Why is it that we sit in our seats before class and stare ahead as if we are in an elevator? Unlike an elevator, these people will be in the same room as you for the next four months. And herein lies the problem.
Speaking to the wrong individual can lead to a whole semester of discomfort as your new ‘friend’ regales you every other day with tales of their “hilarious” roommate. The story is usually of an X-box based activity, and thus inherently uninteresting. Now when he stares at you expectantly after he tells you something “funny,” you must laugh out loud while secretly considering suicide. In other cases a guy assumes I am gay for talking to him. I then wish to say, “don’t flatter yourself,” and proceed to give him the first honest appraisal of his looks he has received. I note his uneven meatball eyes and frighteningly oily skin. And then I feel bad.
If you are a girl, your options are even more limited. If you talk to another female they will respond in an outwardly friendly manner, while inside they curse you for being more confident and socially calibrated than they are. They will proceed to sabotage your progress in class, and life, by spreading rumors of your sexual exploits. You are a virgin? Not anymore, according to your new acquaintance. In fact, you do groups. And do not talk to a guy, because no matter how hot you are, and how hideous and decrepit he is, he assumes that his insightful questions to the professor about the Reformation have aroused you and now he just has to close the deal. Cue never ending invitations to hang out with the aforementioned “funny” friends he has. I hope you enjoy Guitar Hero, you lucky thing.
For the guys out there, if you are looking for a friend, I would advise talking to girls. No matter how much history has taught us about gender dynamics, girls will never realize why guys talk to them. Oh, that friendly fellow asked you about the stickers on your notebook and their significance? How sweet and curious! Meanwhile, if you could hear his thoughts you would call the police immediately.
Can anything be done? In all seriousness, a worrying “clique epidemic” is partly to blame. Perhaps we could start there.
Adam Bird-Ridnell is a junior majoring in history and philosophy. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.