So you’re here. You’ve arrived at college, and the world is your oyster. Your now deep in the clutches of papers, studying, and looming tests, and you’re starting to get the hang of grocery shopping on your own and doing laundry without your mom.
Perhaps you’ve attended a hall party or two, or you’ve gone to the Saturday evening worship night held for students a couple times. You’ve been out and about, but there’s something missing. Something key that you always imagined when you pictured yourself at college: friends.
When you head to college for the first time, a lot of things change. You have the opportunity to start fresh: to live without a former reputation and get involved with new hobbies and interests. You get to meet a whole bunch of new people, and in a sense, you get to reinvent yourself—if you want.
Starting from scratch and making new friends might feel akin to starting a new school as a third grader. Shyly, you stand by the wall at lunch, wondering whom you should sit with, tray trembling in your hands. Well, not to fear! Making new friends at college doesn’t have to be scary, and we’ve put together a handy guide to make it a little easier.
5 tips on how to make friends at college
1. Get involved in clubs, sports, or other extra curriculars
One of the best ways to meet friends at college is to get involved in activities outside of your normal classes. Join theatre or science club or try out for intermural volleyball. Most colleges and universities have a host of options available for students who are looking to get involved with something fun.
It’s likely that there are even more opportunities available at college than there were at your high school. Don’t be afraid to try something new and join something that might be a little outside your comfort zone. You’ll be surprised at how much fun you can have, even when you’re not fully adept at the skill you’re giving a try. Before you know it, you’ll be meeting like-minded people and bonding over camping trips, basketball games, or whatever other extra curricular you’re now both a part of.
2. Make the first move
One of the biggest issues people have with making friends and building a community is that they expect the other person to make the first move. Before you know it, everyone’s walking around, lonely, waiting for everyone else to reach out. How silly, right?
So take the initiative and be the first one to reach out. Invite that girl in your public relations class over for dinner, or see if all the altos in your choir want to go out for ice cream. It can feel intimidating and vulnerable to throw the invitation out there, but chances are, someone else is waiting for a friend to reach out.
3. Throw a get-together with your roommates
The beautiful thing about roommates is that they can be like built-in friends right from the day you move in. It’s true, not all roommates get a long, and that’s okay! But if you get along with your roommates, even a little bit, chances are, they’ll be a great lifeline for you during those first few weeks of college.
An easy way to meet lots of people at once is to throw a shindig with your roomies. Make invitations and food together. Decorate a bit, and make a fun playlist. Invite people in your hall or people you know from class or other areas of college. You’ll get to meet lots of people at once, and you’ll get to bond with your roommates at the same time.
4. Don’t forget about your classmates
It can be easy to discount your science lab partner or that guy you sit next to in your composition class. The people in your classes are real people, and they want to make friends too. The great thing about getting to know someone in your class is that you already have a built-in net of shared interest and activities.
Start by studying together. Learn more about the major he or she chose and what career he or she is interested in pursuing. Grab dinner or coffee together. If it’s a natural pairing, you’ll have similar interests and conversation will flow.
5. Be open and hang in there
Friendships take time—a long time, actually. Sometimes it can take years for a true, deep friendship to grow. It can be frustrating if you’ve been trying this friend thing for a few months now and nothing notable has arisen. Hang in there, stick with it, and keep pursuing different people.
You might make friends with someone you never expected to grow close with, or you might gain someone’s trust after hanging out for an entire semester. Ask the Lord to bring the right people into your life, and trust that He will provide the community He knows is best for you.
Time to get out there and say hello
Now that you’ve read some tried and true ways to make friends at college, hopefully you feel a bit more reassured that you’ll be okay and you trust that making friends truly does takes time. While it may feel like a challenge some days, other days, we promise it will be fun.
When in doubt, turn a listening ear to someone in need. Everyone needs someone, and if you have the time to give, you’ll be making friends left and right.