Coming to college for the first time is an over-stimulating experience for a multitude of reasons, as I am sure everyone can imagine. Perhaps at other colleges, intimate or sexual stimulation is common. A bit more scandalous. At Yale, solely intellectual stimulation. Nothing else. Only studying.
You’ve heard the stories of how much fun college is, how soon you’ll meet your future bridesmaids, and how many sexy, life-altering hook ups you’ll probably have (which you hope to be plentiful since your chances of getting with a future Senator would be higher). But already being here for a month, I’ve noticed a socially fatal flaw in the conversational norm of introduction: people ask the same damn three questions when they meet someone new.
- What’s your name?
- Where are you from?
Importance/relevance depends on how cool your hometown is.
- What college are you in?
Who the fuck cares, and I will not remember. Unless you’re in my college. Then I sort of care.
*End of conversation.*
Yes, this information may bear some significance if a friendship ends up blossoming down the road. But for purely introductory purposes, some may care more about your name and some may care more about whether or not you have a roommate, and that all depends on what kinds of people you’re talking to (advice: respect yourself enough to veto the “just curious, do you have a single or double?” people). But after the two-week, I’m-a-freshman-and-I-want-to-meet-everyone honeymoon phase of college, it comes to the point where people refrain from being that lively social butterfly they once were because they just dread the repetitive, impersonal introduction process. But, there’s hope. Let’s keep the interesting mingling alive, people. It’s too early to be boring.
1. Still start with your name, I guess.
This one can stay. There’s a good chance your name may not be remembered depending on the level of sobriety involved in your introduction. So, always be sure to make an entrance. People at parties love it when you personally deem yourself the center of undivided attention.
...Just kidding, don’t be that bitch. Ever. Alternatively, make sure to say your name enough times in witty enough ways within conversation so that you’ll earn your spot in someone’s intoxicated subconscious. Make that name stick, come hell or high water.
2. Hit them with a compliment.
I can only speak from a girl-girl, girl-guy interaction standpoint on this one (I’m a girl, sorry). If someone compliments me, hell—I immediately like them, and there’s no shame in it. They didn’t have to give me a little confidence boost, but they went out of their way to. Now I’ll be strutting a little harder for the rest of the night. But, girls are often on high “fake friend” alert. Act a little too insincere while complimenting, and you will be scoffed at. Refrain from “uptalk,” high-pitched tone, and voice inflection. Keep in mind, the first compliment does not have to be superficial. Talk to them a bit first, then comment on their cute laugh or dope sense of humor. Then, after, you may comment on “how nice that ass looks in those jeans.” Be creative; flattery does wonders.
3. Be funny. Or at least attempt to.
Find people who laugh with you, and not at you. The best nights start and end with the best people, and the best kind of people have a good-ass sense of humor. If you’re not naturally funny, you should not worry. Trying to make someone laugh is almost as endearing as actually succeeding in making someone laugh, even if you’re struggling terribly at it. If you keep it classy and tasteful enough to avoid offending everyone around you, I guarantee you’ll at least win a smile. And, if you’re lucky, maybe even some pity.
4. Make personal connections.
After at least two minutes of platonic, casual small talk, you can now dive into asking whatever burning questions you see fit. Ask what interests them, what they do for fun, who their friends at Yale are, where they grew up. If you’re feeling ballsy, ask them what turns them on. If you both say the same sex position, then boom—potential hook up. If you both say food, then boom—best friends. Give the person at least another minute of your time to gauge whether or not they vibe with you, and from there, you’ve either made an acquaintance, or you’ve met a real one to tag along with you for the rest of your night’s appropriate and/or inappropriate adventures.
5. The Golden Rule
Without a doubt, the fastest, most guaranteed and genuine way to make the longest lasting friendships/relationships is to bond over disliking the same person. This way, you can both talk shit about that person together, and learn about new things to hate about this person. Not only are you bonding over your common dislike for someone else, both of you are now fostering your creativity and teamwork skills, which in turn, makes you better Yalies. On the other hand, if one of you begins to lose hatred for the individual in question, the other may learn to lessen their hatred, as well. This way, your new pal has made you a better person, or vice versa, and there is a whole new level of personal endowment that will make your bond even stronger.
Hate is bad. Refrain from it when possible.
Everyone’s a stranger until you give them a chance. Who knows; your lifelong best friend or future significant other might still be out there, waiting patiently to be bombarded by the unbeknownst, beautiful storm that is you, and you’ll both want to remember having a better first interaction than:
“Hey, you in Morse?”
Don’t give up on that creativity, Yalies. Make those friends, get those hooks up, but above all—be original. We all got in here for a reason. Hopefully.