How to Go Greek Without Losing Your Independent Friends

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Greeks versus non-Greeks. It’s a rift that has existed on college campuses since the beginning of Greek letter organizations. Still, it doesn’t always have to be so black and white. I rushed my second semester of freshman year, when I’d already made a bunch of friends who had no interest in Greek life. Some of them even hated it. Going Greek felt a bit like abandoning them at first, but I figured out how to have my Greek cake and eat it, too.

Make sure the friends are worth keeping 

Sometimes in the beginning of college, people become friends due to circumstance. Maybe you’re in the same class or live on the same floor, and just happen to be friends because you see each other all the time. Before you make an effort to keep friends in your life, make sure they’re worth it. What do you talk about and do with these people? Do they seem to care about you? Are they just drinking buddies? The “correct” answers to these questions depends on the type of friendship you want, and might vary from person to person. If you decide someone isn’t the friend you thought he was, feel free to wave goodbye.

Let them know you’ll still be around

Many people assume pledges will spend all of their time consumed with the ever-growing list of menial tasks pledging entails. Bartending every party, driving brothers to the ends of the earth and back and cleaning a frat house at ungodly hours can take a toll on a friendship. Of course, you can always make time for something (or, in this case, someone) you care about. Before the process starts, make sure your friends know you’ll still hang out with them during pledging. This will give them a reason not to check out as soon as you begin going Greek.

Stick to your word

It will become tough. You will lose sleep. Sometimes pledging can be incredibly time-consuming, but even when it is, make sure you stick to your word and keep hanging out with your day-ones. Meals and workouts are great ways to do it. You might not have time for a few hours of hanging out, so simply ask your friends to lunch, or to go to the gym with you. Both ways aren’t too time consuming, and show your friends you’re still reaching out.

Don’t make your fraternity your entire life

This one is tricky, and it’s easy to fall into. When you finally finish pledging, the feeling of finally getting initiated is almost incomparable. It’s over. You don’t have to answer to anyone anymore. You’re proud of what you and your pledge brothers just accomplished together. You can be at the house whenever you want, doing whatever you want now. You’ll feel like doing a Johnny Drama-esque victory cry. Still, don’t spend all your time at the house. Now you have time to spend that whole night of hanging out with them, so do it. Of course a night of shenanigans at the house sounds tempting, but sometimes a chill night playing Xbox is just as fun.

Maintain communication

This is the final and by far most important part. Contact is key throughout this whole process, but even more so when you’re active in your fraternity. Everyone gets overwhelmed, and if you’re an active, position-holding member, you will go through periods of time when you simply don’t have time to see your friends. A simple text to see how they’re doing is all it takes; it shows you care. If they question why they haven’t seen you in a while, just explain honestly. All college students are busy — they’ll be able to relate. GroupMe is also an awesome tool. I know, you’re already in a thousand groups and those notifications never seem to end, but one more with your non-Greek group of friends could do wonders; it’ll keep you in the conversation and up to date on what everyone is doing.

Junior at Penn State studying Broadcast Journalism. Mix of typical Long Islander and wannabe country boy.

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