Not my kind of people?

For most people, university is a massive change in their life: a social upheaval, an academic jump-up, alien environment in a new city (or country if you’re unlucky enough to be reading this from Keele right now). This massive change, naturally brings into play confusing and challenging emotions which yes, lead to you crying every other night in first term. However, as a disclaimer for this article, I’m not writing about mental health struggles, as important as that discussion is. This piece is for the people who don’t feel quite settled, not necessary lonely but not comforted by existing friends. This piece is for all my mates who have cried on the phone saying how they have only met weird people that have ket for breakfast or never come out their room (those aren’t mutually exclusive).


The struggle is real when you are shoved in a flat with people you don’t know, may have nothing in common with but you feel like they are your first port of call. This may mean you end up sticking with the boy who only talks about his siblings at Oxford, cue ‘but that’s okay because Wills has a quad and everything’, or the girl who lowered the tone of her voice to create some musky moans when she talks about her mad night at Motion when she didn’t get home until 8.30 am. You also have 4 hours a week contact time and its week four now so how does anyone make course friends? So that’s it, you are stuck with some people you don’t really love or don’t feel comfortable with and you just don’t know how to meet ‘your kind of people’. I know this is an issue, reinforced through the intellectual cornerstone that is Bristruths with #Bristruth836 saying ‘I’ve got friends, I just feel that they all have better friends than me and that’s kinda depressing’. Depressing, but probably relatable for so many people. So, what to do if you feel like you haven’t met your kind of people?


Calling upon friends for their opinions, a few key ideas stood out:

  1. Join as many things as possible: a society, a sports team, a volunteering network, a Student Union body. You can decide later that maybe joining underwater polo was a bit rogue and that you are unlikely to find your best mate whilst gasping for air, but you never know, you might find that dream team of girls who go to Cori tap every Friday and ask you to join.

  2. Linked to the last one, was trying something new. You may decide that, yes, you want to continue your winning streak of netball at school and play for the big UOB. However, you may be reaching second term of second year, still fed up with your housemates leaving their noodles in the sink, and you want to find some new hobbies. Like most universities, Bristol has a freshers fair which all years can attend but you may be feeling a bit out the loop if you missed it. The SU run a programme around this time of year called ‘Give it a Go’ which is essentially a series of taster sessions for different societies from baking to kayaking, designed to allow people to try something new. There is nothing embarrassing about turning up by yourself, and once you’ve got over this hurdle, you’ll be scoffing those vegan brownies with your baking chums every week.

  3. The biggest issue for people who don’t feel settled is often thinking that everyone else is doing perfectly. I have also fallen for this illusion when you see your friend from school post a picture on Instagram with a group of 7 girls in matching outfits for sports night or celebration dinners when they signed their house in the second week of term. You start to think that everyone has this incredible group of friends and they go out for freakshakes and brunch and have the best nights out. From personal experience, I can safely say that the three people I thought were doing the best at university have actually found it really challenging and these pictures they post on their social media don’t actually reflect their experience of first year. If you stop fixating on what everyone else appears to have, it will allow you to create your own happiness, as cliché as that is. It is also important to remember that when it comes to friends its quality not quantity and that might mean not having a buzzing group chat but actually having people who want to do everyday things with you.


These are the tops tips from lots of people who have felt like this at some point in their university life and it’s important to know that, however you feel about friends and your social situation, you are never alone.


If you do feel like this, but actually it’s more extreme and isolating and scary, then you should definitely have a chat with a professional. There is nothing wrong about talking about the bad bits of university and it’s better to chat than to hold it in.


Happy fwends!