How To Adapt Your Yale Friendships Now That Everything Is Online

Written by: Ashley Anthony

Edited by: Sophie Lai

Do you guys remember when quarantine started and we were all kind of happy to get out of the Yale bubble? But now it has gone on for far too long and you’re stuck at home remembering why you moved so far away in the first place? Or have you just returned to campus and come to the depressing realization that Yale is just simply going to be incredibly different? Never fear, the Boola is here to guide you through these difficult times with some handy tips on how to adapt to this new environment. We’ll ensure that you get that true Yale experience that you’re missing! 

Edit: This article was written at the beginning of the term, but the information is applicable for first years in Saybrook, Davenport and Grace Hopper who are are now quarantined again, and everyone being forced off campus in Thanksgiving!

Tip 1: Text Roulette

One of my favorite things about Yale is unexpectedly running into an acquaintance on Cross (or Old) Campus. I mean, the intersecting paths are literally created to ensure that us busy Yalies physically bump into each other and have to socially interact. Seeing a friendly face always excites me– yeah, we never talk for long, but it adds some variety to my life. I get to ask how their classes are going, what they’ve been up to and, most importantly, I get to ask if they want to grab a meal sometime. Plus, I can then talk to my everyday friends about this surprisingly fortuitous encounter. With the online world, every social interaction feels pointed. Speaking to someone means that you’ve gone out of your way to message or video call them. Where’s the spontaneity? Where’s the variety? I talk to the same six people all the time, and we’re running out of things to talk about together! 

My proposal: Text Roulette. Hear me out. Generate a random number from an online site, and scroll through your contacts until you get to that one. If it’s a Yalie, text em’ something like, “Woah, funny to run into you like this! How are you doing?” They’ll love it, I promise. Especially if this is just someone you casually know. Besides, now you’ve given them something random to talk about with their friends. 

Tip 2: Scheduling Zoom Calls

If random encounters aren’t your vibe, that’s fine. Text that person you always say you’ll grab a meal with and schedule a Zoom. Of course you’re not going to actually Zoom them– that would elevate your relationship; we’re trying to maintain your relationships at the exact same level that they were at when Yale was in person. My thinking is that you keep trying to pencil them into your G-Cal but never get around to calling them because inevitably something more important will come up and you (or they) will cancel. 

Tip 3: Simulating Shared Experience

The great thing about being at college is that it’s such an experience. It forces us to bond because we’re undergoing so much together, for better or for worse. We can complain about the crazy weather, the bad food, and the mice in the dorms. This has vanishedwith Zoom. Yeah, sure, we’re all technically experiencing a pandemic together, but is that enough? No, if you really care about making lasting bonds with people, it’s time to start fabricating shared experiences. I think this one is super open-ended. You can decide what shared experience you’d like to simulate. For example, if you’ve always complained about the quality of the dining hall food, why don’t you try sending your friend a recipe? You guys can cook the food over Zoom and then eat. Considering that you’re both college students, I’ll assume that your cooking skills aren’t that great. This is perfect. You want to simulate the poor dining experience that Yale gives us so that you can have things to complain about. If you guys are actually good at cooking, I recommend sending the recipe minus a few key ingredients or steps. For a real authentic experience, limit your seasonings! That way, it’ll truly reflect the quality of dining hall food. Once you’ve suffered through the meal, feel free to cave and UberEats McDonald’s or Popeyes. If you and your friends never bonded over bad meals (maybe you’re in Franklin or something), why not try to simulate a different shared experience? Have some mice shipped to your friend’s house. Get yourself a pair as well and let them loose in your homes. Then, you guys can talk about how spooked you were when the mice came out while you were studying late at night. The possibilities are endless!

Tip 4: Mail Your Former Suitemates Your Random Belongings

Something that’s quintessentially Yale is residential college life. So many great friendships are formed because of how closely you lived together. Living together is such an intimate experience and there’s something to be said about becoming familiar with your suitemates’ habits and coexisting with each other. Of course, you can’t recreate that unless you get a place together, so the next best thing is to mail them random personal items of yours. Insist that they leave them in common spaces such as the living room or bathroom, so that when they see your things they’ll feel as though they’re still living with you. I, personally, have found that hairbrushes, assorted notebooks, and an odd shoe or two work best. 

Tip 5: Venmo That Friend $5 Dollars Every Wednesday 

We all have that friend that asks you to pay for them at Woads because they never have cash. They’re also simultaneously the friend that never pays you back. They are perpetually indebted to you, but since you’ve been away from them that debt has stopped growing. The slight tension in your friendship is starting to fade. What are you going to be passively aggressive about now? I think the best way to remedy this power imbalance is simply to Venmo your friend $5 dollars and then shade them on Zoom calls for never repaying you.