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4 Ways to Build Meaningful College Friendships From Scratch- The Easy Way

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

College is the perfect place to reinvent yourself, and a big part of finding who you are is making new friends along the way. Here are a few tips I’ve found to be especially helpful when you’re looking for new connections, but you aren’t quite sure how to put yourself out there.

pretend you’re already friends

First things first: Before you even introduce yourself, rid your mind of any performative standards you’ve already self-imposed. Chatting with a potential friend can be nerve-wracking, so don’t make it harder for yourself by thinking “I need to come across as x, y, z so I make a good first impression”.

The easiest way to break this habit is to, interestingly enough, pretend you’re already friends! Think about it: with friends, you greet them warmly and talk to them kindly; there’s no uncertainty. By encouraging this mindset, you automatically come across as approachable and fun. This is especially helpful for getting rid of the “I hope I’m not bothering this person” worry.

Couple Your introduction with a compliment

Most of the time, the hardest part of starting a conversation is figuring out what to say. Spare yourself the worrying and keep it simple. Just say hi and pay them a sweet compliment! This way, you’re already starting off on a high note, while simultaneously prompting them to talk about the thing you complimented.

For example, if you compliment a bracelet they’re wearing, they may be more inclined to tell you about the summer vacation that led to them buying it. It’s a great way to uncover common interests! That being said, make sure the compliment is sincere. If you can’t think of one to give, a simple “hi” is still a fabulous way to get the ball rolling.

Reframe your idea of friendship

While trying to make friends, it’s easy to forget about the purpose behind all the effort. The point of meeting new friends isn’t to make other people like you– it’s to feel happy with the people you’re choosing to surround yourself with! If you’re ever discouraged or happen to catch someone on a bad day, don’t take it personally. A key piece of advice to take with you:

Focus less on if they like you, and more on if you like them

Instead of overthinking whether they like who you are, funnel that energy into observing what you like about them. This is a more concrete way to approach the whole “don’t chase, attract” mantra. Take note of their funny stories, thoughtful questions, or calm demeanor. Are those the traits you’d like in a friend? Only you can decide, and there’s something comforting in knowing you have that choice.

Throw away all expectations

Underrated advice for creating lasting friendships: drop all expectations surrounding what the friendship could develop into. Meeting someone with the intent of finding a “new best friend” may have pure intentions behind it, but it can put expectations on the other person and you may be left disappointed if they fall short. 

Appreciate the connection for what it is right now; just have a good time and let yourself relax into the conversation. Trust that whoever is meant to find you, will. 

Sierra is a junior at Christopher Newport University. She is majoring in psychology with intent to receive her masters in teaching. In her free time, she loves thrift shopping, going on Target runs, and caring for all of her plants.
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