How to Make New Friends in Class

The university experience is in large part about making friends, and making memories with them that you'll cherish for the rest of your life. 

HOWEVER, Walking into a giant classroom of 200+ people, let's be real, even 30+ people, can be intimidating as heck. It's easy to simply sit down somewhere, listen (or not) to the lecture and then leave once the clock hits the 50 minute mark. However, sometimes, it can be nice to actually engage with the other students, even if it is to ultimately get their class notes (hey, it can be really useful!).

If some people aren't interested in expanding their friendgroup, then please remember that that's okay. I've definitely had friends whom I've put a lot of effort into, who simply were'nt interested in developing the friendship. Not everyone will like you. But you won't like everyone either. So that's okay. The people that do remain your friends are the ones who care about your friendship, and maintaining friendships that bring you down isn't healthy.

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For the people who may want to make new friends,  I've compiled a number of helpful tricks to help you engage in classes where you don't know anybody. 

1. Sit in the same spot every class. 

This is a trick that has worked for me numerous times. If you sit in the same spot, chances are someone around you is also doing the same. This gives you an opening to start talking to them. 

2. Don't be afraid. Simply say Hi. 

It may turn out that the person sitting next to you is just as shy as you are, and was waiting for you to make the first move!

3. Compliment something about them (that you genuinely like). 

If I notice someone has nice lipstick, or a cool outfit, I wouldn't hesitate to tell them. Why wouldn't someone want to hear something nice about them? Once you establish that first point of connection, you can proceed with follow up questions: "Where did you get it?" for example. 

4. Comment on the class

This is an easy point in common between you, and things you have in common is one of the easiest ways to form a connection with somebody. You can talk about how the class went, how you didn't understand something, how the lecture went really quickly... etc.!

5. Ask them about themselves

Start off the conversation light; another point you'll have in common is that you're in school. Ask them about what they're studying, with follow up questions such as "and what do you want to do with your degree in ____?" (as seen in point 7). 

6. Don't be afraid to share

A conversation should be around 50-50, so don't be afraid to volunteer information about yourself as well. You're an interesting individual, introduce yourself as such! Make sure to BE TRUE TO YOURSELF though. Mirroring is an interesting technique where you mirror the other person, matching their energy and personality. As much as this can work at the beginning, you can't maintain it for very long. In my opinion, though it's a natural tendency to try and connect with someone on their level, it's also a little manipulative and deceptive if used too much. 

7. Once you know the person on a more shallow level, you can ask more purposeful questions that require developped answers. A conversation won't last very long if you can answer a question in one word. 

  • What does he/she do?
  • What are his/her hobbies?
  • What has he/she been up to recently?
  • What are his/her upcoming priorities/goals?
  • What does he/she value the most?
  • What are his/her values?
  • What motivates/drives him/her?
  • What are his/her passions in life? Goals? Dreams?

8. Be open to differences. 

I know I've been talking about commonalities a lot, but differences are also okay. I think it's incredibly important to surround yourself with people who aren't of like-mind. They can broaden your horizons and make you rethink certain aspects of your life, certain habits, that might have been stuck. 

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The key to every conversation is showing genuine interest (and as such, being GENUINELY interested). If you're not interested in getting to know the person, then don't ask! Move on to someone who truly engages with you. 


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