Making friends in college can be really easy or really hard. If its easy for you, you probably wouldn’t be reading this right now. So I’m going to try to help you.
The mainstream advice is to just go introduce yourself and you will make new friends. Does that work? Sure it does. But it’s not always easy for someone with few friends to do this.
We’re going to talk about alternatives to meeting new people than just going up to random strangers and trying to build a bond with someone.
The Great Thing About College
There are so many opportunities to meet people in college. Once you realize this, the opportunities are endless. So without further adieu, let’s discuss how you can make some friends.
First Day of School
Schools starting for a lot of you guys. Whether it’s your first year or your fifth year, everyone is energized and excited to be back on campus. You can feel the energy. These first couple of weeks are the easiest to meet new people. Everyone is friendly and just getting back in the groove of being in school.
Don’t be shy. Introduce yourself. Get to know people.
Some of the people you meet the first weeks of a new school year may turn out to be some of your best friends in life or you may never hear from them again. Don’t take it personally. It happens. But take advantage of the first few weeks to meet some cool people!
If you’re living in a dorm or college housing, you’re surrounded by other college students. Chances are all you have to do is say hello and you can make a new friend.
You have to remember most college kids are somewhat shy and keep to who they know. It doesn’t mean they don’t want to make new friends, it’s just that no one is going to take the initiative to introduce themselves because….it’s not really normal.
So be friendly. Say hi. Introduce yourself, ask them where they’re from, what they’re studying, what they like to do.
If you go to a large school, you’ll have large lecture halls and small classrooms for your discussions. Wow this really brings me back to college just writing this (side note).
If you’re so lucky to be in a large classroom you should have the option to choose where you sit. So find someone you want to get to know and sit next to them. Ask them a question about the class, the homework, the lecture or to borrow a pen. It doesn’t really matter. Just get the conversation going and see if it leads to talking about other stuff.
I can’t really say what it’s like going to a super small private school. Business school was a lot smaller and we had assigned seats but we were also a lot more mature and making friends seemed a lot easier.
As usual, everything starts with saying something, saying anything. If you don’t make friends with the person you’re sitting next to, don’t sit next to them again 🙂
If you don’t want to join a fraternity (see below) then student clubs are another option for you. There are student clubs for almost any interest you may have on college campuses nowadays so you can actually join one that interest you. You’ll meet like minded individuals in these clubs that share the same interests as you.
The great thing about student clubs is that people join because they want to and because everyone there wants to meet new people. So you’ll be welcomed when you join. Also, clubs have student officers that have responsibilities like organizing events and activities so you don’t have to go find your own things to do with people.
Join a club, make some friends.
The greek system isn”t for everyone. And that’s okay. I was in a fraternity and really enjoyed my time in it (as an alum, you are always a member).
Lots of people have this idea that fraternities are all about hazing, partying (alcohol/drugs), sex, and failing college. I’m sure there’s a reason why fraternities have that reputation but it doesn’t mean all fraternities are like this.
Fraternities are a great way to meet more people – there are a lot of social aspects to fraternities with “socials”, exchanges, parties, and formals. You’ll meet a bunch of guys and a bunch of girls that like to have fun. You’ll play sports together, learn how to be a leader, study together and eat together. A lot of memories can be made through being in a fraternity.
But fraternities are expensive and not the only way to make friends. But this is a great option if you want to be part of an organization that can help you meet people in college and beyond.
If you’re athletic or want to play some competitive sports but aren’t good enough to play NCAA then sign up for some intramural club sports. The great thing about intramural sports is you can sign up with some friends or by yourself and be put on a team.
There’s a lot of bonding that happens in competitive sports so this is a great way to get to know people on and off the field. Take advantage of being active and making a few new friends.
In case you didn’t know, intramural sports can be coed so you can meet both guys and girls.
Hopefully you guys are lifting so you can look better than the average dude. If you go to the gym you can meet a ton of people.
- People that spot you
- People that know exercises you want to learn
- Girls working out
- Student workers
If you don’t have any friends, you might not be going to a lot of parties. But if you can leverage some of the friendships you make through the other ways then you can roll to parties with people.
Guess what the great thing about parties is? People are there to socialize and have fun. You don’t even need to be the most social person in college to make new friends. As long as you can start a conversation you’re good to go.
Go to a party. Have fun. Smile. Talk to people. Make new friends. Boom.
Is that what they call it? It’s been so long since I’ve been an undergrad that I forget the exact title for what they call student work. I’m not going to date myself but I’m a dinosaur nowadays compared to you guys just going to college.
I worked in college so I feel qualified to speak on this.
I worked at the Science Library at the front desk. I checked in and checked out books. I was the guy that people came to, to get the books on reserve they needed for their course work. I also worked as a bank teller at a commercial bank and did an internship at an investment bank.
All I can say is having a job on campus is a great way to meet new people. Sure you have to “work” but it doesn’t mean you can’t make friends. You can make friends with your coworkers, who are usually students and you can make friends with the “regulars” who always come by.
Your friends are not only friends but they are resources. If you know anything about networks and how they work (just think of facebook or twitter or instagram) you can meet a bunch of people through these. Friends of friends they call it.
Too many people, young and old, have their core group of friends and believe that’s all they need. But this is how you limit your social circle.
Do yourself a favor and be opening to meeting new people. This means joining your friends at lunch and other activities and also mentioning they should invite so-and-so they you briefly met or heard about.
You never know who you’ll meet through friends: a new best friend, some guys to party with, a girl friend, people you’ll take classes with…who knows.
Make Friends Be Cool
There are so many ways you can make friends in college. Humans are social creatures and want to be liked. Go out there and make friends.
The only way people aren’t going to want to be friend with you is if you are weird, say stupid stuff, look like an idiot or they (the other people) are just closed minded individuals.
I’m probably missing some additional ways you can make new friends in college. If so, feel free to post them and share.