Student has friendship fears

Dear Annie: I’m heading to college next year and am scared of making new friends. While I don’t have trouble talking to new people or getting along with most of them, I feel like none of them will understand my weirdness the same way my high school friends do.

My parents and I moved here from a different country, and my group feels like my family because they are the ones who taught me American mannerisms and accept me for my neuroticism and other quirks. I even talked about the fact that it took me a week to learn what “knock on wood” meant in my college essays! While I know that we will still remain friends after we are spread out across the country, it obviously won’t be the same, and I know it is unhealthy to latch onto old friendships and hold them in the same regard as they were before.

How do I find a comparable group of people in college? I don’t want to go through the same thing I did in the beginning of high school, where I bounced around groups for a year before I found my “people.” — Freshman Once Again

Dear Freshman Once Again: Your concerns are understandable. Just like you found your “people” in high school, I have no doubt that you will find them again. Now that you know what you are looking for, and because you are older and wiser, new friends faster.

One of the best ways to predict future behavior is to look at past behavior, and your past looks pretty good. While you had a bit of a rough start, you were able to make great friends. Focus on your success and know that you will have more. Your neuroticism and quirks are what make you uniquely you! And anyone who is fortunate enough to be your friend will love that. If we were all the same, this world would be very boring.

As for your high school friends, some will be your friends for life and others will go their separate ways.

Dear Annie: This is in response to the woman whose husband would not go on walks with her. My husband walks every day, just like this woman. It has helped him to stay healthy. For years, he wanted me to walk with him. Once he said to me, “I don’t understand why you won’t go walking with me!” I was just as adamant that I was not going. I hate walking and find it boring.

Like her husband, I had joint pain and weight to lose. I found my own way to exercise. I bought a bike and have been an avid cyclist ever since. My joints are less painful when I ride. My mental health issues have improved, and I have lost weight.

I encourage this woman to back off the walking issue. He needs to figure out what exercise works for him. If it isn’t on his terms, he won’t do it. She might encourage him to find the best exercise for him and then support that decision.

My husband is very supportive of my cycling. He has rescued me from many downpours and flat tires. I appreciate his support greatly, and we bolster each other. — Feeling Healthy

Dear Healthy: Thank you for sharing your story, and congratulations on your newfound healthy habit. The best exercise is the one that you do, and it sounds like you found a great one! Keep cycling.

(Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com. This column is syndicated by Creators Syndicate columnists. Visit the website at www.creators.com.)