How to make friends at uni

A guide for making new friends when you move away for university

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Moving to university is a difficult time. You leave your friends and family and move away from everything you know. You have to make friends with brand new people who you'll spend the next three years with, but how do you do it?

Not everyone makes friends easily and it's totally normal to struggle, or to feel lonely while at university. So here's a guide made specifically to help you make friends in a new city while you're studying.

Making friends at uni

Join societies or sports clubs

Meeting people who have the same interests as you in a society is one of the best ways to make friends. Societies are sociable by nature and the focus of a common interest means you're unlikely to be stuck with an awkward silence.

Sports clubs are one of the best ways to make strong friendships at uni, if sport is your thing. You don't have to be amazing at it, there are loads of teams for all sports and they mostly lead to building really strong friendships.

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Volunteering

There are plenty of opportunities to take part in volunteering at uni, just ask at the SU. It's a great way to do something worthwhile and meet loads of new people at the same time.

Make the most of existing networks

If you have friends from home or school or any other walk of life who are at the same uni as you, get in touch with them. You might get on well with their friends too.

Be a friendly, happy person to be around

If you can stay upbeat at all times, and empathise without moaning, you'll be a really positive influence for those around you and people will enjoy your company.

Use people's names when you speak to them

But only if you can definitely remember it! It warms others to you if you repeat their name back to them and solidifies the connection of friendship.

Pay people compliments

Tell someone you like their outfit, or the song they've chosen at pre drinks, it will show people you have interests in common and you'll be more likely to form a bond.

Smile at everybody

Smiling is scientifically proven to make you more likeable and it encourages people to smile back at you. What better way to encourage a blossoming friendship?

Show interest in other people's interests

You might learn something new and develop your tastes, plus you'll make that person feel interesting and everyone wants to be friends with people who make them feel good.

Listen to others

And they will listen to you too. Everyone needs someone to talk to at the beginning of uni when there's a lot to worry about. If you listen to others, you'll quickly form trusting relationships and they'll return the favour.

How to make friends before uni

Join freshers' groups on Facebook

Join Facebook groups specifically for people starting the same course as you, or in the same halls of residence. This will enable you to make friends before you even get there, plus you can all vent your worries to each other and you'll realise that it's totally normal to have questions.

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Talk to people you may know who have been to university before you

Maybe a family member or friend who's a little older than you. They can advise you on what to bring with you, what halls will be like, how to host a fun pre-drinks and just generally what to expect. This knowledge will make you feel a lot more confident about heading to uni for the first time.

How to make friends during Freshers' Week

Chat to people on your course

Don't miss any days of uni in the first couple of weeks especially, as this is when friendships will start to form and you don't want to miss out on finding a fun group.

Be really friendly with your flatmates

Be open about what nights out you go on and even organise pre-drinks at the flat so people from your halls join you.

It's always great to initiate a cuppa together in the first week by baking something tasty (or buying it from the shop if baking isn't your thing). They'll smell something delicious and come straight to the kitchen for a gossip.

Prop your door open so people know you're in and come to chat in your room, especially the morning after a night out.

Chat to people on nights out

You might end up becoming best friends with someone you meet in the smoking area, or the toilet, especially if you're at a night with music you're really into. There's no harm in chatting to as many people as possible.

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How to make friends after Freshers' Week

Join a society or sports club

If you don't find your best friends in Freshers', that's not the end of the world. Sign up for a society or sports team and you'll end up with a brand new group of mates who share your interests.

Make an effort with your course mates

Once you spend more time in lectures and seminars you'll realise who's in each of your modules and you can chat to people who you know you'll be spending all term with. They'll appreciate having a friend to sit with and to discuss work with just as much as you.

How to make friends without drinking

Join a drinking society that doesn't revolved around drinking

Plenty of societies are based on day time activities where you don't have to drink. Although sports teams are very focussed on heavy drinking at socials, if you want to take part in the sport and not the drinking, this is a commonplace and is accepted.

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How to make friends without going out

Societies and sports clubs

As with not drinking, not going out seems like a taboo at uni, but it's easy to hang out with people during the day at societies and sports clubs.

Volunteering

This is an activity that pretty much takes place in the day time and you're sure to meet others who have the same reservations about going out as you.

Hang out with people on your course

As you'll be spending every day with these people for the next three years, it's good to always have them to hang out with during the day, and you won't have to worry about only seeing them on nights out.

How to make friends on your course

Always carry a spare pen

While this may sound like a minor thing, if someone asks to borrow a pen and you've got one spare, the window for conversation will open and you can start chatting about the content of the lecture.

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Study groups

Organise a study group and you'll always have a few people to rely on for advice about work or notes you can copy if you miss a lecture. Plus you can make studying more fun when you do it together.

How to make friends in halls

Make everyone a cuppa and some baked goods

As mentioned before, baking something for your flat is a great way to get everyone together and admiring your kitchen skills.

Encourage group meals

If you get into the habit of cooking together, or even just having dinner at the same time, you'll encourage the most primal form of bonding. Plus if you share meals, you'll save loads of money.

Make sure they know you've moved in

Bring a doorstop to uni and you can prop your door open so people know you're there. Decorating your door also alerts people that you've moved in.

Bring games with you

If you're the one in the flat who has a deck of cards, pre-drinks won't happen without you as they'll always be asking for your cards to play Ring of Fire. Other fun games like Jenga can be a great way to bond with your new flatmates.

Spend time in common areas

Spending time in the kitchen or living room means you'll always be bumping into people and you can chat to them about their day.

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If you don't get on with your flat, just go next door and knock on

It's a lucky dip when it comes to who you end up in halls with. You don't have to be tied down to those in your flat or corridor. There's no taboo when it comes to spreading your wings to other parts of your halls.

How long does it take to make friends at uni?

It varies for different people. A lucky few will meet their best friends for life in Freshers' Week, but most don't end up making their solid friends until later in first year, or even into second year.

How to make more friends at uni

You might have to move to a new group

If you're not getting on with your current friendship group, it might mean that it's best for you to find a new group of friends. Although this can sound like the scariest thing ever, it's easier than you'd think and the best thing for you.

Whether it's moving in with a different group of people when you change to living in a house in second year, or just taking up a new activity to meet new people, like a society or sports club.

It's never too late to make friends

Many people don't find their permanent group of friends until after first term, or even into second and third year. Don't be disheartened if you don't feel like you're in the right group, you can always make new friends.

How to make friends at uni while living at home

Make friends with people on your course

As your course is the only time you have to spend time with other students, this is the best place for you to make friendships. You'll always have someone to hang out with on campus and they will probably have a similar schedule to you, making it easier to hang out.

Societies

Again, this is one of the best ways to make friends with likeminded people and it's a great opportunity to socialise in the evening without needing to be in the same accommodation as other students.

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Go to pres in halls if you can

If you're going on a night out with other students, ask to join their pre-drinks in halls so you can meet their flatmates and experience part of the typical student experience, if that's your thing.

Facebook

Using Facebook groups or pages enables you to find people on your course or with the same interests without having to be fully immersed in the accommodation campus.

Spend as much time as you can on campus

Although it may be tempting to sit at home with a cooked meal and your dog on your lap, the best way to make friends at uni is by being on the uni campus as much as possible. You'll automatically meet way more people and always be available to meet people for coffee, lunch or a study sesh if you're in the area.

How to find flatmates

Use websites like SpareRoom

SpareRoom is great for finding a room in a house share quickly. You can select what kind of people you'd like to live with and what ages. It's the safest and easiest way to find a room quickly.

Facebook groups

Most universities have Facebook groups specifically for the purpose of finding rooms to rent in the student area. You can chat to people on there who are also looking, so getting to know them and getting a house together is always possible.

Worried or anxious about making friends at uni?

Talk to your family or friends from home

Hearing a familiar voice is always calming and if you have family members who have been to uni they'll give you advice from personal experience.

Talking to friends who have known you a long time will reassure you that you have loads of friends who love you and will give you confidence to go out and make more.

Feeling lonely at uni

Don't spend too much time on social media

People only post their best lives on social media – it's not an accurate representation of what their lives are really like. If you spend your day watching Instagram stories and scrolling through Facebook, you'll be convinced that everyone except you is having fun with their new friends. This is definitely not the case. They're all sat with a mug of beans doing the exact same thing.

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Hang out in the communal areas of your flat

You'll be guaranteed to be around people and if you pop the kettle on you'll have the chance to have a good chat with your new flatmates. The likelihood is they'll be feeling just as lonely as you so will appreciate you voicing your feelings.

Unsure about which uni you're going to?

If you're unsure which uni you're going to, read our guides to choosing which uni you should go to, how to use UCAS, A-Level results day 2018, UCAS clearing and the ultimate guide to Freshers' Week.

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1) How to deal with anxiety at uni

2) What to take with you to uni: The ultimate checklist

3) How to deal with relationships at uni

4) How to budget at uni