10 awkward bonding experiences you’ll only understand if you go to Exeter

Or am I just romanticising all my interactions…

Exeter is not the biggest of unis and sometimes it feels like almost everyone knows each other, at least through friends or societies. I believe that we are all just one awkward experience away from becoming mates with one another, so here are 10 of those stranger-bonding moments that all Exeter students face, be it trauma-bonding or not.

1. Being sat opposite someone in the Forum library all day

Speaking of trauma-bonding, I think this is a good one to start with, given the fact it’s exam season. Sit across from a stranger all day, awkwardly making eye contact, overhearing conversations, learning their coffee order and watching them procrastinate, and tell me you still feel like you don’t know them at all. Exactly.

2. Walking behind the same person the whole way up to campus

There’s something about matching pace with someone for a 15 minute walk that makes you feel connected, whether you like it or not. You know how it goes, where there’s an unspoken race occurring between you and a random person but no one ever really manages to pull ahead so you just end up essentially walking to campus together. If that happens to us, just know that by the time we reach Forum hill, I’ve profiled you, decided which degree you do, what year you’re in, what societies you’ve joined, and what your drink of choice is. We’re basically besties.

3. Taking selfies with people you’ve never met in clubs/toilets

Looking through your camera roll the next day, you may have no idea who these people are, but club toilets form a special bond, and photos never lie.

4. Sharing a cig with someone in the TP smoking area

There aren’t many bonds stronger than the ones you make when you’re drunk in the TP smoking area. Lend someone a lighter or take a puff of someone’s cigarette and suddenly you’re are sharing life stories like drunken sailors with a total stranger.

5. Buying a TP ticket off a girl on Overheard

This one might be pretty hit-or-miss, but at least for me, I’ve always found these interactions super wholesome. Usually by the time I’ve secured a ticket, I’ve found out far more about this girl than just her bank details. I know that she accidentally bought too many tickets for her housemate Grace’s 22nd birthday, that she has a crush on one of the bouncers and that she only drinks vodka with soda water, not tonic. What was once a ticket exchange has now become a full blow, wholesome, girl chat and I love every second of it. This bonding moment is ONLY  good thing about having to buy TP tickets off Facebook.

6. Being stood at the Henry’s traffic lights with someone

Just when you think these traffic lights can’t get any worse, you’re stuck waiting next to someone for half a lifetime. By the time the light goes green, we’ve been stood there, awkwardly ignoring one another, without actually being able to ignore the fact that we’ve been standing next to the same person, for five whole minutes. How awkward.

7. Walking up Forum Hill at the same pace as another person

They do say that bonds formed under pressure are the strongest, and my God do I feel under pressure walking up Forum next to a stranger. I’m trying not to have an asthma attack, while also trying to look unbothered, attempting to hold my breath to avoid sounding like a buffalo in need of an inhaler, and the only thing keeping me going is that you probably are too.

8.  Being served by the same corner-shop cashier every time

There’s something slightly mortifying about buying a bottle of Bin 161 wine, an Aero bar and some Pringles anyway, but when you buy them multiple times from the same cashier, it just becomes a bonding experience. They know what you’re going to buy before you’ve even picked anything up and you know that they won’t say a word. More confidentiality and trust exists between me and the man at my local Premier than me and my bank at the moment. Probably because I’m spending all my money in the Premier, though.

9. Someone handing you toilet paper under the door on campus

There’s not much that can rival this bonding moment – a stranger quite literally saves your ass. There’s nothing worse than going to the library toilets and seeing that there’s no toilet roll before it’s too late, but there’s nothing better than someone passing you a couple of sheets under the door like a saint. Now that’s bonding.

10. Wearing the same outfit as someone you walk past in the street (probably an Urban top tbh)

Walking past someone, knowing exactly where they got their outfit, how much it cost, and knowing that they know exactly the same thing about you has a way of bringing two complete strangers together, don’t you think? The only way you can feel superior in this situation is if you got your off Vinted.

Related articles recommended by this writer:

Eight Exeter uni moments that shouldn’t be embarrassing but really, really are

30 icks you’re guaranteed to get as an Exeter student before you graduate

Nine thing Exeter freshers are guaranteed to have done before the end of freshers