Making Friends

It’s nice to know that someone’s got your back

Going off to college is scary. You have to leave your high school friends (and your comfort zone with them) behind. You pack up your things and move into a novel environment, surrounded by thousands of new people. Luckily, things become a lot less frightening after you make a few friends.

When you move into residence, you should immediately try to meet the people on your floor. Don’t worry about unpacking all your stuff; there will be plenty of time for that later. Walk around and poke your head inside doors. Remember that everyone else is in the same position as you are. No one knows anyone, and everyone is desperate to make some friends. Introduce yourself to everyone you see.

Don’t try to find a new best friend right away. Instead, keep your options open. Try to meet as many people as you can in the short term. Listen carefully to what the people you meet tell you. You’ll be bombarded with names and details about all the people you meet, but try to remember as much as you can.

Even if you don’t particularly like some of your new acquaintances, it’s a good idea to stay on good terms. After a few weeks, you can cull the herd and pick a few people whom you want to be close friends with.

Dos and Don’ts

Making friends in college might seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Follow these easy tips and you’ll be beating potential friends off with a stick:

  • Do: Start close to home. The first person you should try to make friends with is your assigned roommate. One friend isn’t enough, though, so you two can go on a friend hunt together. It will be less intimidating to introduce yourself to others if you have each other for support.
  • Don’t: Cling to your old life. Resist the urge to log on to your instant messaging program and start talking to your old friends from high school. Never go home the first few weekends after school starts. If you’re not on campus and trying to make friends, you may miss your opportunity.
  • Do: Bring people to you. When you’re inside your dorm room, leave the door open. Play some interesting music or make popcorn and let the scent waft down the hallway to attract people. Invite passersby in for a quick chat and some buttery goodness. If you want to go all-out, host a movie or board game night. You’ll be surprised how many students will wander around trying to meet people.
  • Do: Go to class early. In crowded lecture halls, make small talk with the people sitting around you. Start by asking them a few simple questions, like what their major is and if they’ve heard anything about what the professor’s like. Exchange e-mail addresses so you can share notes if you ever miss class.
  • Do: Join a club. Sign up for an extracurricular activity. This is a great way to meet people who don’t live on your floor and who aren’t in your program.
  • Do: Be yourself. There’s no point trying to make friends with people who don’t know the true you. Some people won’t like you or your values and beliefs. That’s fine. Find the ones who do.
  • Don’t: Say anything that could be offensive. College students may be very open-minded, but most don’t want anything to do with someone who says racist or sexist things.
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