How to pick your potential friends in Cambridge

You need to pick the good ones before they’re all gone

Cambridge Freshers making friends Tab

Well done – you’ve made it to Cambridge.

Unless something goes drastically wrong between now and October you’ll soon be arriving in the hallowed halls you’ve (possibly) always dreamed of. But what now?

If you’re anything like me you’ll be drawing up lists of various stationary and kitchen equipment you’re not going to end up needing. (I write with last year’s whisk and weighing scales in mind.)

However, there is one way to really get ahead of the game. Gone are the lengthy mingling sessions one has to endure in the first few weeks in order to locate like-minded individuals. Instead, you can save yourself a lot of time if you pre-select your companions. To make this a little easier, I’ve devised a fool-proof way to finding your soul mates, with a little help from social media.

Create a shortlist based entirely on appearance

This may sound judgemental, but we have to be realistic – the Freshers’ page has a lotttt of members.

A sure fire way to whittle them down is to ruthlessly judge their profile picture, quickly binning any of the following: any pictures of cartoon characters; anyone who is posing in South East Asia, as they are clearly not over their gap year; anyone smiling with a small child somewhere in Africa, as they are probably a better person than you and you don’t want to have to constantly listen to their acts of altruism; anyone with more than 100 likes, as you don’t need that kind of celebrity in your life; and anyone kissing a significant other, or in fact any obvious PDA.


Scan their cover photos

Once you’ve collated your shortlist, you can afford to be a little more thorough. A quick scan of their cover photos will help you eliminate: anyone who thinks it is in any way okay to head their timeline with an emotional/inspirational quote; anyone who frequently uploads vintage photoshoots of edgily naked women, invariably smoking a cigarette; anyone who clearly plays far too much sport, and wants you to know about it; and anyone who is still fighting the system by not uploading a cover photo, in the deluded dream that the old Facebook profiles will ever make a comeback.


Evaluate their privacy settings

Are their settings so high that you can only see a thumbnail of their face, and it doesn’t even tell you where they’re from? Bin them. Not only are they not giving you enough information for the big life decision you’re trying to make, but they clearly think they’re a big deal. They probably have a great superiority complex, and don’t believe you are worthy of knowing even the slightest detail of their life, so screw them.

On the other hand, if you can literally see everything, that is not attractive. You’re in the exciting early stages of your relationship, so you don’t want to know how well they’re doing on Candy Crush. (Although admittedly an open profile is helpful for quickly identifying the people who have clearly not discovered Twitter. These people, who invariably bombard you hourly with new status updates on what exactly they’re doing in life, are an obvious no go.)

Living it large.

Have they already changed their educational institution to the University of Cambridge?

Woah. Stop. They’re way too keen. You don’t want to go there.

Too eager.

Check their presence on the Freshers’ page

This is the make or break issue. Are they already asking questions about the quality of the loo roll in your college bathrooms? This is not someone you want to be seen with. Furthermore, if they are overly present on the group then their friendship is too dangerous. Sure, there’s the possibility that they have a fast track to BNOC status, and that they would greatly aid your rise in the social hierarchy.

However, much more likely is that they make up for their dull and obnoxious personality by overcompensating with their online activity. Steer clear, fresher, steer clear.

Don’t need this person in your life.

Find out what college they’re going to

Crucial. Obviously the easiest thing to do is limit yourself to the individual Freshers’ page for your college, but as a young, cosmopolitan individual, you also need to search further afield.

That being said, you can quickly eliminate anyone from Girton and Homerton (and quite frankly Fitz, Churchill and Medwards if you don’t have a bike) – because long (another Fresher tip is to accept that this is a joke that will tire very quickly but no one will ever stop making). Pembroke students are always a solid bet because the food is good, and a friend from John’s wouldn’t hurt when it comes to sourcing ball tickets.

This is the dream.

Once you have undertaken this lengthy and infallible process, you will be left with a list of comrades none could rival. It is then up to you how you go about solidifying the bond.

Though, from experience, approaching someone with a detailed knowledge of their life and an insistence on the validity of your potential friendship doesn’t usually go down too well.