Don’t wait to initiate

By Julianne Fullerton | Copy Editor

Intentionality in friendships can be hard, especially when we have a million things to do and places to be. Finding the time to hang out with someone or even reach out in the first place might sound easy to some but stressful to others. We often wait for someone else to make the first move. But why wait to initiate?

We all have those friends or acquaintances in our lives who say, “I’ll text you!” or “We should catch up sometime!” but never actually follow up or reach out. While some people may forget those words were ever said, if you’re anything like me, you might remember when people forget to reach out. Whether the motive behind these phrases was genuine or not, it brings up an important point: Be intentional, and initiate with friends you care about. Empty words or words with no action behind them don’t sustain friendships.

The understated busyness of college doesn’t escape me. I get it. Every college student is busy. We have a consistent flow of obligations and a Google calendar that is packed to the max, with our priorities constantly shifting from week to week. But in order to foster and maintain good relationships, you have to be intentional and reach out to people, which sometimes means making the first move.

Simply texting someone, “We should catch up this week,” might mean a lot more to them than you would ever think. I often get responses like, “Thanks so much for thinking of me!” or “I was just about to reach out!” or “This was long overdue.” Chances are, they could have been waiting for you to reach out in the same way you wait around for people to reach out to you.

You might have the excuse, “If they really wanted to hang out with me, they would,” and while this is true, with the craziness of the fall semester, it’s very easy for reaching out to people to slip our minds. It’s almost October, and there are still people I haven’t caught up with since summer. So, give yourself grace in moments like these. You can’t reach out to everyone.

The longer you procrastinate reaching out to someone, the longer it’s going to take to make that friendship grow, especially if it’s a new friendship. For freshmen, this is especially important. Did you meet someone last week you want to get to know better? Don’t be afraid to reach out to them — even to those upperclassmen who might seem scary. You’re in the one season of your life where everything is new to everyone. Asking someone to get lunch is not a big ask, and who knows, maybe you’ll find a close friend.

Don’t let the fear of rejection be an underlying worry. Continue trying to be intentional. If reaching out to people is overwhelming, take it one week at a time. Look at your schedule for the upcoming week during the weekend and see if you have extra time, or simply invite someone into your weekly routine. You already eat, study and exercise on a weekly basis, so why not invite someone to grab a meal, study at Pinewood or go for a walk together when it’s cooler in the evenings? The more intentional you are with friendships, the more they will flourish.

Not to mention, for your friends whose love language is quality time, reaching out will mean the world to them. I know it makes my day when someone reaches out to me. Who wouldn’t want to be seen as a friend who is marked by intentionality?

All I’m saying is don’t wait to initiate. Text that person today. Otherwise, the semester might be over before you know it.