When I first received the invitation to join my sorority, I was ecstatic. The sense of excitement rushed through my body as I thought of what my line jacket would say, how proud I would feel waving my sign in the air, and how great it would be to have an indescribable bond with my sorority sisters. After crossing the burning sands….reality hit. As I began to cope with the dynamics of Greek Life relationships, I realized a few things:
1) DON’T FEEL GUILTY ABOUT NOT CLICKING WITH EVERYONE IMMEDIATELY
This is what we fail to acknowledge when we’re initiated into Greek life: as a new member, we are thrown into an organization with people we don’t know. We’re forced to bond with strangers based on a series of trying events. And at the end of our journey, we are lead to believe that we’ll instantly form an unshakable connection with everyone in our new found family.
After crossing, I became very aware that I didn’t have deep connections with everyone on my line and in my chapter like I thought I would. I began to feel guilty. Maybe I wasn’t sisterly enough. Maybe I wasn’t as outgoing as I needed to be. And then it dawned on me: It can be difficult to form intimate relationships with various people all at one time. Depending on the person, it will take time to move from stranger, to acquaintance, to friend, to “family”. Not everyone will make it through all stages. And that’s fine. I had to let each individual relationship evolve on its own.
2) ACCEPT THE RELATIONSHIP FOR WHAT IT IS
You can’t force chemistry. You have to let it develop naturally and accept the relationship for what it is, not what you want it to be. You’re going to gravitate towards some people faster than others. For other members, it might take a little more time for you to warm up to them. And some relationships won’t progress at all. Either way, whatever stage of friendship you currently find yourself in, let it develop on its own. If it works, it works. If it doesn’t, don’t sweat it. You’re not made for everyone and everyone isn’t made for you. Think of it like family. There are some family members you have dynamic relationships with. They’re the first people you call when any major life event occurs. They’re a part of all your epic stories. With others, you give them a polite church hug or head nod when you see them at a family function. At the end of the day, you’re all family and that’s what matters. Accept the relationship for what it is. If it is meant to evolve, it will.
3) NURTURE THE RELATIONSHIPS THAT ARE GROWING
To help foster the relationships that are progressing, here’s how to keep the fire burning:
- Align your behavior, values and interest with members that compliment you as a person.
- Try hanging out in environments outside of Greek life. Seeing them in another light can help form a different and deeper relationship.
- Show support in their other endeavors. Challenge them to be the best person they can be.
- Respect their relationship with other members. Even though you might not care for someone doesn’t mean you have the right to jeopardize their relationship with someone else.
- Define, clarify and practice the best form of communication that works for you and that person. Being on the same page will help you create a more valuable friendship.
- Whether it is emotional, physical, mental or spiritual, make sure you know each others boundaries.
- Show appreciate toward each other.
Throughout it all, continue to be yourself. Those who want to befriend you and get to know you…will befriend and get to know you. Point blank.