K. D., p. 7). In university, my two steadies were the university television station and the gym.
When considering clubs to join, ask yourself, “What hobbies would you love to do with your soul mate?”
Activities I love to do with my partner include gym time, reading, meditating, and working on his business goals. But I would never want to do any of the following with even a friend: camp, party, travel, or consume toxins. Just not my things. So, figure out what activities you would love to do with your soulmate, and join those clubs. “Make a list of places, groups, clubs, classes and social networks where you might meet the kind of person above” (K. D., p. 8). I need to join book clubs but steer clear of vintage French wine.
Once you find a pal place, make pals the date-night way:
“While not everyone has the courage to actually do it, most of us know how to pursue a crush. Send flowers to their office. Invite them to a concert featuring a band you know that they love. Ask them to check ‘yes’ or ‘no’ under the question ‘will you go out with me?’ (Oh wait, are we not in third grade anymore?). Apply similar (but less romantic) tactics when pursuing the potential friend” (K. D., p. 3). When you haven’t any cash, drum up a hundred ways to say, “I love you,” through acts of kindness.
When you find new friends, fish for points of compatibility:
“One of the easiest ways you can see friendship compatibility is to see if you are into the same things. Just like on a date, you want to float things you enjoy and see if they do too …. Bring up a new sport / class / book you have been wanting to dive into and see what they say” (K. D., p. 8). Long ago, my beloved work colleague asked me to go snow shoeing with her. But I was overweight and barely able to walk two blocks to the bus stop. In hindsight, I wish I had been fit enough to snowshoe with her. You build memories with friends when you put dibs in their delights.
Bask your partner—and friends—with unconditional love.
I read the first three free chapters of a book called Lessons for a Happy Marriage . It teaches how to treat your partner with unconditional love. It says to always treat your partner like you’re in the courting stage. In other words, give without expecting anything in return; always dwell on your partner’s finer qualities; never speak ill or think unkindly about your partner; and do much more. But I think we should give unconditional love to not only our soul mate, but also our family, friends—and enemies. “So … court your companions. Flirt with friends. Date your peers. I want you to think about making friends like dating, but without the heartbreak” (K. D., p. 5).
Now, even you AU introverts have five secrets for building buddies. So, go out and woo the world. But first, peer at your bookshelf to get a sense of the pals that’d make life most fun.