Humans, unfortunately, are social beings. We require human connection, friendship and love or we start to feel bored, lonely and depressed. So, whether you are good or bad at making friends, you are going to have to do it. Even if you feel like this:
If you’re just about to start university, then you’re probably about to move to a whole new place filled with strangers. Therefore, you’re going to need to make some friends quickly or you’re going to feel extremely overwhelmed.
I don’t care what excuses you give me, even if you’re not moving away from home and even if you already have friends. You’re about to start a new course, be in lectures, seminars and workshops with strangers surrounding you and you’re going to eventually have to do paired and group work (which in itself, is a good way to make friends). So you’re going to HAVE to talk to people anyway, so you may as well make them you’re friends so it’s not painfully awkward. So, get ready.
Luckily for you, there will also be hundreds of other students who are in the same boat as you and will also be looking to make friends. Even luckier for you, I am here to help. I am quite good at making friends if I do say so myself.
My first tip is just be shameless. On your first day, sit next to someone, anyone and just start talking. I usually say something embarrassing or stupid about myself because that usually makes them feel comfortable and that they can just be themselves. Now, you may be thinking you can’t do that, you’re not brave enough and that it would be quite awkward. But, at the end of the day – you’re going to have to eventually sit next to someone and yes, it will be awkward. Therefore, you may as well get that awkwardness out the way as soon as you can and start sitting next to strangers and start making friends!
I’m not saying it’s not scary, it is, it’s terrifying. Which leads me on to my next tip, prepare. If you’re prepared, you’ll be less scared. Simple.
I assume we all know the obvious when it comes to meeting new people and that we should greet them, introduce ourselves and ask how they are but if you’re like me and despise awkward silence then you know those three obvious pointers don’t make for lasting conversation. So, instead of being stuck looking like this:
Be prepared and start thinking now of questions you can ask. For example, “where are you from?”, “why did you choose this course/University?”, etc. Then, more than likely, your possibly new friend will also ask you the same questions so think now about how you can answer them and stories you can attach to your answers.
Don’t get stuck on your ideas though, let conversation flow naturally. You won’t need to prep that much – if you’re in lectures/seminars eventually you’ll be listening/working so you’ll be distracted anyway.
The only other time I can think of where you’ll also have to make friends is in your new accommodation but there will be quite a few of you so there isn’t as much pressure and you can always run off to your room if it gets too much. I’d say a great thing to do with your new roommates is to plan things to do together like nights out, freshers’ fairs, etc.
Other great ways to make friends is to join a club or society that you’re interested in so that you can meet others who also share the same interest. Not only does this make for an easy conversation topic but also a way to do something you enjoy while making friends.
Overall, don’t worry. You’ll be fine. You will make friends, hopefully some of the best friends you’ll ever have, and you’ll wonder why you ever worried in the first place.