Making friends happens every single year of your university life. You’ll meet new first years joining your sports club or society, or you may transfer course or find your modules are combined with other courses in the university. There will always be opportunities to make new friends any year of university or college.
But how do you do it? How do you put yourself out there, especially if you’re naturally introverted? And how do you make new friends who will turn into friends for life? Well, I’m going to share my top tips, based on constantly moving around and having to make new friends.
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Get Involved in Anything that Interests You
Don’t join a club or society because you think you will make new friends. While you can meet new people, you’re not necessarily going to have much in common.
It’s important to join the clubs and societies that genuinely interest you.
Yes, I made the mistake of joining a club that I didn’t really have that much interest in. Well, I wanted to have an interest in it but it didn’t turn out to be something that I enjoyed – and there was some mis-marketing to it. The club that I made the most friends with who I still have on Facebook was the basketball club. We all had a shared interest in the sport.
Go to the Fresher’s Fair at your university and find out about the clubs and societies. You can do this even if you’re not a first-year student. I went to the Fresher’s Fair every year for freebies and to find out if there were new clubs or societies that would interest me.
There may not be clubs or societies that cover all your interests. Look out for other groups or events happening that work into your interests and personality.
Live on Campus for At Least One Year
While I don’t have friends that I’m still in touch with from my first year of university, there are still many benefits to living on campus for your at least one year of university. I recommend it for your first year of university.
You’re closer to your university, so it will be easier to get to your lessons. You’ll also be on the site for all socialising aspects, putting you in a better position to meet new people and make new friends.
You’ll be forced into meeting new people when you live in the majority of university halls of residence. I was in a flat with 11 other people, although a few other friends were in flats with just 5 other people. You end up with a shared kitchen and there is always someone there to speak to. There will be others in the student bars and locations just feet away from your student home.
While you won’t necessarily make friends for life, you stand a better chance. I didn’t stay friends with the people I lived with, but living on campus was easier for me to get to events with friends I made in my course. Those are the ones that I’m still friends with.
Start Up a Conversation
There will be times that you feel like you’re alone. You’ll feel awkward with someone else right next to you. Well, they feel the exact same way.
Rather than just standing in line and waiting for your coffee, why not say hi to the person behind you. Find out if they’ve tried the place before and recommend anything. I actually found making friends in a coffee shop was a great way to learn more about the different types of coffees available – and I fell in love with hazelnut lattes because of it.
You can do the same in your course lectures. Talk to the person next to you and find out about them. This is how I made friends with the people on my course – the ones that I’m still friends with today. In fact, one of the friends I still talk to was a person I met on the registration day for class. He just happened to turn around and introduce himself and we laughed about the fact that we had the same name!
Just remember to be yourself while you’re talking to other people. Know your social limits and come up with a few strategic questions in your personal time before you go out ready to socialise.
Don’t Leave Right After Class
While there are times that you will need to get out of class right away for an appointment or your job, you want to try and stay behind with friends as much as possible.
You get the chance to talk to your current friends and meet their friends. Your social circle expands by the people you know.
Yes, this is how I made other friends who I’m still in touch with. They already have some similar interests, such as the one friend you all know. You may be surprised how much easier the conversation flows when there are more of you.
You can do the same after work. Make the effort to go for drinks with the people you work with or the friends you make along the way.
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Stay in Touch Through the Holidays
When you go on a break from university, make sure you stay in touch with your friends. It would have been easy for me to lose touch with friends. I’ve moved around more times than I have fingers and now live 5,000 miles away!
Well, social media is powerful for keeping in touch with people. Yes, it’s much easier than it ever was when I was in university (before Facebook came out to the public!).
You don’t have to spend all your time chatting to them. But drop them a message to say hi and comment on a few of their posts. Just let them know that you’re thinking about them and want to stay in touch as much as possible.
This will also help you after university and college. You’ll make new friends who become friends for life, even when people – like my friends – end up emigrating around the world!
Now is your chance to make new friends at university and college. You’ll need to put yourself out there, which I know can be hard as an introvert. Don’t leave it all to chance, because it’s not going to happen as much as it could. Follow the tips above and you can make new friends whatever year you’re in.