Editor’s Note: This blog is a little longer than normal (and we don’t even mention fraternities, sororities, Social Excellence, or recruitment by name!). We strongly recommend you check it out and share it with someone who could use help finding their “Little Me” and being a little more vulnerable, one of the four pillars of Social Excellence.
by Taylor Deer
Long overdue, Big Me and Little Me finally bump into each other in the street having lived so close to one another for almost 26 years.
Big Me: Hey! What’s up man? I’m Taylor.
Little Me: What?! No way, I’m Taylor too!
BM: Woah. We live right next to each other, how have we not hung out yet?
LM: Ah, well I kind of like to keep to myself. Not in a creepy way! I just like peace and quiet. Lately I’ve been trying to teach myself to play the pia…
BM: Peace and quiet?! Why man? Come on, let’s go out and get a drink sometime! I have a ton of friends who would love to meet you!
LM: I don’t know man, that’s not really my scene. That kind of stuff makes me feel like I’m networking rather than making friends. But still, I’d love to get a drink sometime. I know this awesome dive bar that’s super chill.
BM: Alright, cool! You know what? I’ve been meaning to reach out to you for a while, I just get distracted easily. We live so damn close that it’s just becoming weird that we don’t hang out more. Want to just go over now?
LM: Alright cool, yeah, the place I was talking about is right around the corner. It’s called Introspection… have you ever been there?
BM: Introspection? I don’t know, sounds weird. Does anyone even go there?
LM: No dude, that’s the best part. Come on, let’s go check it out. If you get too weirded out, we can leave. It’s just a place we can hang out for a bit to just chill and get to know each other.
BM: OK man, I’m trusting you here. Introspection still sounds a bit sketchy.
LM: No worries, I thought the same thing. Look we’re already here.
BM: Wait, how did we get here?
LM: Don’t worry about it. Let’s just say it’s closer than you think. What do you want to drink? I think I’m just going for a water…
BM: 10 Fireball shots!
BM: Nah, totally kidding… I joke when I’m nervous. I’m not used to sitting down one-on-one man. Why’s it so quiet in here? How come you like this place so much?
LM: It’s peaceful. No one bugs me here. There’s nothing to distract me. I don’t even drink, this place just makes me feel at home. I just think about stuff. That probably sounds weird, I know.
BM: … No dude not at all! It’s totally cool that you just come here to…. think… and stuff.
LM: Look man I get it. It’s weird, but I love it.
BM: Like, what do you think about?
LM: All kinds of stuff man. I think about what makes me happy, what makes me sad, what I want out of life. Lately I’ve been spending more time here to try and figure out who I am. It helps me sort through all the complex stuff that happens to me. Ya know?
BM: …. No
LM: Come on man, you know what I mean! Like, what did you think about “The Break Up”?
BM: What break up?
LM: …. Dude, come on, I know you’re smarter than that.
BM: I have no idea what you’re referring to.
LM: Well then, allow me to refresh your memory “Big Me”…We just fell in love with someone, like, Disney Channel, Hallmark Card, head over heels, RomCom, never-ever-thought that would happen, in love. Do you remember now?
BM: Alright, maybe a little. Now that you mention it.
LM: Right. Then they broke up with us. What did you think about that?
BM: Dude, let’s just not talk about it. Let’s just get out of here okay?
LM: No, dude. We’re here, let’s just talk about this.
BM: Why man? It’s over, its done. There’s plenty of more fish in the sea! Let’s just get back out there man! I guess it wasn’t meant to be. She didn’t know what she was missing!
LM: You’re just spouting out cliché’s now. You and I both know you don’t believe all that. Stop running away. This is your pain. This is your burning hand.
BM: Did you just quote Fight Club?
LM: Yep. Come on, stay focused though! Let’s get to it. You can’t just keep avoiding this and hope it gets better. I’ve seen you man, you’re just distracting yourself from facing this. Yeah, you can get back to the gym, yeah you can grind harder at work, yeah you can jump back into dating again, but it feels sort of empty, doesn’t it? You love the gym, but when going to the gym becomes just another way to run away from your problems, it kind of messes with you right? It’s like you’re always looking over your shoulder to see if these feelings are going to sneak up on you and grab hold of you.
BM: Fine. It hurt, alright? Can we just move on now?
LM: No dude. Why did it hurt?
BM: I’m not answering that question.
LM: …. Because you’re afraid to?
BM: No way, I’m fine!
LM: …. That’s a load of garbage. Your buddies might buy that, but I don’t. Look, it’s just you and me in here. Give it to me straight.
BM: …… Look, I’m just embarrassed.
BM: I’m embarrassed because I was naive enough to trust Love again. Like I said, “You won’t break my heart again, right?!” Love smiled back with that Cheshire Cat grin and in its soothing tone said, “No way dude!”. So, I took a deep breath, against all my best judgment and reason, reached out and… *BLAP*. Love cut my arm right off.
LM: Interesting sound effect for that… Anyway, I get it. You know what? That pain is real. It happened, and it totally sucks. Listen to me though. It’s how you deal with that pain that matters. You can keep avoiding it, running away, until it shows up on your door step when you least expect it years from now when you’ll be totally unprepared to handle it. Or you can just accept it. Face it, learn about yourself, and move on. It’s not going to be pretty, but it’s necessary to heal.
BM: How did you deal with it?
LM: My friends heard about it, invited me out to dinner, and I cried over a bowl of Spaghetti for like an hour and a half… I think it was gnocchi…
BM: Oh man, love gnocchi, still can’t pronounce it though… Anyway, that’s how you fixed it? You’re done with it now?
LM: It’s not something that you just fix. You’re going to carry that around with you forever. You have to decide how you want to carry it. It can either be a burden and ignore it like something you don’t want around. Or you use it to learn about yourself, lift that *ish* above your head, and use it to make you stronger so you can carry more later when something else comes along.
BM: Gym reference, awesome. I hear you, though.
LM: Listen, all that talk that you do is just lip service. While you spend all this time trying to convince other people that you’re fine, you could have just been in here, hanging out me facing the truth. Working things out so that we can use this as a chance to learn more about yourself, rather than another chance to keep running away. One thing that I’ve learned from coming here is that all this stuff that happens to us can teach us. The more you ignore it and cover it up with distractions, we just delay the lesson. Or worse, we don’t learn anything at all, and it happens to us again and again.
BM: Damn, that’s the truth.
LM: The only thing that prevented you from coming here was your unwillingness to admit you were embarrassed because Love made you feel stupid, again. Embarrassment only happens because you have this “perfect” image of yourself, and this break-up smudged it. Instead of recognizing that this smudge adds depth and character, you spend your time trying to cover it up…. Which clearly didn’t work. My suggestion is: let’s keep painting man. That smudge is only a smudge because you thought you were done. Take that smudge and make it work within the painting. The moment you admit you’re never done learning about yourself is the moment that anything can come along. Instead of shunning it, you should embrace and learn from it.
BM: Damn dude you’re smart
LM: You know you’re talking to yourself, right?
LM: Never mind, we’ll talk about that later. The truth of the matter is, I brought you here because I need you just as much as you need me. If you kept on ignoring this, it would have slowly eaten you up inside until it becomes too much and hurts you down the line. We need each other to be whole. One of us without the other is like…. it’s like…
BM: Peanut Butter without the Jelly!
BM: Like Mac without the Cheese! It’s just noodles baby!
LM: … Alright let’s just move on.
BM: No I hear you man. I guess I just needed to sit myself down and face this truth. It sucked, but it only hurt my ego, and that’s good every once in a while. This has been so great. I’m so glad you brought me here. I feel a million times better. We should do this more often. How does later his week sound?
LM: Yeah man maybe, I was planning on just chilling’ and playing some Dungeons and Dragons…
BM: Sounds great! I’ll just meet you here. First round of waters is on me!
LM: You’re so weird dude.
BM: Shoot. You’re the one who’s talking to himself.
LM: So, you DO get it?!
[Big Me and Little Me leave Introspection arm and arm]
by Taylor Deer
Dear Greek Life,
I haven’t told you this but, I miss you.
Look, don’t get all weird on me here, just listen for a second.
We’ve been through a lot together, so I feel like I need to be honest with you. We don’t hang out that much anymore, and lately I’ve noticed that you’ve been hanging out with Popularity a lot. I know you’re “just friends”, but ever since you’ve been hanging out with her you’ve changed. I know she’s cool and everything…but whenever you hang out with her you act totally different. My fear is that everyone loves Popularity, and I think you only want to hang out with her because of the attention that comes with it.
Whew… I said it!
Looking back, I started to notice it before we first met. When you spend too much time with her, you become a warped version of yourself. It’s almost as if you decide to parade yourself in the way that you think you should look and act. I saw you as loud. Obnoxious. Self-important. Clearly compensating for something else. People called it Formal Recruitment, or Rush week, and you know what? That’s the perfect name for it, because everything was rushed.
You asked me, ‘Hey, how’s it going?” However, like a used car salesman, I knew you were just impatiently waiting to drop the real question….. “Ever think about joining Greek Life?”
Look, you and I have been through a lot, so I feel like I can be honest: Rush week was tacky. You might as well wear a sign around your neck that says: “I’m desperate!” for a week, and I bet it would have the same effect.
Anyway, my first impression was so bad that I had to ask people about you.
Everyone had an opinion: good, bad, and straight-up ugly. I heard every story in the book. After listening to these stories, I felt like there was still more to you than meets the eye. There were too many conflicting views to draw an accurate picture. I almost decided not to meet up with you, but I think Curiosity pushed me into it (you know how she gets). To this day, I still don’t know what compelled me to walk the 20 minutes across campus to show up to a strange house where 22 dudes all live together and who refer to themselves as a Brotherhood. But I did.
That’s where we first met.
At first, you still hung on to that pretentious vibe, probably because Popularity was still on your mind. But the more and more we hung out, it was like you finally felt like you could just be yourself. You were friendly, relatable, relaxed, genuine, quiet, and honest. I saw you as someone who wasn’t trying to be anyone else. There was real beauty in your imperfections, and you made other people feel like they could be themselves around you too. You know what? That’s what everyone loves you for.
The problem is, like me, they have to bushwhack their way past the horrible first impression you create when you want Popularity’s attention. The matching T-shirt wearing, obnoxious chanting, boisterous, overly extroverted, picture (retaken until) perfect, version of yourself. It was shocking really, the difference between who you think you should be and who you actually are. One time, when you were around Popularity a lot, someone next to me said, “pfff, I would never hang out with Greek Life.” The only way I could defend you was to say, “Ah, well, you just have to know ‘em….”
Look, I know that was a weak argument, but what else was I going to say? Whenever you are around her….. you kind of are a tool. Its like I don’t even recognize you. I’m sorry, but someone has to say it!
It’s nothing against Popularity. Popularity is neither good nor bad, but we are who we surround ourselves by. When Popularity is your only friend, you tend to only focus on your life through the eyes of others. You start to relentlessly pursue all that is shiny, flashy, exciting, and new, just to hang out with Popularity one more time. In that pursuit, I’ve seen you stray away who you really are and where you come from.
I’m writing to you because you are one of the biggest influences in a young person’s life who goes to college. Ben Parker (Spider-Man’s Uncle, don’t you dare act like you’re too cool for Spider-Man) said, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” Young men and women worship Popularity and they will do just about anything to get a moment of her attention. This is dangerous if gone unchecked, and right now there is not a lot showing young people that there is more to life than the attention being liked brings. It is hurting people.
You, Greek Life, have the power (and responsibility) to change that.
I think when you spend too much time with Popularity, you are just amplifying everything that hurts our young men and women. The students who spend their lives with you might get caught up in that pursuit, unless you start showing students the things that I know you love so much but don’t normally talk about. Things like: empathy, kindness, respect, love, generosity, care, passion, purpose, genuineness, peace, and patience.
The people who love you know you’re not loud. The people who love you know that you’re not perfect. They know that there is more than enough strength and beauty in your true self, which for some reason, only comes out when you forget about Popularity. I know this because I got to meet the real you. I hope that you continue to give people a place that encourages that in others. There are not a lot of places young men and women can go in today’s world which do not judge them for who they are, and I know you are the best version of yourself when you give them that place.
I only hope that you don’t forget to love who you really are, and show people that there is more to this world than the pursuit of Popularity.
Like I said, I miss you, and I think we should hang out more often!
by Taylor Deer
When advising a chapter, it’s important to understand the fundamentals of what a chapter needs to be successful for recruitment. After working with hundreds of chapters, I’ve learned is that they really don’t like to spend time mastering the fundamentals. I’ll hear “We already know that” or “We’ve tried that before” or anything that lets me know that they are more interested in focusing on the “sexy” parts of recruitment like branding and reputation management.
However, I’ve also learned that all the stylistic components of recruitment are worthless without a strong knowledge of why recruitment really works.
With every single chapter I’ve worked with in the past four years, there are five things that I make sure every chapter has in order to be successful.
Here they are:
1) Recruitment Bedrock: Relationships
Everything else a chapter does is built from their attempts at building relationships with students on campus. People don’t want to join fraternities and sororities, until suddenly they do. What makes that sudden switch happen? A relationship. A student really doesn’t want to join a fraternity, but he makes a friend playing basketball every week. The student realizes his friend is in a fraternity, says “wow, he’s pretty cool, maybe fraternities aren’t so bad after all”. Then, he meets the friends of his friend who he calls “brothers”, realizes THEY are pretty cool too, then a realizes that this fraternity ISN’T what he thought it would be, and joins. Recruitment isn’t magic, it’s just intentional relationship building.
2) Names List
Your chapter has to keep track of the people they meet. There is no way around it. The only alternative to having a names list is not having a names list, which relies heavily on the supreme photographic memory capacity of a group of 18-year-old men (bad idea). So, they should have a way to track and manage the interactions with their potential new members. This will help in not only having a measure of success, but also make sure that no one gets forgotten throughout the process. Here is an excellent link to a FREE names list tool. Click Here!
3) Recruitment Team
There has to be a group of people responsible for recruiting the next new member class. Otherwise, everyone thinks someone else will do it for them. The trick is to getting a great recruitment team set up is to internally gather members who are already motivated to recruit, set weekly goals throughout the year, keep track of their progress using the names list, and have this team hold the responsibility of the chapter’s recruitment. It sounds crazy, but for people that like to recruit, they will be right at home meeting people and building relationships for recruitment. Always teach the chapter and leave the door open for them to meet new people and recruit, but consider their efforts icing on the cake, rather than the cake itself.
4) Personal Recruiting Fundamentals
Every chapter must know the fundamentals of how to carry themselves throughout the year. How to have engaging conversations. How to put together a small event. How to follow up with a potential new member. How to pre-close someone. How to use their daily routine to fit in meeting new people and building new relationships. The more a chapter feels comfortable with the fundamentals, the more they are willing to help in the recruitment effort. If your members can’t do these things, your advising efforts would be well served to help them develop these skills.
5) New Member Education
New members are essential in a recruitment process. They are naturally connected to new students on campus. They are passionate about the fraternity or sorority, and they have an initial desire to bring others into this new experience. That’s all good, but if they aren’t educated on the above-mentioned things, then they might not necessarily approach recruitment in the right way. Either they are way over the top in shoving fraternity at their friends, or they discount certain potential new members because “they’re probably not interested in joining a fraternity or sorority”. If you read the previous blog, you’d understand that those are the exact people that we want!
We know it takes strong advisors to help chapters have strong recruitment efforts. Looking for more resources? Check out our Free Resources page, and look up our two of our latest blogs here and here! Need more support from Phired Up? Reach out to us any time at firstname.lastname@example.org!
by Taylor Deer
Being a recruitment advisor can be overwhelming. This is especially true if your “real” job has nothing to do with fraternity or sorority recruitment. Most advisors simply fall back on what they know from their student experience, and that’s a problem.
Not many people were going through their undergraduate recruitment career thinking, “I’m going to be a recruitment advisor someday, so I better write these intricate processes down, and cross reference my notes with successful chapters, and stay up-to-date on the latest nationwide trends.”
If you did all that as an undergraduate, please move on and start your fortune telling career, smarty pants.
For the mere mortals who are just doing their best as recruitment advisors, we can help. In the last 15+ years in the industry, we have evolved, adapted, and innovated our curriculum every year based on current trends on college campuses. Our strategy, called Dynamic Recruitment, is a year-round, values based, relationship centered, proactive framework on how to grow undergraduate fraternity and sorority membership.
In other words, we love recruitment, and we are here to help.
We know the truth hurts sometimes. In recruitment, the truth can hurt so bad that chapters make up myths to help them ignore it. These myths may take on different names like “our truth” or “the way we’ve always done it”. These myths help justify their decisions so they can sleep well at night avoiding the truth.
As an advisor, it might feel good to jump on board with these myths, because you will score a few points with the chapter. But myths just help them run further away from something. They need the truth, even though it may hurt, because it is worth embracing.
Here are 3 myths I’ve heard consistently from chapters, what they want you to say as their advisor, and how you fight back with the truth:
Myth #1: That’s just not the way it’s done around here
Myth #2: People just don’t want to join fraternities at this school
Myth #3: We’re about Quality not Quantity
The first trial you are going to have to face in being an advisor is digging through the myths in search of the truth. In my experience, it’s a rare chapter that comes to you with a developed sense of self-awareness. It’s tough to own up to why your chapter is failing. It’s much easier to shove the blame in front of it, rather than standing face to face with it. Once you find what is REALLY holding a chapter back, only then can you start to help as their advisor.