Friendliness not top priority for CSUN students

Mirie Wiesenberg

Special to the Daily Sundial

It’s 7:45 and I’m fifteen minutes early for my first class. How do I look? Smart? Conscientious? Probably I’ll get inside the door and everybody will be there already, I should have come earlier. I open the classroom door and find that nobody is inside, not a soul. Is this the right class? My schedule says this is the right room, but I didn’t think I was so early. Five minutes later another girl walks in. “Hi, I’m Mirie. What’s your name?” I ask. The girl replies with a mumble. “I’m sorry, what’s your name? I didn’t catch it,” I say. She responds again, now with a mumble and a dirty look. I give up.

As the clock ticks closer to eight more people trickle in, all with blank faces. The classroom is completely silent. As I try to make conversation with the guy next to me, the entire class turns in my direction with cold stares. Stares that say, “Shut up. It’s 8 a.m., my mom dragged me out of bed and all I want to do is gaze at the chalkboard and promptly fall asleep as soon as the professor starts lecturing.” Maybe people will be friendlier in my 9 a.m. class.

I walk into my next class to be greeted by thirty pairs of eyes dully looking straight ahead. Some listening to their iPods, others just looking transfixed at something – I’m not sure what. I take a seat and make an attempt at conversation with the person sitting behind me. She introduces herself as Katie. She then looks for approval to her two sorority sisters seated nearby. They look at each other, sneer and look away. OK, I get the message. Does it boost your self-esteem to think you are too good for me?

Later as I walk down the hall, I notice a girl sitting on the floor crying. “Hey, are you all right?” I ask. She looks up with a shocked expression. “Is there anything I can do? Can I bring you a tissue?” She declines abruptly, annoyed that anyone would stop and try to offer her assistance.

This often unfriendly atmosphere at CSUN is strange. Is the problem that we all have crazy social lives with no room to meet someone new and interesting? Are we all so terribly busy with schoolwork and family that we can’t have a little chat with the so-called strangers sitting near us in our classes? Are we all so involved with our current friends we can’t be friendly to our classmates?

Maybe it is something else. Perhaps we’re afraid to step out of our comfort zones. Maybe we are afraid about what the other person will think, what he will do, or what she will say. Perhaps we all think the person next to us has more friends, can have more fun and just has a better social life then us. Well maybe they do, but who cares? Is there a limit to how many friends a person should or shouldn’t have? Or forget about friends, how about just being friendly? No pressure, you do not have to marry the girl or guy you talked to in psychology class.

So remember when sitting in class feeling alone and friendless, probably the person sitting in the next seat is feeling the same. Let’s break the ice.