Whether you’re a freshman experiencing the first taste of college life or a sixth-year senior doing your best Van Wilder impression, the start of the school year is always an exciting time for all UM undergrads. That’s because a new semester generally means new friends.
But before you find any potential college BFFs, first you have to meet people and actually have conversations with them, and that doesn’t always turn out as planned.
Some people are terrible with names. My short-term memory is so bad, I will forget your name within seconds of meeting you.
“Hey, I’m Jennifer. Nice to meet you.”
“I’m Felipe. Nice meeting you, Pedro.”
“I’m…. uhh… dumb.”
That brings up another interesting point. Is it ever truly “nice to meet you”? Typically within the first 27 seconds of meeting someone, I can determine if you’re someone I actually want to hang out with, or if I’ll deny your Facebook friend request the moment I receive it. Although I get along with most people, there are those certain people that as soon as I meet, I think: “Naw. F that guy.” Perhaps we should be more upfront and honest when meeting new people.
“Pleased to meet you.” “Nice to meet you too. Wait. No I’m not. The only reason I’m shaking your hand is because you’re my roommate’s cousin, and I heard you liked hip-hop. But after noticing that Vanilla Ice haircut, I’m retracting my ‘nice to meet you.’ Truth is, it actually sucks to meet you.”
When a guy meets another guy, a simple handshake will do just fine. The “soul shake” (two alternate grip handshakes followed by a man hug) should only be performed by trained professionals (i.e., black guys). Watching two white dudes try this is like watching Jewish people dance. It’s a little awkward.
No other variations of handshakes should be attempted. Hugs are acceptable only when meeting moderately attractive females. And please, under no circumstances, should “the fist pound” be used. This isn’t Deal or No Deal.
Lastly, when meeting someone new, most people wait to talk rather than listen to what the other has to say. This is perfectly normal, and is actually desired in most conversations. This gives you the opportunity to make mental judgments about the other’s appearance. Let’s face it, the other person is probably boring, and you can draw a better conclusion based on their clothes and appearance than the sounds coming from their mouth.
“’Sup bro! I’m Craig, what do you think blahblahblah…”
“Hey, he has Greek letters on his shirt. He must drink lots of beer, throw awesome parties, and have lots of female friends. Oh wait, that says Kappa Sigma, never mind.”
If you’re charismatic enough and make a great first impression, you can go from being the kid who played Magic the Gathering in high school to Big Man on Campus. Or, you can be lame, awkward, have no friends, and spend your Friday nights playing Werewolves vs. Vampires on Facebook. The choice is yours!