For college students heading off for your freshman year means getting used to a whole new environment with new places and new people. It’s a chance to find yourself and to hone social skills like how to make new friends. I lived on campus my first year and dorm life brought with it a ready-made set of new friends.
Still, it took me a while to settle in and make connections with roomies and dorm mates. Some of these friends may turn out to be life-long relationships but it doesn’t just happen on its own. Let’s see how one makes new friends.
How to find friends
In order to make new friends you have to find people who you’re likely to click with. Sitting around your dorm room is only going to get you so far. You have to get out and hang in the places where people are going to be. A good place to start is in the common room at your dorm. Here are a few more ideas of places to find new friends:
- Join a campus club: this is where you can meet people with shared interests
- Join a study group: working together with a common goal binds people together
- Attend social events on camp: less stressful than dating, group activities are a great way to connect with people
- Volunteer: on-campus opportunities include the campus newspaper or radio station
The first few weeks of the semester often include orientation sessions and social events designed to help freshman get acquainted with the campus, their programs and each other. Be sure to attend.
Tips for making new friends
Finding potential friends is just the beginning. It takes time to develop a real friendship. Six tips to keep in mind include:
1. Keep at it: there is an old saying that you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find a prince. You’ll have to interact with several other students before you find the ones that you click with. And don’t take it personally if it doesn’t work out, just keep at it.
2. Be a friend to have a friend: look for ways that you can be friendly with others. Keep your dorm room open when you feel like socializing and throw the occasional gab-fest in your room.
3. Get real: be yourself. People are going to see the real you sooner or later so they may as well learn who you are right from the start. Real friendship is based on honesty.
4. Relax: keep in mind that pretty much everyone else on campus is in the same situation as you. They are seeking new friends too and are just as nervous about it as you are.
5. Do stuff: I find it easier to get to know people when I’m doing something with them rather than just sitting and talking. That’s why I prefer to join clubs and do group activities when I’m looking to make new friends. Some of my strongest friendships have come from my interest in theater and working on productions together.
6. Schedule it: be sure to include time for friends into your schedule. Make it a goal to attend at least one social event of some kind each week.
Shana Lebowitz compiled a list of suggestions on, “How to Make New Friends (and Keep the Old) as a Young Adult,” for GreatList.com. Lebowitz reminded her readers that making new friends is something you’re going to be doing all of your life as you move, change jobs and grow older. One thing to keep in mind is that it’s important to cultivate a variety of friends.
“You could just as easily hit it off with a 40-year-old who works in finance if you have enough in common. Be open to forming new relationships with coworkers, neighbors, and classmates, no matter who they appear to be,” Lebowitz suggested.