Thinking about how to make friends at uni and whether you’ll fit in can be a source of anxiety in the lead-up to September.
The first thing to keep in mind is that almost everyone will be feeling the same thing. Most people feel on the back foot when they are stepping into a new adventure.
But if you want some advice on how to make friends at uni, here are some tips to take into consideration:
Reframe your nervousness and try thinking of it as excitement. If you get butterflies in your stomach when you talk to your new flatmates for the first time, don’t worry – that’s natural.
Smile and be open. We’re not suggesting that you divulge your most intimate details to everyone in your cluster, but a smile and a supportive, friendly greeting goes a long way. Remember, they’re all looking for mates too.
Offer to Help. Use everyone else’s uncertainty to help you start to build relationships – offer to help or be able to acknowledge that you are feeling the same. If someone is humping boxes up the stairs to their room, offer to give them a hand.
Accommodation Mixer. Go to your accommodation mixer. For example, all Abodus properties put on events in the first week so that everyone can start to get to know each other.
Keep your door open. Think about keeping your room door open so that people know that you’re around for a chat. It helps if you make your room inviting… and bring a doorstop to uni.
Course Induction. This is the easiest way to not only get a better feeling for your course but also start getting to know your fellow students.
When you get down to studying and going to lectures, you’ll have a bit of a head start. You’ll also want to cultivate friendships in your course as you’ll be spending quite a bit of time with them over the next 3 or 4 years.
Your flatmates will be a distinct group, and they might become your besties, but they’ll all have their own courses and groups also, so don’t put all your friendship eggs in one basket.
Societies. It’s good to have a few ideas of what societies you might join. There will be no shortage to choose from, and during Freshers’ week, you will be bombarded with invitations to join.
It might be a good idea to think of a range of different types of societies, no matter whether they are related to your course, political or cultural, sporty, or simply good fun. Go to their Freshers’ events and see what appeals.
There’s no opportunity like this outside of university, so make the most of it. We’re sure that if you ask fellow students how to make friends at uni, many will say that joining a society is one of the best ways to meet new mates.
Take the initiative. Your flatmates will probably be feeling the excitement/overwhelm of uni to greater and lesser extents. If someone looks a bit shy, invite them to something with you.
Another great tactic is inviting your flatmates for some pre-going-out drinks. It’s a great ice-breaker and they’ll appreciate it.
Don’t Drink Too Much. There will be so many opportunities to go out over Freshers’ week that it can be something of a marathon.
If you want to last throughout all the opportunities to meet new mates, keep an eye on your drinking. This is because:
- You don’t want to go through Freshers’ week through the haze of a hangover.
- You don’t want to be known as the Fresher that _______ (insert your own worst drunken scenario here).
- You also need to have your wits around you. You’re in new surroundings with new people, and you should be able to enjoy yourself without putting yourself in any situations where you are vulnerable.
Don’t Drink? No Problem. Freshers’ week can seem like a bit of an alcohol-fuelled obstacle course if you’re tee-total or not that bothered about drinking.
Don’t fret. There are usually lots of alternatives, like day trips to different local places. Look out for opportunities to meet like-minded people.
Take contact details. Give people your number/email/social media handle and, importantly get there’s. Where appropriate, make a tentative plan to meet in the future, such as “Oh well, maybe I’ll see you at the film club then?”.
Don’t be an Idiot. This is probably the most important thing to remember. Rather than acting silly, be authentic and be yourself. A little bit of empathy, listening and being there works wonders.
Don’t put yourself under pressure to be the funniest, the coolest, the smartest, the most cynical, etc., just to be accepted. Be Yourself, think of others, and you’ll be fine.
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
— Dale Carnegie