Ask Aunt Helga

Dear Aunt Helga,
I moved to the area last fall from Texas. I’ve found it very difficult to make new friends. Many groups of students attending classes seem to know each other, or have some background together from attending the same high school. I used to be able to make friends easily, but with this change, I’ve found it a lot more difficult to find things I have in common with people around me. What should I do?

— Crossing Texas Borders

Mein der Verlorene (my lost one),

First of all, have you been to the Hawk’s Nest in Building 4? That’s where a lot of Student Life events and Club and organization meetings take place.

In addition, there are seating areas, ping pong tables, and foosball tables that are pretty popular throughout the day.

Talk to Tiffany Hamilton in the Student Life office about existing clubs, or how to start something new to bring groups of students together who are also having difficulty making friends in a new environment.

Put together your acquaintances and see what you all have in common, then start a group based on that common factor.

Perhaps you could try to join a group “out of the box” – something you are not used to. You will meet new people, learn something new, and maybe teach them something new. Don’t worry about finding the ideal circumstance.

But remember, if you live a full life, are honest, kind, and respectful, making friends will be a natural “side effect” that will require little effort.
Make a habit of getting contact info from new people you meet. Force yourself out of your normal routine.

Try volunteering. Do a hobby out in public like drawing or playing an instrument. People will be interested and strike up a conversation.

Dear Aunt Helga,

I have a bit of a muddle. My best friend is dating this guy I hate. I’m worried about her dating him, since he seems controlling and easily made jealous. I’ve told her about my concern but she didn’t seem to listen. They’ve dated for a little over a year, and I had a bad experience with him a couple of months into their relationship. What do I do? I want what’s best for her. Do I pretend I’m okay with him when I’m forced to be around him? Avoid him at all costs?

–Worried & Wondering

Mein Liebchen,

The first step you’ve already done, stating your opinion about him and his controlling nature. View yourself in your friends’ shoes. Is it just looks she’s interested in, or is there an actual working relationship between them? If you are not careful, you could alienate your friend and perhaps loose the solid friendship that is important to you.

Keep in mind, liebchen, you are not ‘forced’ to be around him. You feel that way because you want to be around your friend.  You don’t have to avoid him either. Repeat your concerns to your friend in a nice way. If need be, you can care about your friend from afar, texting, staying in touch, to make sure she is okay. Hopefully things will get better.

Be true to your friend. Don’t pretend. If the experience you had with him was that bad, your friend needs to know in detail what happened and how much it bothers you. But ultimately, it is her choice whether or not to stay with him.

Are you misinterpreting him? What you call controlling may, to him, be assertive and confident. However, if he’s being abusive, you need to be more proactive in talking to your friend. Step back and reevaluate the circumstance.

Aunt Helga received a Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree at Augustana College before entering the military in the Army Medical Corp. While working as a Medic for the army, she studied to earn her Masters Degree in Social Work. Though she never had children of her own, Troops went to her often for advice, and many times called her MOM, (motivator of many). Helga is American born, but traveled frequently to Germany where her mothers family is from. This instilled a love of travel, which has taken her to places all over the world. Now that she is retired, she volunteers, working mostly with families of soldiers who are deployed.

If you have a question for Aunt Helga, send it to her in care of the Chieftain by email at or stop by the Chieftain office and put your question in the box outside the office in building 4, room 116.  Questions can also be submitted on the Chieftain facebook and twitter accounts.