SYDNEY: Entering the friend zone

I know it sounds bizarre, but though I’ve finally cracked the code of the YCC salad matrix and stopped trying to open the Branford trick gates, I’ve sort of grown to miss that period of time at the beginning of the year when it was absolutely acceptable to sit down at a table without knowing anyone. Friends are the flowers in the garden of life, so the saying goes, but how do you plant the seeds of new friendships in the dead of winter with the permafrost of last semester’s friends surrounding you?

I’m stuck in this awkward position where I sit down with my friends — who, let’s be honest, I’m so glad I have — and awkwardly ogle, or worse, make eye contact with, my assorted friend-crushes.

It’s terrible. I feel like if they just knew me, we would really, truly get along. She’s got a pile of sweet potato fries, and I’ve got a pile of sweet potato fries (but neither of us has ketchup!). We have so much in common. But I just don’t know how to make the first move.

Fortunately for you, dear reader, I’ve been experimenting with various techniques for emerging from the friend-making slump that sets in second semester.

The first, and perhaps most obvious, option is Greek life. Go join a group of people who want to be friends! Or, at least, a group of people who may want to be your friend after you’ve gotten your girl-flirt (or bro-flirt) on with them. Unfortunately, this option has now closed, and if you’re like me, you didn’t make it to a single rush event, and if you’re unlike me, you probably aren’t reading this but rather are awash in sisterly (or brotherly) love.

So we proceed to solid advice you probably learned in preschool: Use your words. If you want to be friends with someone, tell them. Just get it out. If, hypothetically, a girl who you’ve considered to be really cool since you saw her riding by on her bike in the first week of school happens to be in your suite sitting on your couch, you should most definitely tell her that becoming her friend was your New Year’s resolution. It could work. After this, she hypothetically might wave at you a little more frequently and also occasionally suggest that you should get a meal “sometime.” Hypothetically.

Next, the dating game. There are two ways to go about this. The first is more straightforward: Set your friend-crush up with a friend or a suitemate and try to lure them into your social orbit. The second version requires a little bit more ingenuity, but may yield better results. Allow me to present the Fake Double Date. It works as such: You and your “date” pick two people who you may or may not think will actually want to date, but who both of you want to spend time with. Lure two desired friends out to dinner with the promise of potential love. These two innocent individuals may or may not hit it off. They may be confused as to how anyone could see them together in any capacity. They definitely don’t have to know that you’re only marginally acquainted with either of them. But at this point you and your fake date have just successfully dined with two of your friend-crushes. Score.

The beginning of second semester and a new set of classes actually play to your advantage. I call it the Sticky Study Buddy. Someone in your section you want to get to know? Claim them as your study partner. Do all of your work together. Double your productivity points for course work plus friend-making.

Maybe you aren’t forward enough to tell someone straight out how much you want to be friends with them or manipulative enough to stage a dinner date, or sociable enough to work in a pair. You might then ask: What then?

Fake it till you make it. Overhear your potential friend remarking that she’s going to eat at Saybrook as she leaves lecture? (Of course you didn’t, who eats at Saybrook?) But anyway, show up at Saybrook. Stalking or coincidence — it’s really just a matter of semantics.

If all of the above fails, bribe people with food. The way to a true friend’s heart is through their stomach. Nothing rounds up potential friends like “I just made cookies.”

Or, be my friend. On Wednesdays, I wear pink.

Caroline Sydney is a freshman in Silliman College. Contact her at caroline.sydney@yale.edu .

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