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About Friendship

Maintaining Friendships from High School

Building Friendships in College

Digital Friendships



Maintaining Friendships from High School

The following letter was submitted anonymously by a college student.  It speaks to the difficulty in leaving old friends “behind” as you start and continue your college experience, yet it also recognizes the excitement of new friendships that develop out of change.  Can you relate to this letter? 

Maybe the times have gone, the faces, I recall. But things in this life change very slowly, if they ever change at all. The scary part being that we've all been hit with change lately, and it doesn't seem to have come slowly at all.

Do you remember the day you left home? I'm sure that you do. But I'll bet that what you remember even more clearly, were the days in the week before you left. You know...the days you spent getting addresses and phone numbers and trying to figure out how to say good bye to everyone you've loved for as long as you could remember.

Do you remember standing by your best friend's car one night, after midnight, trying to sum up the meaning of a friendship you'd managed to maintain through thick and thin for years? Do you remember how hard that was, to think of how to say good bye to that person? It was nearly impossible, wasn't it, to give them one last hug and turn around and walk inside?
I'll bet part of what you remember was the night before you left, kissing your boyfriend or girlfriend good bye for one last time. Just knowing that you'd have to turn around and walk back inside was almost motivation enough not to leave at all. Stepping back to take one last look at that person you love--it's really scary.
And you go and tell yourself that you won't find anyone new. You won't ever replace your old friends. You'll never fall in love again. It's really crazy what kinds of things can happen when you don't mean for them to.
You get to a new place full of strangers. You meet people who forget you. You forget people you meet. But sometimes, you come across some extraordinarily special people. They have tears to shed too. They left people behind. They're in love with that guy or girl back where they used to live, and they all want someone to talk to. So you talk.
Talk is good. You form bonds you never thought you'd form. You call your old friends and tell them about the new ones. Sometimes, they don't understand. Sometimes, you hurt their feelings. Sometimes everyone is just a bit jealous. You miss your boyfriend or your girlfriend.
One day you're sitting in the park, thinking about all that stuff you really didn't want to leave, and a stranger sits down near you. Sometimes that person stays a stranger. Other times you talk to him or her. Sometimes you experience things you didn't want to ever happen. Sometimes you're interested in that person who isn't your boyfriend or girlfriend at home. Sometimes college is really complicated.
Sometimes you stay together. Other times you break up. Sometimes you think you've done the wrong thing by coming so far away from home. And sometimes when you start thinking like this, it's time to make a change. So when this happens, you sit down, put The Eagles in the stereo and turn on "Sad Cafe," and wonder if you still recall all the faces from your past. If you do, you're doing well.
So you pick up the phone, and you call them all just to say, "Hi, I love you, I'm thinking about you." And then just as an afterthought, you say, "You know, I'm really learning a lot from college. I wish you'd come here to visit all of my friends. They're very important to me, and I think they'd love you. You'd love them. Because after all, this is college.

College is a growing experience. Growing experiences cause change. Change is hard. But it makes you stronger. Call your mom. Call your best friend. Call your boyfriend or girlfriend. Or your ex, if that's how it worked out. Tell them hello. Tell them you miss them. Tell them you love them. And then, turn off the stereo, leave your residence hall. Go to a friend's room, give them a big hug, and say, "Thank you so much for being here. I love you." I promise you'll feel better.

Building Friendships in College

You may already have a group of friends, but there are so many people at Villanova who  don’t know you yet!  Expand your horizons and get to know other people during your time at Villanova.  Here are some quick tips to get you going:

  •  Be outgoing and friendly!
  • Introduce yourself to the other people living on your floor and in the same classes.
  • Introduce yourself to other people at social, sporting and campus events.
  • Invite people who you recognize from your floor, class or events to sit with you at meals.
  • Study in groups.
  • Join campus organizations that appeal to you.  Click here for the many student organizations available to you or contact them to start your own organization.
  • Start an intramural team and invite others to participate.
  • Explore fraternity and sorority life.  Click here for more information about recruitment.                    
  • Get out!  There is much more to do beyond Villanova’s campus.  Click here for ideas!

College is a time to branch out, to get to know yourself through your involvement with others who are different from you, and to develop to your highest potential.  Get the most out of your Villanova experience by getting to know your peers and building new friendships!

Digital Friendships

According to the Pew Internet Project, college students are twice as likely to use instant messenger on any given day than the average Internet user.  The project also reported that over 75% of college students check their email at least once a day.  This digital presence in the lives of college students today is undeniable, and it has most certainly pervaded the maintenance and development of friendships. 

College students report the use of email, instant messenger, text messaging and other similar digital means as a non-intrusive and less vulnerable way to communicate with friends.  Whereas past generations had to rely on more traditional means of communicating with friends, the current generation has all but abandoned hallmarks of the past with letters, care packages, and lengthy phone conversations. 

Many college students report physical and psychological apprehension when they can expect to have a person-to-person or phone conversation with someone, particularly around important matters.  It can be more difficult to interpret someone’s tone and expression through a digital conversation, but many students would rather work with ambiguity than with immediate in-person confrontation with another person. 

Therefore, it is important to explore ways to stay in touch with friends other than digital means.  Take the time out to try some of the more traditional means of communication – send your best friend a care package or a card – or establish traditions with your college friends that allow you to get together fairly routinely to catch up with each other like getting together for breakfast every morning.  Nothing can replace having a real-time, in-person conversation with someone you care about and who cares about you.  Can instant messenger give you a hug or laugh with you?  Fill in the digital missing link with some old-fashioned friendship.

A Word about Roommates

The roommate relationship can be the most rewarding and challenging relationship you will experience in college.  It is important to recognize that roommates are not always friends with each other; however, at a minimum, roommates should demonstrate respect for one another.  Below are some tips for getting along with your roommate(s):

  • Have realistic expectations – you do not have to be best friends to live together.
  • Approach the living situation with an open mind.
  • Speak in a calm, collective voice when you have concerns.  Do not allow concerns to accumulate.
  • You and your roommate(s) were probably not raised in identical home environments.  -Understand that your shared living experience will likely be very different for both of you.
  • Be willing to compromise.
  • Be nice to your roommate and their guest(s) – it’s the golden rule.
  • If you are uncomfortable or unable to approach your roommate(s) about a concern, talk with your RA about mediating or facilitating a conversation.
  • Be patient with yourself and your roommate(s).

If you need more ideas about how get along with your roommate, click here.

If you have an unresolved problem or need to talk with someone, consider making an appointment to talk with someone at the Counseling Center.