How To Make Friends Virtually

In a time before COVID, heading off to college or university meant physically stepping foot on campus. But, as we all know, the pandemic has forced many institutions to go virtual. For many incoming students, this is probably not the college experience you had in mind. Many of us are going to long for those face-to-face interactions with professors, friends and classmates that simply cannot be replaced. Our studies may be our priority, but it is crucial to maintain our social lives as well. While you’re stuck at home attending lectures from your bed via laptop or phone, here are some ways you can make friends this academic year online!
  1. 1. Study Groups

    If you are already following Facebook groups geared towards current students, you might have noticed many students are sharing their class schedules in hopes to connect with classmates. Although the primary use for these group chats are to discuss class content, don’t be afraid to turn some of your classmates into lifelong friends. Afterall, let’s face it, you’re going to be spending an entire semester of Zoom lectures with these people, so why not get to know some of them on a more personal level. But, the study chat is not the most ideal place to talk about matters outside the course, so, instead, I would suggest sharing your number or social media to talk about things other than school (trust me, we’re all going to want a break from that!) As well, don’t forget about the discussion boards and direct messages set up on eClass/Moodle which are also useful to get in touch with classmates. Once I began talking to some classmates, I started to notice our discussions went beyond the class content and we had more in common than just our majors. You may want to host some downtime groups or even one-on-one chats through Facetime or Zoom. Eventually, you could meet up in person (if possible) and plan an outing at the end of the term to celebrate your success!

    Person Writing in Notebook
  2. 2. Campus Clubs

    Typically, students could not get past Vari Hall without running into a table or locking eyes with vibrant posters scattered across the pillars. While you may be in the clear of this sensory overload, most clubs are still finding creative ways to engage students virtually. If you’re already a former student involved in a club, that’s terrific! Keep an eye out on their social media platforms to be informed of upcoming events and campaigns. For incoming students, I recommend heading to YU Connect to explore all the organizations York has to offer. Are you interested in astronomy? Perhaps anime or mental health awareness? York has approximately 500 registered clubs so there’s bound to be at least one that piques your interest or goals. Don’t hesitate to contact their leaders to stay in the loop. I also recommend attending their events consistently. This is a great way to get to know members over time and connect with those who share similar interests. If you’re still not entirely sure what clubs might be fitting for you, be sure to attend the York Federation of Students’ Virtual Clubs Fair on September 23, 2020!

  3. 3. Reconnect With Old Friends

    Although many of us are open to making new friends, there is nothing wrong with reaching out to friends from the past. Whether it be because of the pandemic, transferring to a new school, or just overall getting caught up with life, it’s not uncommon we might have distant ourselves from people we were once close with. For a freshman, the transition from high school to university can be quite intimidating, but connecting with familiar people helps us to reduce stress, strengthen our social circles, and brings us a sense of nostalgia and comfort. In fact, I personally experienced this not too long ago. A few months ago, I got into contact with a good friend from elementary school who I haven't spoken to in years. It began with texting until we both eventually agreed to meet up. While I was concerned the relationship had lapsed and things just wouldn’t be the same, it felt like we didn’t miss a beat. It was extremely delightful to reminisce on the past and see how much we both have grown over the years. Despite my experience, just know that not everyone is going to reciprocate. The best thing to do is reach out with good intentions and with no expectations. It’s totally okay if you find nothing comes from it.

    Woman with curly hair waving and saying hi to someone through her laptop.
  4. 4. Apps

    In this day and age, it seems like there’s an app for everything. Most of us might be familiar with dating apps, however there are many apps available if you’re looking to make some friends. Some of these include Bumble BFF, FriendMatch and Friender, all of which are available for free in the app store. This is a great way to connect with others as these apps allow you to match based on similar interests, demographics and proximity. Make sure to keep the conversations flowing and be sincere. Keep in mind, everyone is there for the same reason, but don’t worry if people aren’t always available to chat. Understand that people have lives and can get busy throughout the day, so don’t be alarmed if someone doesn’t get back to you right away.

    Yogas Design
  5. 5. Video Games

    I’m personally not a gamer, however I know a ton of people who have made friends through online gaming. It may seem uncommon to make friends through gaming as people tend to enter the game with people they already know, but it is still possible. A lot of games such as Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto allow for multiplayer modes in which players can talk amongst each other and complete missions together. You can also meet fellow gamers through the gaming-broadcasting stream Twitch. If you are constantly following and chatting with the same gamers, why not take your conversations beyond the game?

    Animal crossing
If you’re still unsure whether to reach out to someone, keep in mind many students are feeling the same way. A survey done across Canadian universities shows that nearly 70 percent of students feel lonely throughout the year. In these uncertain times, everyone can use a friend! A simple “hello” can go a long way. We are stronger together and we will get through this. Best of luck this year!