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Hello sweeties!

Auntie J back with a bang for your Week Ten dose of love. And, with finals just around the corner, this week’s question keeps it short and sweet;

How do you make meaningful relationships (whether platonic or romantic) while at Princeton?

I’ll be entirely honest: I think this is a daily struggle for the vast majority of us here whether freshman or senior, athlete or artist. Even for Auntie J (who is, of course, a self-proclaimed god), striking up friendships that go past the ‘Oh my god, we should grab a meal together sometime!’ façade is very much a waiting game. That’s the first thing you have to understand: these things take so much time to get to a point where you feel comfortable being your true self around the other person. There’s this really interesting idea of ‘quantity time’ too, during which even time spent around each other doing pretty menial stuff like homework or catching a quiet meal still goes towards building that rapport. So, my first call would be to make sure you’re spending a decent amount of time with the people you’re interested in getting closer to. Even if it’s just walking over to get late meal before parting ways to study, most of the people I know are not just happy to do things with me, but are even grateful for the attention and effort you put in (by the way, if anyone has figured out who I am yet, let’s grab a meal sometime).

That’s a start, but not quite enough. Once you’ve spent enough time together and become somewhat acquainted, the jump to confidante and close friend is a much larger leap to make. Even by the end of freshman year, it’s totally normal to feel like you’ve not made that many extremely close friends, if any at all. But, then again, there are definitely things you can do to start that process. For one, be yourself. As many of Auntie J’s closest friends can attest, despite appearing normal on the outside, Auntie is one of the weirdest, quirkiest people you ever could meet (I prefer misunderstood). If you’re at the point where you feel comfortable in each other’s company, it’s totally fine to be a little quirky and show your true colors. At the end of the day, if you can show the other person that you’re happy to be comfortable in their presence, they’re much more likely to feel like you’re a person they can trust. Don’t be afraid to be honest, either; if they ask you how your day has gone, be honest that your math quiz didn’t go quite as well as you’d hoped, or mention that you’re a little worried about finals coming up. On the other foot, be engaged and empathetic when they bring up problems of their own. Showing that you’re a real, imperfect human who looks out for their nearest and dearest is a sure-fire way of demonstrating that you’re close-friend material.

Don’t forget, my baby tigers: if you have any questions about life, love, relationships, school, or anything in between, go ask Auntie J at bit.ly/askauntiej!

And remember,

Auntie J loves you all!

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