How to make friends in college?
It’s a question as old as time, sometimes mulled over endlessly, other times more of a subconscious idea.
Whether you’re new to your university or have been there for some time, you could use some friends to study, laugh, cry, and enjoy life with.
Well, you’ve come to the right place!
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Here are our best tips for how to make friends in college:
1. Be Friendly and Open to Possibilities
Nothing will help you make friends more easily than being friendly, as you might imagine. We all have our own unique take on how to be friendly, from smiling at others to walking straight up to someone to introduce ourselves.
Being friendly and personable might make you acquaintances easily, but to take it to the next level, be open, as well. If you get invited for a coffee or to a party, say yes, if at all possible. If it’s not convenient, move things around and really try. And if it’s just not going to happen, propose a new time to meet up. This way, you’ll still show them that you really care about getting to know them. Finally, don’t just look for friends; be a friend.
“If you go looking for a friend, you’re going to find they’re very scarce. If you go out to be a friend, you’ll find them everywhere.”Zig Ziglar
While friendliness and personability are important, it’s crucial also that you…
2. Don’t Change Who You Are
While you want to be open to new possibilities, don’t change who you are, fundamentally speaking.
There are more than 7.8 billion people in the world, several hundred or thousand of whom are in your college alone. Some people may not share your particular tastes, interests, political views, religious opinions, or sense of what constitutes having a great time. And that’s okay, because there will undoubtedly be people who do match up with you.
However, don’t discount the people who don’t share your likes, dislikes, and beliefs. College is all about broadening your mind and letting you experience new things, and this includes people, as well. Your next BFF could very easily be someone who has completely different views than your own!
3. Ask Questions
Questions are great ways to make friends, because it shows you want to continue a conversation and get to know that person better. According to a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology by the American Psychological Association, asking questions is one of the key acts to increasing likability in you from others. In the report, it states:
“Across 3 studies of live dyadic conversations, we identify a robust and consistent relationship between question-asking and liking: people who ask more questions, particularly follow-up questions, are better liked by their conversation partners. When people are instructed to ask more questions, they are perceived as higher in responsiveness, an interpersonal construct that captures listening, understanding, validation, and care.”
“The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when one asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer.”Henry David Thoreau
Don’t ask yes-no questions, but rather questions that require some thought and a more detailed response on their part. Follow up, as well, either with additional questions or with a similar fact or story about yourself. The key is to assure them that you want to talk with them and get to know them on a more personal level. Check out our list of the best icebreaker questions if you want some ideas!
4. Attend Campus Events
School-sponsored events are great places to meet people during your university years. You can show some school spirit and root for your college at the next football game, attend workshops put on by your college to develop your skills, or take in a concert, reading, art exhibit, play or art performance.
Finding these university events are pretty easy—just visit your college’s website. There you’ll most likely find an events calendar of happenings, both academic and non-academic. Here are some examples from Northwestern University, Stanford University, New York University, Drexel University, and Cornell University.
“You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”A. A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
5. Head to Off-Campus Events
College events are great, sure, but there are many more events and opportunities to socialize outside your campus. Since you’re likely in a new city when you get to college, get out there and explore!
You can head to the local pub or club for a night out, meeting people by mingling at the bar. Find a trivia night to attend and join a team. Attend a workshop or conference and socialize with other attendees after it’s over.
6. Make Friends in the Classroom
Classes are one of the best ways to make friends in college. You’re already “stuck” with a fairly large and diverse group of students in each class. So, get to know them. Ask for help with your assignments when needed, or offer your assistance if you see someone struggling. Really work it when it comes to group projects in particular, as these provide the perfect opportunity to make acquaintances.
“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”Anaïs Nin
Or, you can also join a campus organization or take on other extracurricular activities, perfect for meeting people who share your interests and values. Some examples include the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics student organization at Colorado State University, the Parkour Club at the University of Idaho, or inQUEERy at NYU, which meets for movies, field trips, and discussions regarding LGBTQ issues.
7. Get a Job or Internship
I, myself, have been out of university for some time now, and just about all my friends, save for a few outliers, come from my job. Your job is an ideal place to make new friends, as you are obligated to work closely with a group of people for dozens of hours each and every week.
Whether you get a job or an internship during college, use it to your advantage when it comes to making friends. Don’t spend your breaks or lunches alone; instead, be open and approachable. Internships in particular help you develop new friendships, as several of you might be hired at the same time for similar tasks.
8. Find Friendship During Your Everyday Routine
Sometimes, you don’t really have to do anything special to find friends while in college. Potential buddies are everywhere, if you just get into the right mindset.
If you’re shopping for groceries and see someone you recognize from one of your classes, walk up to them and introduce yourself; the next time you see them in class, you’ll already have at least an acquaintance. When you head to the gym, strike up a conversation when appropriate.
“Smile at people everywhere you go. Don’t just give them one of those half-smirk/head nod things. Raise your eyebrows, show those teeth, and chuckle while you smile. Next time you’re at the store, give a full-hearted smile to at least three complete strangers. You’ll be amazed at what this does for them and for you.”Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing
9. Host Your Own Event
Tired of looking for events or finding that none of them quite fit what you’re looking for? Host your own event!
The most obvious idea would be to throw a party at your dorm or apartment, of course. It is a great way to meet people, certainly. However, there are many other things you can do if you have your own space and are keen on finding new pals.
Start a book club that meets each week at your place. Throw a dinner party and invite anyone who’s interested. Invite classmates over for a movie night. Or, simply propose to your college peers or group assignment partners that you all study together in your room.
10. Make Friends in Your Dormitory
If you live in a dorm, take advantage of being surrounded by your classmates and other peers. Hang out in the common area if you’re reading a book, smile at people you pass in the hallway, and be courteous with your music when you’re in your room. Make a special effort to befriend your roommate, as they will be part of everything for some time to come.
Also, don’t hang out in your room alone too often, as you’ll be missing out on opportunities to make friends during this time. Use your room for sleeping and hardcore studying, and do other less-important tasks or hobbies out in the shared space, if and when possible.
Related Read: 25+ Studying From Home Tips for Productivity and Success
11. Manage Your Own Expectations & Be Patient
Making friends takes time.
It’s important that you manage your own expectations on building new friendships at university. Don’t expect that it’ll be easy, don’t assume it’ll be quick, and also don’t get offended if one or two of the people you try to befriend don’t seem to want to form a closer bond with you.
According to a study by University of Kansas researcher Jeffrey A. Hall, on average it takes students 43 hours to turn casual acquaintances into friends, 57 hours for students to turn these casual friends into friend-friends, and 119 hours to get to best friends. For non-student adults, the time is almost double!
So, be patient. Making friends is a lengthy process, but that’s a good thing, too. Real friends will hopefully be around for you later in life, to vacation with, attend weddings, and be there when you need ‘em. Enjoy the process!
12. Join Goodwall!
Last but not least—
Join Goodwall (that’s us)!
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Well, that’s all our tips on how to make friends in college, and we hope it helps you build great, supportive, long-lasting friendships! Do you have any questions, feedback, or other tips for making new friends during your university years? Let us know in the comments below, and thanks for reading!