Social life can play a big part in your college experience, whether you want to believe it or not. You don’t need to be the most popular kid on campus, and let’s be real, that contest has “cliche high school food pyramid movie” written all over it. I like surrounding myself with people because I find that I enjoy all my experiences more (yes, even studying!!) when I have friends with me. I know, it feels like forever since we had to introduce ourselves to new people, and actually get to know someone, so it may feel like you’re a little lost (a.k.a. me almost my entire first semester!!!!!).
There is no concrete “method” for making new friends in college guaranteed — you won’t make one little change and then end up with 50 new friends in a few days. But you can try doing a few different things to get to know some new people and possibly become friends with them.
1. Don’t hole up in your room all day long.
I made this horrible mistake for my first few months as a college freshman, and I honestly regret it. I didn’t know how to talk to people or how to make new friends since I haven’t had to get to know new people since high school. I was also too comfortable with the two friends I did have, so if they didn’t want to go to an event that I wanted to go to, I just decided that I should stay in because I didn’t know how to do things by myself. Eventually, I realized that that kind of attitude was holding me back from getting to know people, so I started going to events, taking up recreational classes, and thus began making new, amazing friends! Moral of the story: unless your dorm room has some magical gravitational pull that just attracts potential new friends without even trying, don’t hide in there all semester.
2. Get to know your roommate.
Your roommate could end up being your first new college friend, so don’t squander any potential opportunities to become friends with them. Get to know a little bit about where they’re from, what their major is and why they’re interested in the field, and other cool details. There’s so much you can bond over with your roommate. And if you live in a suite, the more the merrier! You’ll have the opportunity to get to know even more people. If you live in corridor-style accommodations, it might be even easier for you to get to know all the people on your floor because you’ll be sharing a bathroom with them and will be able to see them almost everyday. Did you check out my post on what to do before you meet your roommate? It could really help you avoid any potential conflicts with them!
3. Remain committed to the clubs you join.
It’s really easy to just sign your name and email on a sheet of paper for a club at the club fair, but don’t attend three meetings for the entire semester and then stop going to meetings; you won’t actually be able to enjoy the club and you’ll definitely miss out on getting to know a group of great people. Pre-professional clubs on campus are a great way to meet people who have similar career goals as you. You’ll definitely be able to help each other out and become great friends. Also consider joining Greek Life. Not every organization will be for you or have the same values as you, so don’t let some digging around deter you from joining something that can really change your life.
4. Small classes are the best for making new friends.
I say this because it may be a little difficult to do this if your class is in a lecture hall with 300+ people, but if you have even one college class that’s really small it’ll be really easy to make casual conversation with a classmate. In my Italian class, the professor makes us do textbook exercises in small groups, so this is the perfect way for me to talk to my classmates and get to know some of them. I actually already made a new friend this semester from that class! You don’t do group work in large lecture halls. You’re lucky if the professor puts a problem on the board and asks you to turn to your neighbor and discuss it for a minute, but that rarely happens. All of my journalism classes are really small (under 20 people) so it’s a great way for me to get to know people. Also, small classes usually begin with some type of icebreaker or with the professor asking for everyone to introduce themselves, so at the very least you’ll know everyone’s names.
5. You might only get one chance to add them on social media and get their phone number!
The other night, my floor had a meeting so we can all socialize and get to know one another and I met some really cool people, except I forgot to ask them if they had Facebook accounts so we could connect with each other. And I couldn’t find them on Facebook myself because I didn’t even know their last names. Oops. If you speak to someone and they seem cool and you guys get along, don’t forget to ask for their social media or even ask for their number. Asking for someone’s number isn’t as terrifying as it seems (if you remember to do it, unlike me!!!). When I was a freshman I was always surprised by how quick the people I met were to ask for my number. It showed me that there’s no harm in wanting to text someone one day to grab lunch or to go to an event. This also made me more likely to ask someone else for their number because you may not miraculously run into them again.
7. Actually message them to go grab some food or hang out.
After you get their number, don’t forget to actually use it, especially if the two of you really hit it off! One day I decided to take a Zumba class at the rec center on campus and I met a cool girl there. We exchanged numbers and the following week I messaged her to see if she was planning to go to Zumba again, and lucky for me it was a yes. From then on we met up and walked to the rec center together and we’ve been doing that for three semesters! Sometimes all it takes is that one text to start a real friendship. Even if you aren’t usually the kind of person to reach out to ask someone you just met to hang out, give it a try and see where it goes. I have already learned from experience that it’s rare to have incredible experiences if you keep staying in your comfort zone; besides, college is a lot about trying new things!
8. The first few months of school are the least awkward time to meet new people.
I say this because during the first maybe two or three months, everyone wants to get to know everyone; people don’t really have their “groups” formed yet; and people are generally the most friendly at this time when the course load hasn’t yet spurred the urgency to stop hanging out with people and start getting down to business (ah, what a rush that is). I’m not saying that it’s *ABSOLUTELY FORBIDDEN* to try to make friends after the first three months of school, or worse yet, if you do try to make friends afterward *ABSOLUTELY NO ONE WILL TALK TO YOU*, but you might feel a little awkward trying to meet new people then. I know I definitely felt like it was ‘too late’ for me to meet new people and I wasn’t really motivated to try, which can really hold you back from, you know, trying. This is definitely going to sound cheesy, but it’s never ‘too late’ to try anything! The only thing holding you back is yourself.
9. Make a good first impression by just being yourself!
Don’t act like someone you aren’t just to fit in; it simply isn’t you and you owe it to yourself to make friends who love the real you, not someone they want you to be. Sometimes I’m weird, like really, really weird; I tend to babble on and on, my eyes tear up when I start talking about something I’m really passionate about, and I can laugh nonstop like a hyena when I find something really funny. But, hey, that’s just me. I usually have those moments where I meet someone new and I just let my whole self out and then realize that there’s a chance they’re thinking that I’m really weird, but it’s okay; if they welcome my weirdness it means they genuinely like the person that I am. Plus, some people can just tell that you have a great character, so don’t hide that!
10. Don’t be afraid of cutting off people who aren’t genuine friends.
I certainly don’t go to college for drama so if I smell it brewing or if I think the person I’m talking to is two-faced or just not genuine, I stop talking to them because I don’t need to hang with that crowd. You owe it to yourself to stay committed to your personal values, so don’t feel like you have to stay friends with someone if you don’t like their attitude. Making the right friends is just as important as making friends!
What are your tips for making new friends in college?