DEAR AMY: I just started college and I’m living in a dorm for the first time in my life. This has exacerbated a problem that I’ve had my whole life. I’m not sure if I’m antisocial or asocial (or what), but I have a hard time making friends. I came to college with a group of friends from high school. I like all of them, but I’ve always felt like I am on the periphery. In high school, it was OK, because I had one close friend outside of the group, but she went to a different college on the other side of the country. Here at school I feel like I have no real friends; no one ever objects to my joining in their plans, but I’m never invited to join in without my asking. At home I was happy to be a bit of a loner, but suddenly I’m feeling internal pressure to spend more time being social and outgoing. I’ve only been here for a week, but already I’m having a hard time. Any advice?
Lonely in the Dorm
DEAR LONELY: I’d like to challenge a couple of your assertions.
First of all, you can make friends. You report that you have one close friend, and others you describe as “friends” from high school.
So, you actually have a track record of making friends.
You may think that the norm is to have more than one very close friend, but I don’t think that’s quite accurate. Many people have only one best friend — and one close and intimate friend is all most of us need. Your relationships will probably always fall into concentric rings, with very few people sharing the center with you.
Secondly, you need to realize that you are surrounded by people who are feeling just as you are now. The first month of college is socially more challenging and frightening than the first day of kindergarten.
And, just like in kindergarten, you are feeling anxious, awkward and isolated. This is a time to be very gentle with yourself as you tiptoe toward and away from relationships.
As classes start, a routine will emerge. You will be more occupied with your studies. You will gradually get to know others in your classes, cafeteria, library and dorm. You will also have the opportunity to join clubs and activities. Staying busy will help you to weather this awkwardness, and will put you in proximity to others without the pressure to be purely social.
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to behave as you see others behaving. Share your feelings and frustrations with your bestie from home; she might be feeling the same way.
If you find yourself feeling depressed, worried or too isolated, visit the campus health center and ask to speak with a counselor.
DEAR AMY: How do I tell the man in my life that his huge muffin top is a turn off for me? He is more than plump, Amy, he is obese. He blames his diabetes on the fact that he cannot satisfy me sexually, but I maintain that it is his obesity that is the reason he has diabetes. I do not want to insult him or cause him any embarrassment, but I need to get across to him that he has to lose at least 30 to 40 pounds. Even his daughter gives him grief about his weight. Please tell me how to talk to him without hurting his feelings.
DEAR DIABETES: Don’t shame him because of his weight, but do get him to a doctor. He needs to fully understand the relationship between his weight and diabetes. And yes, diabetes can cause impotence.
A fitness tracker might provide some motivation for him to get more exercise, which will be good for his circulation. Start walking together each day.
With help from a nutritionist and encouragement from you, he can start to eat better, move more and improve his health dramatically.
DEAR AMY: I’m afraid you got had by the person (“Pokémon Went”) who wrote the letter about being left out while her partner played Pokémon Go. In the letter, she uses lots of Pokémon Go terminology, which made me realize it was a goof.
DEAR ALERT: Many readers picked up on this. Thank you! I thought the letter was cleverly describing a common phenomenon. I agree it was possibly a goof, but I don’t regret running it.