We’ve all heard stories (whether from friends, family members, or the media) of people who meet their best friends in college. Sometimes it seems like everyone you know met their lifelong friends in those four years – no pressure, right? Starting college can be scary for a lot of reasons, and one of the big ones is the idea of making friends, especially if you’re going to school far away from your hometown or don’t know anyone else on campus.
Here’s a secret, though: almost everyone you meet is probably also trying to make friends, even if they aren’t in their first year! And as difficult as it can seem, meeting potential friends is actually very easy. Think about it – you’re on campus with, most likely, thousands of other students your age who are also looking to make friends. The odds are definitely in your favor! That said, here are just a few tips to help you meet new people and stay positive while trying to make friends in college:
- Join a club. This seems obvious, right? This is very common advice when it comes to meeting new people and making friends, but that’s just because it’s such great advice! Unless you make a habit of joining clubs you aren’t actually interested in, chances are that any new people you meet through a club share at least a few of your interests. This is especially true for clubs or organizations that are related to your degree or career interests!
- Meet your neighbors. If you’re living in a dorm or apartment complex with other students, get to know the people living next door to you! While at first it may seem like the only thing you have in common is the building you’re living in, with such a diverse group of students you’re sure to meet at least a few people that have common interests. Maybe your next-door neighbor is in one of your classes and you can share notes and study together, or someone down the hall is in a club you’re interested in joining and you’ll already know at least one person at the first meeting! So hang out in the dorm lounge, leave your door open when you’re hanging out in your room, or be brave and go knock on a few doors and introduce yourself. You’re probably going to be seeing these people a lot, so get to know them!
- Get to know your classmates. Whether you like group projects or not, they’re something we all have to deal with in college, and if your professors allow you to pick your own groups then it always helps to know some of your classmates! Even if the class doesn’t involve any group projects, it’s still a good idea to introduce yourself to the people around you, if only to have people you can share notes with and study with for tests. This is especially important in classes for your degree – you’re probably going to have more classes with these students, so get to know them early!
- Go to events on campus. It can be easy to fall into a routine of going to class, work, and club meetings and then going back to your dorm or apartment, but you’re probably going to see the same people all the time. Really want to get out there and meet new people? Try shaking up your routine by going to a concert or even just hanging out on campus after class. No matter how small your school is you’re bound to meet at least one person you didn’t know before.
- Be patient and keep trying. You probably didn’t have the exact same group of friends all the way through high school – people change and grow apart. And that’s okay! This is important to remember when you’re trying to make friends in college, especially if you aren’t a new student. Just because you don’t think you’ve found your lifelong best friends yet doesn’t mean that it’s true. Friendships take time to grow and don’t just happen overnight. Just keep putting yourself out there!