The key to living a happy life is to be intentional about your relationships. When you actively seek out friends, you increase your chances of having people around you who energise you, make you laugh, and support you during difficult times.
One of the best aspects of university is the countless opportunities for a fresh start. This is especially true when it comes to making friends at uni. You’re in a new place with thousands of people you’ve never met before with different backgrounds and from different parts of the world. It’s exciting! This blog will give you great ideas on how to make friends at uni and deepen existing friendships.
How to Make Friends at Uni
Even if you’re a social person, you may not be aware of all the places you can go to meet people at Uni. When you think about it, it’s pretty ridiculous, especially if you go to a larger institution. So here are seven places to meet new people at uni:
Campus events are an excellent way to meet new people. They provide an automatic talking point, and they cater to both introverts and extroverts.
Facebook and Instagram has made it easier than ever to stay up to date on these events. Furthermore, there are countless posters advertising them all over campus. The real challenge is deciding which ones to attend, as there’s probably something going on every night of the week.
As a new student it is important to attend Freshers Week. This welcome week is a whirlwind of social events, fairs, and the completion of important administrative tasks. It’s usually more like two weeks, and its purpose is to give you time to make new friends and adjust to your new surroundings before classes start.
Campus organisations may be the best place to meet new people. This is due to the sheer number of them. Whether it’s a sport, a social cause, a recreational activity, a musical pursuit, or a career aspiration, there’s probably a club for it .
Clubs have all of the advantages of campus events plus the added benefit of meeting on a regular basis. This allows you to have repeated interactions with the same people, which is essential for forming friendships.
Choose your campus organisations wisely. It’s fine to try out a bunch of different clubs at the start of the semester, but it’s better for your social life and stress levels in the long run to commit to 2-3 clubs that you really enjoy and care about.
Consider joining the TEG Club if you are a UWS London student. This will allow you to meet your fellow students and participate in a variety of educational, social, and health-related issues. Another option is to join the UWS Students Association. They are here to assist you during your time at UWS, and all students are welcome to participate in the Students’ Association by joining a society or receiving assistance in forming one. Societies are a great way to meet new people and make new friends. They can also assist you in building onto some of the skills you acquired during your studies.
Classes have the obvious benefit of a shared interest! If you spot a new potential friend in your class, try to sit near that person. Introduce yourself with a smile. Following the introduction, inquire about the student’s course, hometown, and accommodation to get to know them. This is a great way for a friendship to blossom!
People frequently overlook this, but if you keep an open mind, you can meet some really interesting people on campus.
This includes everywhere that isn’t class. Here are a few examples:
- The gym (clearly a shared interest if you’re both working out).
- The student union (great for people watching, but also a nice place to strike up casual conversations)
- Waiting in the hall (whether before class, a meeting with a professor, or something else)
- Walking around campus
Because this requires you to initiate conversations with strangers, this is probably on the more “advanced” level of making friends. But it’s a great way to overcome shyness and increase your confidence.
If you’re not in class, you’re probably in your accommodation. Particularly if this is your first year of uni. This is a great place to meet new people as they encourage spontaneous social interaction. It’s a great way for friendships to form whether you’re doing homework in the common area or brushing your teeth in the community bathroom.
Even if you live in an off-campus apartment, you can make an effort to get to know your neighbours. Starting with your roommate is a great option!
Campus jobs or part-time work
People often talk about having “work friends” in the “professional world.” However, you do not need to have a full-time job to take advantage of this. Aside from the obvious time management and monetary benefits, campus jobs are a fun way to meet new people.
Working on campus or part-time will allow you to interact with the same people every day. This is an even better strategy if you work in a job with a lot of downtime, such as reception.
Whatever is going on in your life, you will want friends by your side! Making friends online is becoming more common as technology advances.
Making friends online can take many forms, the most obvious of which are any Facebook groups associated with your class or school. People make friends simply by being active in the class Facebook group even before the semester begins.
From acquaintances to friends
So you’ve visited some of the places mentioned above and met some people. Ideally, you’ve chosen a location where you can meet some of the same people repeatedly in order to establish rapport. You might have even exchanged phone numbers or added each other on Facebook.
How do you take the relationship to the next level? How do you go from being an acquaintance to becoming a friend? The answer, it turns out, is straightforward. Not necessarily simple, but certainly straightforward.
To make things easier, you should focus on one or two relationships at a time. Going out and meeting new people is a good way to sharpen your social skills and broaden your network, but when it comes to making new friends, keep it small. Especially if you’re an introvert who finds social interactions exhausting.
It’s also best to keep things casual at first, just like dating. Message the person and propose a coffee or (cheap) lunch meeting. These settings are ideal because they are low-pressure and allow for quick exit if the conversation becomes tedious.
If you want more structure, suggest an activity that you both would enjoy, preferably one that isn’t too strenuous. That is, taking a walk in a nearby park is probably preferable to suggesting the two of you hike the Appalachian Trail.
Pick an activity that allows you to converse with each other. So, for example, eating a meal together is preferable to watching a movie. If everything is going well, you may be ready to move on to the “next level,” which we’ll discuss in the following section.
Deepening and preserving your friendship
Assume you’ve completed Part 2 and can now confidently call yourselves friends. How do you keep this friendship going and take it to the next level?
Keeping the friendship is similar to the previous section. Simply stay in touch and do things together on a regular basis. Pretty straightforward (though it can take some effort, especially when your life gets busy).
The key to deepening a friendship is vulnerability.
It can be dangerous to let your guard down. However, being your true self, flaws and all, is the only way to build an authentic relationship with friends. Vulnerability allows your friend to be their flawed self. This can be painful. And risky. But also tremendously rewarding.