My number one goal when I moved away to college was to make new friends. I was moving away from all but one of my high school friends, so I knew that I needed to meet some new people. I arrived at Washington State University a week before classes started, which is known as “Week of Welcome”. There were a lot of events going on, and I wanted to have some time to move into my dorm, so I thought giving myself a week to adjust and get involved would be a good idea.
The first efforts I made to make friends started with some people I had met at orientation and at a summer camp I had gone to a year prior. The school was showing a movie on top of the library, so I went with my high-school friend and my brother and we met up with them. It was pretty fun, but I could tell that their group was pretty tight so I didn’t really make more effort to hang out with them. The next day, I tried to hang out with my roommate. She introduced me to a guy she knew from high school, and he and I clicked pretty well and are still friends to this day. My roommate, however, had already made some closer friends. While she would hang out with me from time to time, it didn’t really work out.
About mid-way through the week, one of the local stores (similar to a Kohl’s or Target, but without the grocery section) was having a massive sale that was advertised to all the college students moving to town. A huge group of people who lived in my dorm were all planning to go to the sale, and asked me if I wanted to come along. I didn’t really need to buy anything, and also felt awkward about going in such a huge group of strangers, so I made some excuses and said I wouldn’t go. As I was walking back to my room and that group was leaving for the sale, my roommate walked by with two other people. She said they were going to the sale and asked me if I wanted to go with them. For some reason, I felt like I really shouldn’t say no this time, so I agreed to go.
As we left the building, she introduced me to her friends. One of them was a girl she had just met on a school website geared towards helping people make friends, and the other one was a guy she had known since high school. Now I’m not going to lie, one of the reasons I decided to go with them was because I thought this guy was really cute. I thought at the very least that maybe he and I could end up being friends.
We went to the sale and had a lot of fun, but all I focused on the whole time was trying to learn more about this guy. His name was Matthew, and he was involved in martial arts and seemed very interested in video games. He was also very sarcastic and had been teasing me about how quiet and shy I was. As cheesy as it sounds, I already liked him a lot and knew that I wanted to spend more time with him.
Matthew would come by my room from time to time to hang out with my roommate, and he and I would usually spend some time talking too. If my roommate had to leave to do something or wanted to hang out with other friends, Matthew and I would play video games together or watch movies. We pretty much instantly became best friends. About a week after meeting him, he invited me to hang out at his apartment where we stayed up until 6am playing video games and talking. He had quickly become the best friend I had ever had.
Not far into the semester, my roommate casually mentioned to me that she and Matthew used to date in high school. In fact, they had been together for nearly 2 years. Though she made it sound like she was totally over him, I internally decided that I wouldn’t even try to date him. I didn’t want to be “that roommate”, so I tried to compartmentalize my feelings and try not to expect anything more than friendship from him. This was also made easier for me when the two of them got back together after about two weeks of knowing them. Matthew seemed really happy, which in turn made me happy, so it was all good.
In the months that followed, Matthew and I continued to hang out every day. I tried to hide my feelings for him, but I later learned that I was about as subtle as a gun (which is very embarrassing to think about). He and I just clicked so well, and I felt like I could truly be myself around him. At the same time, his relationship with my roommate was not going super well. It seemed that they were growing apart, and eventually they decided to break up with each other.
While I was secretly excited to hear this news, Matthew was upset about how things had ended up with her, so I didn’t dare try to turn our friendship into anything more. I decided to keep our relationship the same as it was, and if he wanted to make any sort of move with me then he would do so if he was ready and if he felt that way.
A little while after his breakup, Matthew and I were watching Netflix together when he asked me if I wanted to get coffee with him the next day. I said sure, not really thinking anything of it. Later that night after he had gone home, he texted me and told me that he wanted to clarify that he wanted our coffee outing to be a date. I said that sounded nice, and unbeknownst to him, I started to cry. Not only had I been secretly hoping that he would feel the same way about me, but I had never been asked out by anyone before. It felt really great to feel wanted, and I was thrilled that he and I would be going on a date.
The next day, he picked me up and we drove into town. We were trying to decide where to get coffee, and as we drove by an ice cream shop I mentioned that I really loved ice cream. So our plans changed and we got ice cream instead. Later we went back to my dorm and watched some more Netflix. All the while, even though we both knew it was a date, nothing felt different than it ever had between us. There was no awkwardness or jitters, because we were so comfortable with each other that it all just felt natural.
That same night we decided to walk to the little market by my dorm to get some food for dinner. As we were walking, I felt him grab my arm, and I turned around and he kissed me. And it was pretty awful, since I had never been kissed before and was also super surprised (I still cringe to death whenever I think about it). As we kept walking I asked him what that was for, and he said that he had just been wanting to do it for a while.
So that’s the story of how I met my boyfriend. I always feel cheesy talking about it, but I really feel like he was the reason why I decided to go to Washington State University, since I spent most of my life swearing I would never go to school there. I believe that fate brought us together in a way, because I could not have met someone more perfect for me. We have helped each other through a lot, and he always maintains a lighthearted attitude and always lets me be myself unapologetically.
I want everyone out there (if you’ve even read this far, this has been such a long post!) to know that there is hope for you. I spent a lot of time in high school wishing that someone would show interest in me or ask me out, and no one ever did. I was worried that maybe I’d never find someone, or that I would have to settle for a love that was just okay. What I ended up with could not be further from that low expectation. I have found more than I ever expected was possible for me, and I know that there is someone special waiting out there for everyone who wants it.