The start of a new semester means that you have an opportunity to meet new people. Here are tips on how to make friends in college and ways to these into lasting connections.
13 Social Tips on How to Make Friends in College Quickly and Easily
You'll learn a lot of things in school, but unfortunately, one of them isn't how to make friends in college quickly and easily. Luckily, there are several easy tips you can use to meet people who share your interests and to build lasting relationships with them.
Whether you're a freshman just starting your journey, or a student starting a new semester, you'll find that everyone around you is open to making new friendships and meeting new people.
It doesn't matter if you're outgoing or shy, someone who plays sports or who enjoys reading, there are dozens of ways to connect with other students and find your tribe. Here, we'll share 13 ideas to get you started.
Why You Need Friends in College
If learning how to make friends in college seems like a lot of work, it's worth pointing out that it's also worthwhile.
There are actual studies that suggest that students who take the time to meet new people and form relationships during the semester are more likely to get good grades and to graduate from their respective programs.
If you bond with other people around you, you'll also be better equipped to face the rigors of higher education. Having friends gives you a place where you can vent, get support, and blow off steam around people who share some of the same goals and dreams.
13 Ways to Meet and Make New Friends in College
You're unique, which means the ways that you like to meet and interact with people will be specific to you. This list includes ideas for everyone from introverts to extroverts to help you meet people and make meaningful connections while you're at college.
Don't be Shy- Say Hi
It's the easiest trick in the book, but one that's often overlooked. Every time you sit down next to someone you haven't met yet, say hi. Introduce yourself and try to start the conversation.
Even though it might be awkward in the first few seconds, it's the most critical step to making new connections. Not everyone will be an instant best friend, but you'll never know unless you try.
As a bonus, if you do this in a classroom or lecture hall, the professor will arrive shortly and let you off the hook if the conversation isn't flowing.
Be Yourself, Always
Making friends means meeting people with similar interests and goals. That's only possible if you let your personality shine.
It's proven that people are drawn to others like them, and it's essential always to be genuine and portray who you really are so that you meet others who appreciate the real you.
Leave Your Comfort Zone
It might be tempting to stay put in your dorm or room, but you'll miss out on opportunities to meet new people if you're always on your own. Venture out of your comfort zone and leave your personal space to increase the chance of making new connections.
Capitalize on the Dorm
If you're a freshman or living in a dorm on campus, you're in a peak position to meet new people who are going through similar experiences to you. Many dorms offer community spaces or shared rooms and organize events to help encourage students to interact.
Use these to your advantage. Show up, introduce yourself, and watch friendships form.
Check Out Local Coffee Shops
Sometimes, it's nice to break out of the little world that is your university campus and venture out to somewhere in the community. Try taking your study session or homework to a nearby coffee shop for both a change of scenery and a change of people.
You might find others who want to break out of their daily grind to connect with, and an opportunity to make friends with someone who isn't a student in the area.
Determine what Makes You Interesting
Every person is special and unique, and when you're meeting new people, it helps to know what makes you stand out. If you're an avid rock climber, love to read non-fiction, or have an incredible singing voice, it's fun to work these facts into the conversation so that you're both exciting and memorable to the people you meet.
You never know, you might develop an instant friendship over your love of yoga or video games that you only discover because of sharing your exciting traits.
Set a Daily Goal for New Conversations
If you're a goal setter, you might thrive by giving yourself a target to reach every day of a new conversation. Start by making it a point to talk to one new person per day. It can be any time of the day, and anywhere on campus in the community, but it has to be someone you've never interacted with before.
Granted, you won't become friends with all of them, but this goal can force you out of your comfort zone and open the door for new opportunities.
Participate in Extracurricular Activities
Regardless of which college you attend, there is no shortage of extracurricular activities in which you can take part. Do research on your campus to see what's available that fits your interests.
If you find one that includes doing something you love, the chances are good that the other students who join will be your type of people. It doesn't matter if it's swing dancing, golf, or a reading club; these activities make it simple to connect with someone who shares your passion.
Do Volunteer Work
Not only is volunteer work great for your resume after you graduate, but it's also a powerful way to give back to your local community.
Sometimes, it's easy to get stuck in your college bubble and not have a keen awareness of the world around you while you're at school. Volunteering is a great way to get a new perspective and to help you refocus your priorities throughout the year.
While you're out there making a difference in your community, you'll meet others who want to do the same and can develop connections that will last a lifetime.
Look for opportunities both on and off campus to find ways to connect with charitable work and the needs of both your school and the community at large.
Get in a Workout
Fitness isn't just a great way to keep you healthy and manage stress; it's also an easy way to meet people at college. Head to the gym or rec center and hit your workout without any headphones. That way, you'll be able to strike up a conversation if the opportunity presents itself.
You could also take a fitness class. Many colleges offer options that you can choose for-credit, as well as a range of options as part of their fitness center schedule. For some people, having that scheduled time to get in a workout is the best way to stick to the habit.
Class settings are also an easy place to meet people who also enjoy exercise and fitness. If this is one of your priorities and passions, it's a great way to find others who feel the same.
Start or Join an Academics Club Geared Toward Your Major
If you want to both have the opportunity to make friends and get some extra credit on your college resume, consider participating in a club that is geared towards your major.
Not only will this get you exposure to students who have similar goals to your own, but it will also help you go the extra mile in standing out among the competition when the time comes for internship or job opportunities.
It's also an excellent way to get more interaction with advisors or professors who may lead the club.
If there isn't already an option offered at your school, that doesn't mean you can't start one. Work with the campus staff to establish an interest and then take ownership and get the club off the ground.
Attend Events on Campus
Most campuses have dozens of events throughout the semester to help boost school spirit and help students interact.
Attend a sporting event and make friends with others cheering on your team. Head to a mixer, the farmers market, or the new smoothie tasting at the cafeteria.
If you're feeling really adventurous, pick an event that you don't know much about and get out of your comfort zone. Sure, a slam poetry reading might not seem like your thing, but you could be pleasantly surprised by how much fun you have and the interesting people you meet.
Brush Up on Your Small Talk
When you first meet someone new, it's easy enough to say "hello" and introduce yourself. For some people, it's what comes next that feels uncomfortable.
It might sound silly, but having a list of "small talk" questions like:
- Where are you from?
- What's your major?
- Who is your favorite professor so far?
- What's your favorite hobby?
- Can make it easier to keep the conversation flowing.
If it's still awkward once you get through the basics, then you can feel confident that this might not be a natural friendship, but you did your best to try.
Consider Greek Life
There are lots of reasons to consider joining a sorority or fraternity, and making friends is sometimes the number one for many students.
The Greek community is well known for hosting parties and mixers to help you meet and connect with other students, and they are also very involved with volunteer work and the betterment of the campus and the community.
If you decide to go this route, do research ahead of time to understand what the "rush week" on your campus entails, dues associated with the organization, and what will be expected of you as a member so that you're fully prepared.
There are dozens of tips on how to make friends in college, and these are just a few of the easiest. Remember, the most crucial part is to be yourself and to find people who "get" you. Not everyone will be your best friend, but building your social circle will give you an opportunity to thrive in your environment and enjoy your college life.