How to make friends in Freshers’ Week, by someone who has loads of them

If you were asking, I’ve got 2,000


University is going to be the best time of your life: you can maintain the poor attendance record you started at school, experiment with disturbing sexual fantasies and maybe come out with a half-decent degree at the end.

Making friends goes a long way toward enjoying your time, and whilst approaching new people in new places can be daunting, hopefully with some heavily sarcastic advice you might be able to make a friend or two and become the social butterfly you hoped you could.

With upwards of 2,000 friends on Facebook and a whole host more real life people I would count as acquaintances, I feel I am qualified to help you. I have never been nervous of being in new environments with new people. Whether it was summer holiday camps or an ill-fated year as a cub scout, I have always effortlessly ensconced myself into the hearts and minds of my peers.

Friends

Me and about one per cent of my friends

Reinvention

For the most part, it is easy to go to university and pretend to be someone completely different. By this I do not mean you should defraud the education department, but rather reinvent your character and personality in order to better make friends. There are two methods of this.

The first is to totally and appallingly exaggerate the person you already are. If you were able to survive secondary school and sixth form without entering social Siberia then it is likely the formula you are currently working off is suitable. However, there is always room for improvement. A non-regional dialect must become posher and over exaggerated, a thick scouse accent must become hoarser and a Geordie accent more comical. The story of the time you went clay pigeon shooting must become a bi-weekly grouse hunt, the tale of your first festival must turn into your monthly pilgrimage to Fabric. That two week trip to the Hilton in Bali when you were 10 swiftly becomes your life-changing mind altering gap yah with Teddy, Oscar and Lulu from Havering-Atte-Bower.

The second method is to completely reinvent yourself as someone new. None of your new friends at university will know that you’re the guy who potentially masturbated in school, none of them know you’re the one that got photographed naked doing lines of cocaine. If you want to distance yourself from your signet wearing ancestors then you can don a baseball cap and buy a ket spoon. If you want to masquerade as a home-counties bunny then you can buy a charity shop Barbour and develop a proclivity for Pink Vogues.

On location

There are many places to make friends during Freshers’ Week. University will throw you into a melting pot with a thousand and one other students in your position, and anywhere you go is the place to be making friends.

The club

The humble club is perhaps the best place to make friends. Free from inhibitions you can flirt and befriend at will. You will never shake more random hands or be hugged by more dangerously intoxicated people.

Literally 90 percent of these people are my friends

Literally 90 percent of these people are my friends

Always assess the situation before offering to buy a drink for your new flat mates to avoid the leechers. Don’t get too drunk – you wouldn’t want to lose the potential friend of a lifetime by vomiting on their Yeezys.

Societies

Sports are great for friends

Sports are great for friends

Taking part in the same sport or hobby will allow for flowing conversation and strong friendships. Be wary of joining fringe societies like DabSoc (link) etc as these, whilst amazing fun, will likely lead to social segregation as your conversation topics shift from experimental pharmaceuticals and who snapped who’s banjo string to the slightly more risqué “which song is the best to get down and dabby to?”.

The campus shop

It seems that booze fuels most nights of any quality during fresher’s week. Faced with high supermarket prices and your flat mates’ lack of interest in the homebrew walnut liquor your disgustingly middle class parents packed you off to university with, it is likely that you will need to visit the campus shop or local off-licence for supplies. Laughs can be shared as you queue with someone who has also risked the dangerous offer on the off-brand boxed wine.

Lectures

Inevitably you will eventually have to go to lectures. One of my many friends, and one in the same lectures as me, Nischal Neupane of Aldershot had some pearls of wisdom to share.

“Most people in lectures won’t know each other during freshers, so strike up a conversation with anyone when you’re waiting outside the lecture hall. Tread carefully however, you don’t want to make conversation out of politeness with a freak and later have him feature you in a Tab article against your will. Finally: never raise your hand during a lecture. Whilst your degree may suffer, you will be awash with friends as the lecturer finishes on time with no laborious questioning”.

Online

Away from the judging eyes of the public and with the freedom to edit your ugly profile photos to your hearts content, the internet is an excellent for making friends. Cringe opening messages can be undone in an instant: “yeah that was my friend”. Girls you could barely imagine even looking in your direction are just a friend request away, and the conversations with the curiosities from the fetish society you try so hard to hide your involvement with can be deleted at the touch of a button.

I met these two online. They were here under their own volition too. Fantastic!

I met these two online. They were here under their own volition too. Fantastic!

Conversation, conversation, conversation

With any friendship there should be a certain amount of witty banter, stimulating intellectual debate and the occasional inappropriate sexual remark that leaves both of you red-faced. Stick to these key topics of conversation to make sure you’re onto a winner.

Sexual promiscuity

Grossly exaggerating about imagined sexual encounters to your flat mates is encouraged. “Never have I ever” wouldn’t be nearly as fun if Dave from Essex admitted that he in fact hadn’t fisted a girl behind a bin on results night.

They are all discussing last night's antics. Make sure the stories about you are fantastical and fabricated.

They are all discussing last night’s antics. Make sure the stories about you are fantastical and fabricated.

Education

If you find yourself talking to the elite from the home counties, you can wax lyrical about the expensive private schooling you received, at a location so exclusive (read: non-existent) that even the Charterhouse select won’t have heard of it. Conversely if you find yourself talking to man from ends, then you can delight in embellishing the story of your actually quite reasonable education, whilst lying about the mass brawls and class room orgies than are so unlikely to have occurred.

‘Pharmaceuticals’

If you experimented with recreational drugs at sixth form, then it’s quite likely you’ll continue that trend at university. But how are your flat mates to know you’ve never trifled with anything worse than a stiff drink? They won’t, until the first time that you white out during a pres, or the regrettable K hole you’ll find yourself in on the first House music night. This is now even easier as to avoid regulation, legal highs have increasingly outlandish names: try telling your friends that you sampled some TRX at Boomtown, and watch in delight as they agree with you that it is a “sick high” despite it actually being the name of a suspension training device.

The Big D: Superhero of erm....Dogs, not Drugs...

The Big D: Superhero of erm….Dogs, not Drugs…

Body language

Most literature will tell you not to fold your arms when talking to someone, and to have your feet facing them, so as not to appear disinterested. If you want to make some friends then there are a few more pointers which you will do well to follow.

Do not make lewd sexual gestures towards your fellow students in the club (or indeed anywhere). Grinding on some poor girl, while visibly sweating with fear and the heat, will not do you any favours when it comes to making friends, and it will more likely see you thrown out, cold and alone.

Do not grappel with anyone like this in a club, there are hands everywhere here.

As a guy you should be shaking every hand you come within five feet of. Make eye contact, have a firm grip, imagine the two of you locked in a sexual embrace: this is sure to leave an infectious smile on your face which would brand anyone a fool not to make friends with you.

As a girl, tread cautiously with a hug or a kiss on the cheek with a stranger. A head of hair in the mouth of the unsuspecting mid hug will win you no favours, likewise an accidental kiss on the lips as you misread the logistics of the kiss-on-cheek scenario can spell disaster for people destined to live together for the next 12 months.

Friendship pitfalls: The Friendzone et al.

When making new friends there will be pitfalls. Always being the nice guy/girl may make you liable for entry into “the Friendzone”. This mythical place has had its legitimacy questioned for years, whilst it is true that no amount of friendship should ever entitle you to the romantic attachment of your peers, there is something very disappointing and avoidable about the girl/guy you want no longer seeing you as a sexual amuse-bouche but as more of a grand frère/ grande soeur because you deflected every advancement they made with a question about their parents or degree.

On the contrary to this however, it is important to maintain strict sexual boundaries with your flat mates, and perhaps course mates too. Whilst a quicky in the communal showers before catered dinner is all fine and dandy at the time, four pregnancy tests, two adultery related smoking area arguments and an STD later, things don’t seem so rosy.

Appropriate and sustainable relationship with friends. No sexing. No drama.

Appropriate and sustainable relationship with friends. No sexing. No drama.