College students live in the same manner as rats in a science lab. In tiny little dorm room cells, an endless stream of impressionable freshman hope to survive the scary experiment we call forced socialization. Living off the regular feedings of their chosen social structure, whether it’s a fraternity, softball team, etc, universities practically beg for students to become friends with each other.Remember how your freshman orientation was jam-packed with team building activities and trust falls? But building relationships outside those dorm room-dungeon walls when those four university years come to an end has proven to be challenging, particularly for women.
A recent Jezebel article, “How to Make Friends in the Post Collegiate World,” gives advice on avoiding loneliness in adulthood, citing the importance of being spontaneous, and joining social organizations in order to make new friends. Sure, new cities can be tough, especially if you’ve come for a specific job, or to follow a boyfriend or girlfriend. But signing up for Saturday kickball at the park is no instant friend maker. Where there is a lack of loyal friendships, there can sometimes be deeper issues which are left unexplored. Are some women simply unable to make new friends?
Do you ever cruise around Facebook, only to realize that people you went to high school with have graduated, gone to college, attained careers, and…strictly hang around with their same friends from high school? While it’s important to know how to hold ties and maintain relationships, one has to wonder what’s going on when people stay in the same social structure throughout life. For some women who prided themselves on being considered “popular” in their younger days, discovering the isolation after graduation can be highly uncomfortable. The “I never had to work to make friends before, so why should I now?” mentality is constantly revolving.
Consider a girl who everyone wanted to be in high school. While people begged and pleaded to be her acquaintance at age 16, age 26 can find her struggling because those followers of hers from high school simply don’t care anymore. For those who never had to put any effort into having friends, seeking out new ones as adults is uncomfortable, especially when you’re hoping to maintain and air of exclusivity.
You’ve met the two best friends, both strapped into Herve Leger bandage dresses and 4-inch heels. To the normal passerby on the street, they look as close as can be. But what looks like a great friendship is often a highly combative relationship, where competition for best of everything reigns supreme. For some women, friendships are nearly impossible to maintain because of the constant need to be the best. Laura*, 28, of Manhattan, told us about her on and off relationship with best friend, Evan*. “She’s the type of person who would tell you that you look bad in a beautiful dress, even if you look gorgeous. It’s because she doesn’t want anyone being prettier than her.” For women like Evan, the desire to be the prettiest is enough to kill off any friendship.