Straight talk with Aunt Aggie: Making friends in college

Rachel Musselmann

Aunt Aggie. (Cartoon by Julio Becerril)

Dear Aunt Aggie,

I’ve never been that good at making friends. The friends I had in high school kind of just happened, but it feels like coming to college, I’m starting from scratch. I know the friends I make here are supposed to be lifelong, but how do I get them in the first place?



Doesn’t Talk to Strangers

Dear Doesn’t Talk,

First of all, you are not the only one with this problem. Most people come to college with a blank slate, and that works in everyone’s advantage. It brings us to step one:

Talk. To everyone.

Every single person you see or meet at the dining hall or the dorms or on the first day of class is feeling like the new kid eating lunch alone in the bathroom. So put on your big kid pants and say hello. I promise they will be glad you did. At the very least, the two of you are no longer eating alone. At best, this is the start of a beautiful friendship.

Now brace yourself, because step two may be a little tougher to swallow:

Be a yes man (or woman).

This is the part where you have to get out of your own way. Put aside that little “High School Musical” voice inside your head telling you to “stick with the status quo.” No matter what our mothers told us, high school was about finding your niche and doing everything you could to fit in with that group of people. College is the opposite. Now is the time to make yourself interesting, and to do that, you need to try just about everything. I will admit, when I got to CSU, I was a bit of a snob. I turned up my nose at any activity that did not fit in with who I had been in high school, and I spent a good deal of my first semester wondering when I would start making friends.


Listen to Auntie. You need to get out of your head and say yes to every random adventure or opportunity that crosses your path. No one cares how cool you thought you were in high school. You will meet interesting new people with every new activity, and they in turn will introduce you to new activities and people. You will have more friends then you will know what to do with, and some that will be with you for the rest of your life. So say yes to laser tag, sunrise hikes, intramural sports, student government, volunteer clubs, midnight pizza runs and hot tubs. Who knows? You might even like it.

Got it? Good. Now get out there and have some college-sized adventures. I want to see pictures.

Much love and good luck,

Aunt Aggie

Collegian Senior Reporter Rachel Musselmann can be reached at or on Twitter @rmusselmann.