What to Do When Feeling Alone in College

With busy schedules and the ability to hide out in dorms, making friends can be harder in college than it was in high school. You haven’t known anyone for your whole life anymore, so it may seem too hard to start over. You may look around and see everyone else clicking or snapchats of people hanging out all the time, and feel a bit lonely yourself with no groups of friends waiting at your door. But envy is the thief of all happiness. So, instead of sulk by yourself, here are some tips to help you feel less alone in college:

 

Join a Club or Organization

 

The quickest and easiest way to get involved and meet new people on campus is to become part of something bigger through a club, an organization, a job, volunteering, etc. While it can be daunting at first to insert yourself into a room full of strangers, it will get easier the more you do it. Start by going to interesting events or club meetings that you want to look into. More often than not, the people there will be welcoming and ready to address your questions. There will be a billion clubs on campus so focus on the ones you are truly passionate about. Meeting people with similar interests will give you the ability to connect and converse easily.

 

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Catch Up with Classmates

 

Most of us are all tired and hungry in class and just waiting to get out, however, class can be one of the best places to meet people. Instead of staying silent, try talking to your seatmate or the people you get put in a group project with. You’d be surprised at how quickly people can bond over crazy professors or homework. Around the first weeks of the quarter or semester, get the numbers of some classmates. You can help each other out with notes or even hang out after class if things go well. Having friends in class will make school a lot more bearable.

 

Comedy & Compliments

 

Once you meet new people, try using the two main tactics of building friendships: comedy and compliments. Make easy jokes about the things you have in common, anything from classes to favorite tv shows. You can even DM memes back and forth to get a conversation going. If you find people that have the same humor as you, you’ll be close friends in no time. Along with that, another easy conversation starter is compliments. Telling someone you love their shirt and asking where they got it from makes the other person feel more open to talking to you and gives them a reason to keep doing so.

 

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Fake It ‘Til You Make It

 

Being lonely often starts with how you feel about being alone with yourself. You have to get comfortable with yourself before you can be comfortable with others. Once you’re comfortable, you’ll have more confidence that will show through when you’re meeting new people. Confidence and genuinity is key. But everyone knows how hard it can be to be confident in yourself all the time, so my advice is to fake it ‘til you make it. Thinking you appear confident is usually just as good as being actually confident and people around you won’t be able to tell the difference, they’ll just admire you being comfortably you. The important thing is to just act like yourself so people can know the real you and to always put your best foot forward.

 

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Know Your Friends’ Friends

 

Having your roommates or friends introduce people to you can immediately make you feel like a third wheel, but don’t let it. Throwing a pity party for yourself and feeling like an outsider is the easy thing to do, but in reality, most people in college are looking for friends too. If you throw in some compliments and comedy towards your friend’s friends, you’ll double your own friend group much quicker. And, feeling like you know more people will boost your confidence. Odds are no one is trying to exclude you, you just aren’t putting yourself out there enough to the point where people can connect with you. Plus, the faster you form friendships with them, the more you’ll get to hang out with them without feeling left out.

 

Be Open

 

Last but not least, always try to keep an open mind. College is a time of experimentation with majors, relationships, identity. Be respectful of those around you. People won’t always act or think how you expect them to and they may do things that are out of your own comfort zone, but that doesn’t mean they are automatically bad people. As long as no one is peer pressuring you to follow their beliefs, it’s okay to have some differences. Don’t judge people based on assumptions, get to know everyone equally and then decide who you want to get closer to. College isn’t the same as high school so we can all leave those cliquey mindsets behind!

 

College may seem scary at first, but you will find your place. Don’t stress too much about not knowing anyone, especially if you come from a small town. No matter what you think, everyone is just as worried about fitting in still. Know that there are others who feel the same way as you do. The point is not to shape-shift into what others want you to be, but to shine as who you truly are. Then you’ll find others with the same energy who may end up being your true friends for life.