DEAR AMY: My daughter just started college. While in high school she had some friends, but she never seemed to get very close to them or trust them very much. She has a boyfriend, and they are very close, but now that she’s in college she lives four and half hours away from him and us. She was bullied in middle school, which I think is the main reason she has trouble socializing. She’s a very beautiful girl and has always dreamed of going to college, living in a dorm, joining a sorority and making lots of friends. Basically, she wants to start over. She did the sorority rush and was accepted by five sororities, then she was eliminated one by one. The sorority that ultimately picked her is one she doesn’t like. She has a few days to decide if she wants to stay in or get out. If she gets out, she has to wait until next fall to rush again, but she is afraid that she might not get picked at all. If she stays in, she can never rush again. She thinks that without being in a sorority, she won’t make friends. We’ve gone over all her pros and cons, and every time I think she’s figured it out she jumps back a step and gets very upset again. Can you give me some motherly and professional advice? I can’t stand to see her hurting so badly.
DEAR RUSH: College presents a wonderful opportunity for your daughter to re-narrate her story and get a start fresh.
But, here’s the thing: Wherever you go in life, there YOU are, carrying the same insecurities and personal challenges you’ve always had.
Your daughter will not truly start fresh until she is able to shed some of her trust issues and insecurities. She also needs the spine to handle uncertainty and rejection.
Her choice now reveals an unfortunate negative lesson from her middle school experience: She is prejudging these organizations and the women in them based on almost no information.
This system of rushing and rejecting is tailor-made to make your daughter feel worse about herself. College should be about expanding one’s views, not shrinking them to fit into a narrow mold.
Because this dynamic is already causing her so much angst, I’d discourage her from the whole sorority merry-go-round. There are countless other ways to meet and make friends in college. Otherwise, I would urge her to accept the invitation she’s been offered, but only if she can shake this sensation of feeling like a loser at the same time she is being offered the prize of inclusion.
I would also — very seriously — encourage her to visit the campus counseling center.
DEAR AMY: I’ve been seeing a man for over a year. He was single for 15 years before we started dating. The problem is that he keeps contacting women that he dated before we got together. He comments on their Facebook pictures, telling them how gorgeous they are. He also sends invitations to them to go places where he and I are going. I don’t know if I’m overreacting; he says he loves me but keeps adding women he doesn’t even know personally to his Facebook list. Every time I say something he gets defensive and starts a fight, saying I’m jealous. I know I’m jealous, but a lot of them are women he had an interest in at some point (and obviously still does). What should I do?
DEAR GRAPEVINE GIRL: Facebook friendships needn’t be a deal-breaker.
If your guy is so active on Facebook, has he changed his status to “In a relationship”? Does he post photos of the two of you, tag you, comment, or loop you into these connections in a way that is inclusive?
If he doesn’t include you, then — yes — there is a likelihood that he trolls for (and greatly enjoys) these glancing virtual connections. Some partners might find this harmless and tolerable. You (obviously) don’t, and he has no intention of altering his behavior, and so — yes — you should probably move on.
DEAR AMY: I think you omitted a recommendation in your advice from “Daughter at a Loss,” the woman overwhelmed by the need to care for her elderly and abusive parents. Please recommend that she hire a gerontology case manager. This could bring her a great deal of much-needed relief.
DEAR ROZ: Great recommendation. Thank you.