Ms. Informed — Friendship edition 

Question 1: Dear Ms. Informed, it’s been hard for me to make friends at UCCS, especially ones with the same interests as me. Do you know what can help? 


It’s always tough to find your people in a new environment. You will find the people who share your interests and values, but starting off can be difficult, especially if you’re shy by nature.

If the thought of attending social events right away seems daunting, start by just looking around in the places you already go. Who sits next to you in class? Can you chat with them, maybe exchange numbers and keep each other posted on homework?

Once you have given yourself time to adjust to college and classes, it’s time to start looking for events and clubs that interest you. Are you into D&D? Gaming? Intramural sports? Art? You can find groups full of people like you on Mountain Lion Connect.

It’s the same thing every teacher and administrator says — get involved. At the same time, you don’t have to go to every event to find new people; just try looking for an event you know you would enjoy.

Also — I know everyone says this, but it doesn’t make it any less true — be yourself. When you spend time building confidence in who you are, people who share your interests will seek you out. It’s better to take time finding the people who will stick with you than make immediate friendships based on false assumptions.

All of that said, just give it time. Some people make friends right away, and some need to test the waters more. The right people will find you when both of you are ready.


Ms. Informed

Question 2: Dear Ms. Informed, my friends feel left out when I have to distance myself to do homework. How can I stop this while still getting my work done? 


This is a difficult and delicate balance. School is obviously a high priority, but we are social creatures that require connection. It can be easy to retreat into the books and let friendships slide because you feel like school is more important, but a degree is hollow when you don’t have people to cheer for you when you get it.

That said, sometimes school needs to be your top priority. If there are a couple of weeks that you need to let go of social engagements and focus on classes, that is perfectly reasonable.

Communication is key. Let your friends know what to expect during a busy period. Give your friends the opportunity to give you grace by telling them what’s on your plate. It will benefit everyone — they don’t have to worry about why you can’t hang out, and you’ll have the space you need.

If this is a common occurrence, see if you can find smaller windows of time to spend with people. If all you do is schoolwork, you will not only lose friendships, but you will lose your mind. According to Mayo Clinic, friendships “increase your sense of belonging and purpose … [and] improve your self-confidence and self-worth.” Everyone needs to connect, even if they are busy.

If, however, your friends are still upset after you have communicated how busy you are and done your best to spend whatever time and energy you have on them, they are being unfair and you can tell them so. Your time is still your time; you have to weigh the consequences of how you spend it. Good friends will understand when you need space to work.


Ms. Informed

Question 3: Dear Ms. Informed, my roommate gets mad at me when I have friends over, even if I give them notice and it’s on a weekend. What should I do? 


Ah, roommates.

First of all, it helps to be as straightforward as possible when you begin living together. Sit down and talk to your roommate as soon as you move in to find out what boundaries you both need. It will involve give and take from both of you, and it might be a good idea to write the rules down in a place where everyone can see them.

When you set those rules, discuss the question of guests. Are there specific times one or both of you need quiet? Are there specific times set aside for studying? Are there parts of the space that are private? Make it as clear as you can.

That being said, giving notice and time is certainly a respectful way to bring guests into your space, and it is still partly your space. You have the right to do what you want, if you are operating within the boundaries of your shared space.

If this is one of the first times your roommate has gotten upset, ask them about their concerns. Maybe this is a particularly difficult time for them to have lots of people around, or you could be unaware of something happening in their personal life.

If this is a frequent occurrence and your roommate is not showing any flexibility for what you want in return, it’s time for a serious talk. Set aside time to sit down and tell them respectfully and clearly what your frustrations are. Try to stay calm and cool — pettiness and yelling are not helpful.

If they continue to block out your point of view, start looking for different living arrangements. Living with someone means compromise, but if one or both of you are unable to compromise, maybe you shouldn’t be living together. Leave when you can.


Ms. Informed

Graphic by Neako Hallisey.