If you go way back and think about Monday, I wrote about a decision I made in regards to my college daughter. I just assumed what I am about to write would happen on Tuesday, but who knew the topic would reveal so many hidden truths and opinions. So today I am going to tell you conversation that I had with my daughter.

My Daughter told me she was thinking of coming home in a few weeks. There were two days in September when she would be free of commitments. Two days.

I asked why she wanted to come home. She said didn’t have someone to do something with on Friday or Saturday nights with.

I get this. I do not make friends easily. I am not good at small talk. I am not good at injecting myself into a group. And if I’m not now, I was hopeless at that task when I went to college. And yet, we all know I managed to make amazing friends.

My daughter marvels at how some kids just instantly form into a group. I had to explain to her that these are not really friendships: they are simply a group of people who fell together on the first day and whether or not they have anything in common they just group together because they do not want to be alone. There is nothing wrong with this action: it gets you out and in the game. I did this in college. I told my daughter about my experience. I also told her that I do not even remember the names of the girls on my floor that I hung out with those first weeks. I am not friends with them on Facebook, where you are literally “friends” with your neighbors work colleagues dog walker. And we all know that I made the most amazing friends in college that I still talk to till this day, often multiple times a week.

I also told her that I did not really hang out with these amazing women till I was a Sophomore. I knew them, but didn’t recognize how special and amazing they were. I explained to her that making real friends does not happen overnight.

My daughter has always had friends. In pre K she was inseparable from A- they were together every day after school for the entire year. Years K-2 brought about S. Then third grade happened, the year that kids really start to form personality. This is the year she became besties with R, who to this day remains her very best friend. This was also the year I noticed my daughter was on of the popular kids. I remember walking into the school cafeteria one afternoon to do something for PTA. There was my daughter at the lunch table in the middle, with the ten or twelve girls that everyone wanted to be friends with, the girls that all the kids at the tables surrounding them were looking at. This was a bizarre sight for me because I never sat at the popular table ever. I sat at the table in the back and ate my lunch as quick as possible so I could escape outside.

Then middle school came and my daughter was notย  the “popular” kid, but the “smart” kidย  who was in charge of everything. But she had friends: R from elementary school and a host of new best buds. High school- still the smart kid who was involved in everything. Had a really nice group of six girls, plus a bunch of others just outside the main group.

My daughter has always had friends. In fact, she has always had good, solid friends for she has chosen wisely. Her teen years were not filled with frenemies, but with kids she could count on.

So not having made friends yet is a new and interesting experience that does not always feel good. But she won’t make friends coming home on the weekends.

At the time I had the pivotal conversation with my daughter, it was early going: she’s barely been in class for six days. Club fair had not yet happened. Community service programs had not yet started. No one had even thought to form a study group yet. She really hasn’t had the opportunity to make any friends. Her roommate is a lovely person, kind, respectful and clean. But she doesn’t like to go out at all, so my daughter has no built in wingperson. It sucks, but it’s life: you don’t always get someone to hold your hand.

I told her that if she wants to have friends, she has to do something about it. It might entail smiling, which is not a sexist manipulation, but just a way of letting people know that you are approachable. Do you pet a snarking dog? I don’t. I pet a dog who looks friendly. Smiling does that too. We don’t always need to be stone faced.

Talk to people.

Have conversations.

Say Hi to the kid that sits next to you in class.

Introduce yourself to the kid in the elevator.

Tell someone you like their shoes.

Ask someone if they want to form a study group.

Ask someone if they want to practice for the moot court audition.

Do something.

It is probably 75% in your control if you make friends: some people are going to say no. Guess what? Rejection is a part of life. If everyone was afraid to talk to someone else, life as we know it would cease to exist.

But you have to be part of the game.

And sitting in your room in NYC is most definitely not putting you in the game.

And on a side note, my husband is Disneyland Dad: he just says “yes” to everything. If she had called him instead of me, she’s be coming home next weekend. So why did she call me, who she knew would say “No”. Cause maybe she really just needed a pep talk….

You’ve got to know your kid.


38 thoughts on “The Conversation

  1. I wonder if some day she will see the irony in that conversation. No one to hang with for two nights so lets go home and hang with mom! At least you were a choice- there’s that, cause I hope she wasn’t thinking that she would just happen to run into an old friend at the last moment.
    Smart kids learning to adult are still kids and the learning curve can be a struggle and a surprise they never expected.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I remember the loneliness of those first few months in college. Everyone seemed to instantly bond, while I sat there in the dorm confused and alone. You’re right, of course. You gotta get in the game if you want to be part of it so you gotta say “hi” even when it feels awkward. Your daughter will find her peeps soon enough, but doing so takes some effort. I wish her well.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I remember that too Ally. The first semester of my first year was the loneliest period of my life – here I was, a small town girl in a big city where I knew no one, and I had a roommate who went home every weekend, so I had no one to do things with. Plus my room was stuck at the end of the hall near a bunch of second year students, so I was a long time making friends, but eventually I did, but don’t remember how…..just time I guess. She’s only been there a few weeks and needs to give it time.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I’d been debating posting something about my daughter and friends because she is really struggling this year. She has learned the horrible lesson of being the friend everyone says is an awesome friend, but that all those people have others they ALWAYS do things with and talk to first. If she gets asked to do something, it is because that other friend (or friends) are not available. I know this is very different from what your daughter is going through, but it has been a really difficult thing to try and help my daughter through because that was me at her age. Seeing your kids struggling with making new friends or learning those lessons that even friends can be jerks, is such a hard thing for a parent to go through.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I absolutely HATE it because I know exactly how she feels. It is a huge part of why I am they way I am today and I so don’t want that for her. I breaks my heart that so many people are so utterly careless in how they treat friends.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Great job mom. My kids call me for everything unless it has to do with their cars. Then they call dad. My daughter is struggling right now with the being alone thing and she is bolstering her courage by going on trips by herself because she knows she will have to interact with people without a buffer. It scares me because you know, young girl (23) traveling alone but I have to let her do it. Thank God for “find my friends” on the cellphone!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love every. Single. Thing. about this post!
    You’re not just pep-talking a homesick young woman, you’re reminding me, and the rest of your readers how important it is to participate in your own damn life!
    Thanks for the pep-talk, (young woman’s) mom โค

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My kids friends that lasted from college were not always the kids that she roomed with or even shared a major although for my daughter her major was all encompassing so they did spend much more time together and made closer friendships. Your daughter has things she likes to do, go do them and befriend people who are doing the same things, then at least they have that in common. Tough being a freshman.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I went to college a little late, didn’t find it easy at first, met someone I later married and then got asked to leave as my socialising was getting in the way of my work. It just goes to show that good things can happen, though I wouldn’t recommend using me as an example… ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This is an incredible post. You really did a great job giving your daughter a pep talk – and me to boot. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m having some of the same feelings as her, at the age of 49. Ah well, who knew that an inner teenager/college student would still be around in middle age?

    I’m cheering your daughter on from Brooklyn, and totally acknowledging you for caring about her well-being. Blessings to you both, and to your husband (Disneyland-Dad, what a great name ๐Ÿ™‚ )


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