Maybe sororities have it right after all…

I remember the first time I asked someone how much her semester sorority dues were.  The price tag dwarfed my combined semester budget for food and activities of all kinds.

I was dumbfounded.  All of that, just to belong to a group of ditsy blond fakes?

That might be a bit harsh, considering the fact that many sorority ladies are not blond, are very intelligent and successful, and are genuine to the core – but it was the stereotype I decided to maintain.  There is nothing like poverty and a teensy bit of jealousy to make for snide and unmerited critiques.  After all, I had gone to the opening night of Rush Week to check a few out, and had been pleasantly surprised with the variety of hopefuls and members, the wide range of club interests, and the overall difference between reality and the movies.  Still, on the whole, I felt considerably less fashionable and less primped than my sorority sister acquaintances.

In retrospect, I know I also felt considerably less connected, involved, and supported than my sorority-member counterparts. I had an excellent group of friends in college, but they had a wide range of interests and I met them through tons of different activities, making it difficult to get everyone together for a single event.  Dappling in different groups made for a nice variety of options overall, but perhaps too many separate groups to get really close to anyone in particular.

I used to sort of look down on people who joined sororities as a way of instantly making friends, but now I realize it wasn’t about “paying” for friends.  The number and type of activities sororities sponsor in any given month allows for tons of social time to develop close friendships with people you come to really care about.

I realize now that it was about having a network available for forming friendships, with built-in activities, volunteer opportunities, and a great excuse to spend quality time with like-minded women.  No more sorority-knocking comments will hereafter pass my lips (or keyboard).

I’m on a mission to meet new people, make new friends, and enrich my life.  No judgmental nonsense from me anymore about the best way to do that!


The check-out lady doesn’t count

Clarification: small talk with people who are

a. serving you coffee

b. handing you change from a purchase

c. only interacting with you because they’re being paid

does not count as an attempt at making friends or truly striking up conversation out of the blue.

I came to this conclusion after I realized that, despite feeling like I had chatted with a few ladies while I was out and about, if those particular ladies hadn’t answered me they wouldn’t have been doing their jobs. Does that make me lame? It’s reminiscent of all of those adolescent movies where someone thinks they have a new friend but the “friend” is really being paid or is only being friendly because of a dare or a bet. Enter “She’s All That” and “Richie Rich.”

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that these interactions don’t have any potential for forming friendships, but I feel like it’s harder to gauge the friendship potential when one of the parties is on the clock!  Of course, these conversations can be satisfying, fun, and mutually rewarding – and they are also great practice for starting friendly conversations with others (who can take the time to share their email or phone without getting in trouble!).

I wish I was still in that stage of life where I could join a sorority and buy friends.

In other words: progress on the Friendship Meter is nil.