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OPINION: Forget defining the relationship, I am in desperate need of defining the friendship

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Sofia Moraga | The Daily Wildcat

University of Arizona students walking around campus while wearing masks in April 2021.

It’s hard to know where you stand with someone when there's only a 50/50 chance they remember ever meeting you. 

We aren’t allowing ourselves to make connections with the people around us because of some middle school manifesto of wanting to appear better and cooler than everyone else. We often sit next to the same people in class everyday and don’t bother to ever learn their name. I mean, I’ve had multiple conversations with the same people but neither of us ever actually introduced ourselves. 

On such a big campus, it’s easy to play into the idea that if you see them once you’ll never see them again. This has translated easily into relieving ourselves of the obligation to remember people’s names. Even acknowledging someone you previously met isn’t something common among the masses. 

Due to this, I’ve been conditioned to reintroduce myself to everyone I meet to avoid this awkward situation. 

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I blame this on the culture of college, where you are often exposed to the most people. Out at parties it’s easy to blame the laziness of learning someone’s name on being too inebriated to remember who you met, but when you’re sitting next to someone in class and you can’t remember their name, are you the asshole or are you just being influenced by the culture of college?

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No one wants to be the one who remembers someone that doesn’t remember meeting them. It’s a fear many hold. I still feel a sense of awkwardness on whether to say hi to someone I met out the night before when I see them walking on campus. Do I just pretend I don’t remember them?

It’s a friendship one-night stand. I have had the best conversations with people I meet out and when I’ve seen them after the fact, we both pretend it never happened. 

But when someone does try to register they know you, it often starts with a guessing game on where you could’ve possibly crossed paths. 

While I despise it, the phrase “you look familiar, did we have a class together," works wonders. While I discourage this as a pickup line (please be more creative) it’s a great conversation starter.

This actually happened to me on Thursday night when this guy told me I looked super familiar and asked where he knew me from. Knowing I was writing this article, I found myself wondering if he said that because he actually didn’t know where he knew me from or if he did and just didn’t want to be the first one to say we know each other. I ended up asking him this and he claimed that when you meet everyone when you’re drunk, it's hard to place where you know them from. We met on a Zoom meeting in the middle of the day. 

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That’s exactly what I’m talking about. We are relieved of this pressure to put names to faces, but are we actually freeing ourselves from this social construct or are we creating a new one? 

And some people are bad with names. I can fully claim I do not remember the names of everyone I see throughout the day, but I don’t go to the extent of ignoring them completely.

This whole idea of neglecting to remember someone plays a parallel role to the aspect of the different types of friends you have in college. There are people you meet up with when you’re out, people you sit with in class and people you know from various clubs and organizations on campus. While these are all areas that can overlap, it's not often that we may invite the person we’ve been sitting next to in class to our pregame. And has it happened? Sure, but that plays into the exception rather than the rule.

We are preventing ourselves from developing these relationships further by assuming a multitude of people aren’t in the same boat as we are. Your friend from class is most likely more than willing to hang out with you outside of class but possibly doesn’t want to extend the invite because you haven’t either. 


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Maggie Landon (she/her) is a finance major at the University of Arizona. She loves to read and vibe with her cat Rizzo.


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UA COVID-19 Test Tracker

Daily (12/4)
744 14 1.9%
Total (8/2)
64,794 1,040 1.6%
Includes tests since August 2, 2021
Data from https://covid19.arizona.edu/updates
Updated December 5, 2021