You finally got there! You completed the adventure that was high school and have started your next journey in higher education. Now, you feel as if you’re ready to take on the world! But there’s something on your mind: how to make friends in college! Don’t fret too much. We’ll be sharing our top tips on how to make these first introductions and talk to potential friends. Whether you’re an introvert, an extrovert, or a commuter to campus, meeting new friends is much easier than you think!
One Adventure at a Time
Starting new adventures is a part of growing up. And after you learn how to make friends in college, you’ll want to start collecting exciting experiences. Create amazing bonding moments and memories with the help of Adventures From Scratch: Friends Edition! With over 50 challenges, this scratch-off adventure book will have you exploring inside and out as you get to know your future besties. Check out these unique activities today!
Opportunities for Growth in New Environments
Adults in our lives prepare us for most things concerning college, from how to survive the first year in the dorms to how to take the best notes during a lecture. But not many people think to give you tips on how to make your first friends. Where can you go to find them? How do you introduce yourself? How do you know if you’ve met the right group of people?
With so much uncertainty, the change from high school to college can sometimes be a little scary. But it’s incredibly important nonetheless. Since you’re being thrown into an unfamiliar environment and are expected to properly adjust, it’s crucial for college students to take the time and meet people. You’ll find college to be a time of rapid growth, and having friends by your side will ease the process.
Shifting Social Connections
You may be tempted into thinking your current social circle is all you need. After all, at home, your friends were made up of people from your neighborhood and school—you’ve known some of them for practically your whole life! College connections, however, are just as important.
In college, everyone is meeting each other at the start of their adulthood. And you’ve all become much different people from who you were ten years ago. That means you now have the opportunity to socialize with different people who more closely align with who you are.
When in college, you and your friends will be learning how to be adults together. This creates a whole new dynamic and actually can affect your growth as a person. Whether it’s physical health or mental health, it’s important to have this social life. This is why you need to know whom to surround yourself with and how to go about it.
Common Ways to Make Friends in College as an Extrovert
Would you be described as the life of the party or a social butterfly? Are you the one who introduces yourself first in a crowd? Chances are you might be an extrovert!
Extroverts are people who have a great social battery and generally have an outgoing and expressive personality. Making friends might have even come quite naturally to them, but how does this translate to the bigger school?
There are many ways to get into college life and start socializing with other first-years and upperclassmen. The best way is to look at what’s happening around you!
In the first couple of months of your college experience, there are always tons of different social events going on! Check the calendar for specific events that are outlined for socializing. These can be campus events on the quad, late-night events hosted at the student union, and many more!
It doesn’t matter if you’re interested in sports or not—sporting events are a great social outlet! Whether outside in a stadium or intramural, watching a game is a great way to find people with a mutual interest in the sports team. You can also find others who are just hanging out, feeding off of the energy and excitement of it all. This can branch into joining a sport! If you had a passion for a sport before college, why not try bringing it over into your campus life?
Campus Clubs or Student Organizations
Clubs are another great way to get involved. When you check your calendar, look out for events like Student Club Day, when you can browse all the campus organizations and make your entry. Universities generally have over 100 clubs, so you’re bound to find one that piques your interest. Joining a club is a great way to find people with similar hobbies. Introduce yourself to something new, and find a hobby either outside or inside the major you’re studying.
Within the Dorm
Sometimes, friends can be right down the hall. Something that tends to be very popular on campuses is students leaving their dorm rooms open during the first couple weeks of school. This is an open invitation to meet someone and create new friendships without having to even leave your dorm! So whether you go exploring for other dorms or leave your own door open, it’s a friendly way of saying you are open to conversations.
If you love community and brotherhood/sisterhood, joining a sorority or fraternity just might be the thing for you! Greek life focuses on building communities between its people while hosting fun events with each other. If you have the means to do it, this might be the perfect way to meet your next group of friends.
General Social Interaction
This one may seem like an odd one but can be rather effective! It’s important when making new friends to take an interest in each other’s, well, interests! While this can relate to activity-based things, a person’s appearance can also say a lot about them. Offering a compliment is an easy way to give someone a boost while starting a conversation! This can even help you think about clothing differently and maybe even encourage you to take inspiration. There’s nothing wrong with being observant!
Making Friends in College as an Introvert
Are you someone who focuses on balancing life with friends and personal life? Do you tend to find comfort within your own room the majority of the time? It sounds like you might be an introvert!
An introvert is someone who has a good social battery but tends to need to recharge more gradually than others. That doesn’t mean you can’t make friends or don’t have social skills. It just means it takes some time for you to warm up to people!
However, since it does take time to warm up, making new friends at a big university may seem a bit intimidating. Never fear, though! There are still easy ways to make the introduction that will push you just enough outside of your comfort zone!
Talk to Classmates
Sometimes when we’re in our classes, we forget that it’s a perfect opportunity to meet new people! Try introducing yourself to people in your classes. Whether it’s a class for your major or one for your general education requirement, you’re going to find people with similar interests in both!
Make the First Move
It seems like an act that is so simple, but it actually makes quite a difference! Being the one to initiate hangouts and conversation changes the story. It tells others that you want to get to know them better and are willing to make the time to do so. It seems easy at first but can sometimes be harder in practice. Keep that confidence in you, and work your way up to it!
Start a Study Group
Adding on to finding people within your classes, a great way to bring these people together is to form a study group! This way, you can all share a common interest while also getting to know each other a little better. A study group can then develop into regular hangouts without it even having to relate to the class. This method is both effective and productive for everyone involved!
Common Gathering Places
In most academic buildings, you’ll find a common area where there’s plenty of seating in an open room. Between classes when you have a chunk of time, try hanging out in these common areas! Chances are, people here are also trying to find people to connect with. The situation is low stakes, and you get to be in a (usually) calming and quiet environment.
The Dining Hall
Sometimes, like-minded people can form together as a breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner crew. When you’re a first year, it’s completely understandable to want to go up to a lunch table and introduce yourself! This is an excellent way to meet new people and maybe even find a good friend from it.
Greeting Someone Different Every Day
This one can seem intimidating if you have natural anxiety in social situations but what a great way to set a goal and challenge yourself every day! This task can help you feel more comfortable with making open connections with people and extending that branch past your comfort zone. See if you can rise to the challenge with this simple idea. How can you fit this into your daily routine?
How to Make Friends in College as a Commuter
Sometimes, it doesn’t matter whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert—you just need good tips on making friends in any circumstance! It’s so important that your first time on campus feels comfortable. This is why living off campus can sometimes be tricky.
Lots of people commute to colleges, but for some, it can feel like it removes the ability to form strong connections. However, this doesn’t need to be the case! There are still plenty of ways to meet new people while not living on campus
Here are some great ways to still engage with classmates and make lifelong friendships at your college campus.
Some universities have amazing job opportunities or internships right on campus. Rather than feeling as though you need to hang out on campus for no rhyme or reason, try looking into these as some options! You’ll be able to meet tons of new people while still making your time on campus worthwhile.
While starting with your classroom may be good at first, if the class is a large lecture-style environment, it may not be the best way to interact with others. This is when picking your classes for next semester comes in handy! You can choose classes that are lab-style. Or look for descriptions that make the class seem interactive. That way, you have more time to socialize while still working. This can also open the door to a plethora of interesting classes and ideas you would never think to look at before!
Say maybe you don’t have the time at the beginning of the semester to sit around on campus waiting for opportunities. Try making connections online using the campus portals or different apps like Instagram! Social media is an easy and accessible way to connect with other students and is great if you’re a commuter. You can connect online and open that invitation to hang out on or near campus.
This one seems a bit average, but it can truly make a difference! The main difference between commuter and non-commuter students is the time spent on campus: Non-commuters have more time to introduce themselves in person. While in classes or in your academic building, make a goal of introducing yourself to someone new every day.
Hangout Spots Outside of Campus
As a commuter, sometimes you don’t even need the campus to make new friends! Do some research on the town to find any spots that students find as common ground. This could be a nearby bookstore, pizza place, coffee shop… you name it! Think of this as a more relaxed way of meeting people. It’s a little more low pressure, as well, which may help!
Another great way to meet new people is to get involved with the community! You could volunteer as part of a club or group of people you’ve discovered on campus. You might also find a community off campus. Volunteering can help you meet people with similar values and passions. You might even meet people of different ages! Plus, you’ll be doing something for the good of the whole while taking ab opportunity to socialize.
Some Easy and Hard-Hitting Questions
Now you know some ways to meet new people, but this is only the start of getting to know the people around you. There are still a few things to consider.
While some people may joke about small talk, it can actually be incredibly helpful for seeing if you mesh well with another person. Here are some easy questions you can ask that are interesting and may reveal a lot about them:
- Where are you from?
- What is your major? Why did you choose it?
- Have you seen any good movies lately?
- What songs have you been listening to recently?
- What are some of your favorite activities/hobbies?
- Do you have a favorite book?
- What made you want to choose this university?
- What is your favorite game (sport, board game, video game, etc)?
- Do you have a nickname?
- What is your favorite animal?
Once you’ve gotten to know someone well enough and you want to ask some deeper questions, try these simple ones that can make someone think a little more:
- If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
- What brings you joy in life?
- What did you want to be when you were little?
- What is your proudest accomplishment as of right now?
- If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
- If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be?
- Do you like or dislike surprises? Why or why not?
- Who would you want to be stranded with on a deserted island?
- What is the best gift you have ever been given?
- What is the worst gift you’ve ever been given?
Asking these questions may seem basic or even a little weird to do at first, but it can be a really fun way to get to know each other. Sometimes, breaking the ice and opening up to one another can be difficult. This is why it’s always good to start with easy and lighthearted questions to create that fun experience together!
While shifting to a college setting is a big change, you don’t have to do it alone. As you learn how to make friends in college, you’ll get to share experiences with another person. This opportunity is extremely special and can lead to incredible memories that you share and remember for years to come. Creating this social interaction can also help you mentally and physically adjust to your life away from home. Hopefully, you’ll find your best friends on campus or your next friend group.
In the meantime, try something new when starting your journey through college. Never stop discovering and meeting people, even if you’re going into your fourth year there. There will always be time for other adventures along the way.
If you want some tips on how to make your friends feel fully supported, read our article on “How to Become a Better Listener“!
Being able to put yourself out there is a huge accomplishment, but being able to create lasting friendships with people is the true reward. If you and your new friend group want to unpack who is who in the group, read “Three Types Of Friends: Which One Are You?” and see if anyone matches up!
Frequently Asked Questions
It can be hard to make friends in college at first! It’s totally normal to not always find someone who clicks with you in the first couple of days, but there are plenty of resources and events to go to!