For many of us who didn’t have the smoothest time making friends in high school, there’s typically the notion that it will be simpler in college.
Others may not have had trouble making friends in high school, but they are nonetheless concerned about leaving behind childhood pals and forming a new social group in a new town.
Yes, It Is A Fresh Start, But..
In many respects, college is a new beginning. You aren’t seeing the same folks all the time as you were in high school. In many circumstances, you’re living alone for the first time, and the world appears to be a lot larger place.
However, there are a number of reasons that can make it appear that making friends in college is more difficult. If you commute to school from your parents’ house or from off-campus, for example, making friends in college can be more challenging than in high school.
Unless you make an effort, large lecture halls and a regular cycle of new faces can make it tough to develop long-term friendships.
If you don’t have crippling social anxiety, there are a few variables that will make it simpler to establish friends at college:
- Commuting vs. living on campus.
- Being a part of a program with fewer classes and cohorts.
Even if you live on campus or are enrolled in a program where getting to know your peers is easy, the suggestions below will help you build new social circles.
The Easiest You’ll Ever Have It
When it comes to establishing friends, you’ll never have it easier than in college. You’ll have the opportunity to meet new folks every day. You’ll be surrounded by tens of thousands of other students your age, many of whom are eager to make new acquaintances and meet new people.
If you’re having trouble making friends and meeting new people, all of the above may seem like a slap in the face. The truth is if you’re timid or less socially outgoing, and/or you live off-campus, and/or you’re in a program where you don’t see the same people every day, you’ll have to put in some extra effort to make friends in college.
Whether you’re timid or extroverted, the sheer number of peers you’ll be around and the stage of your life will make making friends at college much easier than it will be at any other time in your life. It isn’t going to get any simpler, so make an effort today.
The basic structure for making friends in college is the same as it is at any other time in your life, with the exception that following these steps will be much easier. The following are the three stages you must perform in order to establish friends in college:
- You should place oneself in situations where you can meet new people.
- You should strike up a conversation with strangers and take the initiative to hang out with folks with whom you get along.
- You should keep interacting with the folks with whom you connect. If you have a lot in common, this should come effortlessly, but you should still make an effort in some circumstances.
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Putting Yourself Where Potential Friends Are
This is the most crucial stage. While there are numerous opportunities to meet new people at university, many students still struggle to establish a social life, owing to their failure to take the effort to put themselves in situations where they can meet potential friends.
If your present pattern of showing up to class and sprinting out the door the second you hear “that’s all for this week” isn’t working, here are some other options for making new acquaintances in college:
- Residence. If you’re lucky (or unlucky, depending on your point of view) enough to be assigned to residence, you’ll have an opportunity to meet friends that you wouldn’t have otherwise. You don’t have to befriend everyone on your floor (and chances are you won’t), but since you’ll be seeing them every day, you’ll have the opportunity to form deep bonds.
- Students in your classes. This can be more challenging if you’re in an undergrad programme with large classrooms and a lot of electives, as you won’t be seeing the same people every day. However, this simply means that you must exercise a little more initiative in conversing with individuals around you. If your classes contain hundreds of people, it’s easy to get lost in the sea of faces, but initiating a short chat with someone next to you every now and then can help you uncover new friendships you’d otherwise miss if you just go to class, zone out, and leave when the bell rings.
- Join student organisations and clubs. Student clubs abound on university campuses, catering to students from all walks of life and with a wide range of interests. There’s a good chance that at least a handful of them will attract folks who share your interests. Joining a club or organisation also gives you the opportunity to try something new that you might not have done before. Look up a list of student groups on your university’s website and attend a meeting.If showing up to a group mid-semester seems scary, make sure to attend the first few meetings, where there will be plenty of newbies like yourself.
- Attend social activities — Attending a social gathering alone can be frightening, but there are lots of events on campus that are geared to help individuals get to know one another.
- Participate in off-campus activities. You don’t have to limit yourself to schoolwork just because you’re a student. You can also pursue a hobby or enrol in an off-campus class.
- Volunteer. If you don’t want to join a hobby club or social group, you can always volunteer and participate. Whether it’s a student newspaper or radio station, or an activist group for a specific cause, whatever you select, you’ll be able to put your abilities to good use while meeting like-minded students.
Tips to make friends at college
1. MOVE INTO A DORMITORY OR A STUDENT FLAT SHARE
When you decide to start studying, you often also decide to move to a new city. The question arises: dormitory, student flat-share, or your own apartment?
When it comes to finding like-minded people with whom you can go through thick and thin and enjoy the beauty as well as the difficult sides of student life, the first step is to move into a dormitory or a student flatshare.
Cooking together, going out to dinner, attending student parties, or spending TV and game nights together – all of this creates a bond. Even the “unpleasant” aspects of student life, such as tight deadlines or cleaning the kitchen, can be better endured together.
Leave your dorm room door open when you are there because this often results in good, spontaneous conversation. In addition, there is always something going on in student accommodation. Stop by your neighbors or in the common rooms and have a few drinks with the other residents!
2. ATTEND INTRODUCTORY EVENTS
The good thing about introductory events is that everyone is new to the university. Finding something to talk about is relatively easy here because everyone has the same goal: To find answers to the questions that arise at the beginning of the course – Where can I find something on campus? What do I need for a successful start to the semester?
Such welcome events offer the ideal opportunity to exchange ideas with other freshmen about the upcoming everyday routines and to eliminate the first organizational uncertainties. You will quickly notice that you are not alone and that everyone else is at least as excited as you are.
You just have to gather the courage to approach people and ask questions – maybe you will run into each other again later or exchange contacts straight away in order to meet again!
3. ESTABLISH LEARNING GROUPS
Of course, it depends on which type of learner you are, but mastering the course content is after all the top priority. If you understand the university scripts better when they are being discussed in a group, then you can network well with your fellow students. They can help you with exam preparation and you can help them.
Because the big advantage of learning in groups is that everyone has different strengths and you can learn from each other. In the best-case scenario, this results in a shared sense of achievement – passing the exam, which can then be celebrated appropriately.
4. BE ACTIVE AND OPEN TO NEW IDEAS
By this, we don’t just mean staying active when it comes to your studies but also staying physically active. Sport offers a good balance to your studies and clears your mind for new knowledge. Find out about the range of sports offered at your university. Is there a soccer team or a swimming club?
Often the only thing missing is the right sparring partner to try out new sports courses or to stay motivated. Find out more in social media groups, where people are always looking for “sports friends” to do sports together.
But if the sport is not your thing, then why not visit other leisure activities at the university, such as language courses, music courses or art courses. In any case, the people you meet have the same interests as you, and if that’s not a good start to a new friendship, what is?
5. WORK ON THE SIDE (VOLUNTARILY)
Volunteering is always a good thing to do if your resources allow it. This way you get to know other social and helpful people with whom you can work together for a good cause.
In addition, internships or minor student jobs in “making friends” and “building professional networks” make a lot of sense. Here it is advisable to work in areas in which you have a lot of contact with other people, for example with NGOs, in gastronomy and sales or giving tutoring.
6. USE SOCIAL MEDIA FOR SOCIALIZING
After all, that’s exactly what social media is for – to share interests with other people, to get in touch with them, and to make new friends. It has never been so easy to take the famous first step.
Send the friend request, write the person a message, comment on a post – go ahead! There are tons of groups you can join in on, where you can quickly and easily find like-minded people.
In the meantime, there are also apps that make it easier to find friends. Similar to dating apps, but for people looking to make new friends.
7. BE A LANGUAGE TANDEM PARTNER
If you want to expand your circle of friends internationally, you should become a tandem partner for exchange students. The best way to learn a foreign language is to hear and speak it and to spend as much time as possible with a native speaker.
How about a guided tour through the city or an evening in your favorite pub? Win-win for both – a new language and a new friend from another country.
8. LAST BUT NOT LEAST: BE YOURSELF!
Anyway, it doesn’t help you or your counterpart if you pretend to be someone you are not. Stay true to yourself and just be authentic, then the right people will come all by themselves. Getting to know new people is always exciting, regardless of whether you are an introvert or an extrovert.
Of course, it is easier for sociable people to make new friends during their studies, but it is also perfectly okay if you are more cautious and allow yourself to be found by others.
Everyone is different, the most important thing is that you give yourself time and maybe leave your comfort zone every now and then. Always remember: you don’t have to make friends for life and know everyone after the first day, give yourself some time!
Arrange your new social environment in such a way that you feel comfortable – and you have enough time for that because you will meet many different and interesting people over the course of your studies.
Don’t Hole Yourself Up
It can be difficult to get the ball moving if you haven’t really discovered your social group yet. If you’re an introvert by nature, the temptation may be to isolate yourself and focus on academics or your single activities.
There’s nothing wrong with concentrating on yourself and your studies, but don’t let that serve as an excuse to stay in your comfort zone.
Everyone wants to make friends, but if this isn’t happening for you, you’ll need to act. Hopefully, the suggestions above will make things a little easier for you.