Ask Natalie: I think my friends are secretly hooking up — why won't they just tell me?

“Dear Natalie,

It's the second term of school but I still haven't made any friends (I'm a freshman). My dorm is okay, but I'm not really clicking with anyone and the clubs I've joined aren't really working out either so I'm not sure what to do.”

Don't give up hope! There's no time limit on when friendships can be made. Join other clubs you're interested in (check out The Ubyssey too!) and try to go regularly. Going constantly is how people get to know you and people getting to know you is how friendships are made!

You won't always hit a home run with friendships, but you will one day! Sometimes you just stumble into the best friendships. One of my best friends just happened to be an assigned roommate. I know it sucks now, but if you keep looking for friendships, you will find them!

Don't limit yourself to just the university either. Our campus may hold 40,000 people, but Vancouver has 600,000 more. Do something that takes you outside campus, or at least your room.

You can do it!

“Is it okay to miss a friend's birthday party if I have a lot of homework? I know it sounds shitty, but I have a lot of stuff on my plate and I can't really bring myself to go.”

You 100 per cent don't have to go. We all just can't manage everything sometimes. What's always most important is your mental health and well-being. If you're too busy or stressed to go, I'm sure your friend will understand.

One thing that you might think about though is how much going out might help with your stress. Doing the same things over and over can really grate on how much you can do. Taking a brain break can really help your studying. If it's only an hour or two, your friend's birthday party might help both your mood and the quality of your work.

Of course, if you just need to pound out an essay or some readings as a one-time, due-tomorrow, I-only-read-my-syllabus-five-minutes-ago kind of thing, then missing one party shouldn't be too much of a big deal on your friendship. Friends understand when friends need to get some shit done.

“I'm pretty sure that two of my friends are hooking up behind everyone's back. I don't really care (it's not my business who sleeps with who) but I'm a little bummed that they're hiding it from us. I think we'd all be supportive of them together if they did tell us. The only thing would be if/when they break up. It will be awkward then, but they shouldn't let the fear of the unknown future stop them, right?”

Whoa, slow down there cowboy. One reason they might not be telling you is because you seem to assume hooking up is equivalent to dating. Unless they have the “going steady” talk, they're not dating. They could have had this talk already and decided to want to keep it casual. There's nothing wrong with that, but it does make it awkward when your friends start coupling the two of you up all the time when you decided against that.

Or maybe they're just really flirty. It's happened to me a few times where people have assumed I was with someone because we were getting along so well. Maybe their friendly banter looks like flirting. Maybe they view each other as siblings.

Hell, maybe they are together and they just don't want to tell anyone for some reason. This is valid too. Maybe they will soon, but they need to figure out some things first.

Leave them be, and if or when they come to you with this piece of information, you'll know it's because they wanted to and not because someone shouted it out over sushi one night.

Friends can be lovers and lovers can be friends. Let them figure out their own stuff.

Need advice? Contact Natalie anonymously at or at and have your questions answered!