How to Make Friends At University

People associate ‘making friends’ with the idea of a new beginning: the beginning of school, the beginning of sixth form and beginning of university. But, who came up with this idea and why does everyone unconsciously follow this? What we don’t realise is that we can make new friends all the time, everywhere we go and at any point in university. Speaking from personal experience, even strangers can end up teaching us a lot about friendship and what we require from a ‘friend’. So, I have come up with a few points (and some cringey metaphors) to help you make and maintain friends at university.

  1. 1. Be Open

    If you have always had friends in the past who have similar traits, try speaking to others who are different. Why do we only let people in whose mind-sets match our own? Many find that by living on campus in first year, you live with individuals who are completely different to you. There’s no coincidences when you meet certain people in your life, such as flatmates, course mates and work colleagues. Every individual you meet is unique and can teach you something important about yourself, no matter how little they resemble you. So, being open is one of the best ways you can allow new people in. Remember, every new person you come across is either a lesson or a blessing.

  2. 2. Join Societies/Clubs

    Every single person has an interest, hobby or social group that they connect to. Your gender, race, religion, and sexuality are all important aspects of life, and you will find people who tick at least one of those boxes. Coming to university is a time where you are away from your family and past life, so the choices made are all based on you. Everyone’s heard of the phrase, ‘there’s a society for everyone’, right? I hate to sound like an overused, broken record, but, that is a hundred percent correct, trust me. Try activities out of your comfort zone: Boxing, e-sports, ballet, hip-hop, the list goes on and on and on. What’s amazing is that you do not need to be in your first year or first term to join these societies. It’s one of the many ways to meet new people and expand your circle.

  3. 3. Accept Solitude

    I cannot stress this enough. It is extremely important to give yourself more time than anyone else. Before throwing yourself out there in the vast pool of friendship, learn new things about you. Go ahead, I dare you to correct me when I say this: having social and mental correlation is the ultimate key to a happy and successful life. To elaborate, do not rely and base your contentment on others as it will form unhealthy attachment issues which can affect you later in life. Go on dates alone, go for walks alone and be alone with yourself, because there is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying your company ‘alone’. Accepting solitude every once in a while is similar to putting fuel in a car. If you don’t take care of yourself like this once a week, your fuel will eventually run out and your mental health will be affected.

  4. 4. Be Yourself

    Now this kind of stems from my last point about solitude. What we forget is that people in university aren’t unintelligent. I mean, they managed to pull through at least eighteen years of life experience. What I’ve noted since coming to university is that some people put on a fake persona in front of new people they meet, just to conform and adapt to the standards of others. But what about your own standards? My number one rule when it comes to making friends is to be your genuine self. How can we expect to maintain and have long lasting friendships when we feel the need to change who we are?

To finish this, please remember that it is better to be on your own than to be around toxic people. But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be open to making new friends, it is never too late. Bear in mind one thing: never be too quick to make judgements about others. Use the pimple metaphor: fast treatments for spots don’t work, but investing months into a good, healthy skincare routine will give you long lasting fresh skin! This is the ultimate key to maintaining healthy friendships (and glowing skin!).