How To Create A Social Identity And Not A Social Reputation

By Charlotte Gibson on October 17, 2013

Recently, I discovered that there is a fine line between being the life of the party and “that” girl or boy. As a senior, I feel like I should have fully comprehended this division early on in my college career. However, I was never fully aware of this division until I was old enough to go out to the bars and clubs in my college town and observed myself, my friends, and my peers in multiple different social, college settings.  Despite my lack of partying these days, I now understand why it is important to be a socialite (or life of the party for lack of better words) than being deemed “that” girl or boy with a reputation worse than Miley Cyrus’s VMA performance.

Whether at a house party or a local college bar, people are judging you, but most importantly you will be judging yourself the next day (and maybe a few more days after that). So why not use this “judgment” to your advantage and showcase yourself in the best light possible? In order to cross this line between social identity and social reputation, there are a few simple and underrated steps that could be crucial to defining yourself in college. Just remember that each step is not a commandment or rule but a mere suggestion that is the result of observing and researching myself, my friends, and my peers in social settings throughout my time in college.

1) Go Out With The Right Group Of People

In order to have a great night, you have to surround yourself with the right group of people. In many cases, those people are your friends that you trust and enjoy being around. As a result, when you are surrounded with the right kinds of people catered to your needs and desires, your weekends will make for a much more enjoyable and carefree time. Not to mention, a night with friends is a surefire way to create everlasting college memories that are irreplaceable.

2) Don’t Feel Pressured To Drink

Since we were old enough to stay out past 11pm, we have been told to avoid “peer pressure” and learn how to say “no.” And yet, even after all of those lectures and rants from our parents, teachers, guardians, etc., we still get stuck in situations that can become “pressured” in a matter of seconds. It could be as simple as feeling like you will be left out if you don’t play the drinking game or take the tequila shot at the bar, but in the end, the only person that knows your drinking limits is yourself, and you are the only person that can say no and listen. In a social setting, it can be easy to feel swayed to have one more drink with friends before calling it a night, but sometimes that last drink can be your lasting impression and in many cases, that lasting impression is the only impression that sticks. By avoiding peer pressure, you are avoiding regret, bad reputations, and self-guilt. But most importantly, you are becoming your own person and not following everyone else just because of the “buzz” that it will cause.

3) Stay With Your Friends

It’s the end of the night and you are drifting between staying out with the new group of people you met or going home with your friends – we have all been in this situation and it can be the most difficult decision of the night. However, it doesn’t have to be! Just like avoiding peer pressure, you can avoid leaving your friends by simply staying with your friends. If the people that you just met are really that cool, they will still be cool the next day or weekend. So the simplest solution is to get their numbers and make the connections and then say goodnight and leave with your friends. By doing so, you avoid bad decisions that could come with leaving people you know and trust for people who are ultimately complete strangers.

4) Know When To Call It Quits

This step will be easy if you know how to follow steps number two and three. My mom and grandma always said nothing good happens after 2am. Now I know that sounds like a bizarre mom/grandma quote, but both knew what they were talking about and we should all take note.  Sometimes by the end of the night, it is easy to feel like if you go home you will miss out on more fun and you will just go back to a lonely bed with no friends. However, that is not the case at all. Knowing when to leave a party, bar, or club is a crucial step in categorizing yourself as the life of the party or “that” person who never leaves without regretting it. The longer you linger, the longer people will judge you, and in many cases, the judgment only gets worse after 2am.

5) Be Yourself

Above all, in order to create your own “social” identity in college, you must be yourself! No matter if you are at a house party or bar, being yourself is the most important step in ANY college setting. Steps 1-4 categorize how you should act in a social, college setting; however, this step outlines how you should act in any setting so that you are always being judged honestly and truthfully by yourself and others. Whether you have always wanted to be the “socialite” or you are happy being “that” girl or boy, being yourself is the key to being happy with your social life in college. Every weekend may present a different obstacle or social challenge, but as long as you are yourself, you can be assured that you will be happy when it is all said and done.

 

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