Having trouble making friends in college?
Worry not - you're not alone! Making friends at any stage of life is a challenge, especially if you're somewhat shy, introverted, or -- we're just going to come out and say it -- "picky".
Some think it should be easy to make friends in college since there are so many people around, but that's not true. If anything, the amount of options and directions students are pulled in can make it harder to find someone you can really get along with.
But listen, you have time pleanty of time. You don't need to transfer. At the end of the day, every college campus is full of young people who want to enjoy themselves, so if you follow a few of our steps you'll be able to find your scene and make awesome friends in no time.
- They don’t know you—go easy on the sarcasm: A college acquaintance should know your name, that’s about it. They don’t know your intentions, your history or how much you even like them. You may be use to being sarcastic with your long time high school friends, but with new college friends it’s important to be outwardly kind from the start. Ask questions, take people seriously, and resist any urge to poke fun (at first).
- Be trustworthy: Friends are at their best when they’re comfortable, and they’re comfortable when there is trust. Don’t lie to anyone, gossip about anyone or tell a story that, when taken out of context, will make people think you’re not trustworthy.
- Get the digits: One of the most initially awkward things about college is asking someone for their phone number. It feels unnatural, forced, and with a strange romantic implication—but it is essential. Even if you only talked to someone for a few minutes, if you thought they were cool then it never hurts to get their phone number.
- Talk to people in class: The only thing worse than a silent classroom is when someone says “why is it so quiet?” To avoid this, a suggestion is to simply talk to the person next to you. “Have you heard anything about this teacher?” “Do you know anything about this class?” Making a classroom friend has double value since they can be a study buddy, so try not to sit silent (until the teacher starts teaching).
- Love thy neighbor: When it comes to campus buildings, some floors are social floors and others just aren’t. If people don’t tend to congregate on your floor, then get to know individuals and their roommates. That kid you always see in the elevator could be into comic books just like you (and shy about it just like you!).
- Join clubs: When you join a club, you immediately meet new people with common interests and plans. Whether you want to snowboard or boycott a clothing company, having common goals creates a strong bond between initial strangers.
- Never eat lunch alone: Breakfast is fickle and dinner is vague but in college lunch is always the time in which you consume food in the middle of the day. It will usually be fitted between classes, so it’s important to find a lunch buddy that has the same schedule as you. Just like in high school it’s an important time to unwind and pour out the ideas and opinions you’ve accrued since morning. Going straight to your dorm to eat in secret or planting yourself in front of a TV is a bad habit to develop and may lead to indigestion.
- Be accountable: It’s easy to be funny and adventurous, but when someone is really in trouble they need a friend who is accountable. Let a new friend know that they can call you if they are ever lost, stuck somewhere they don’t want to be, or are totally screwed for that test on Monday.
- Invite people: With the ongoing of classes, parties and campus events, acquaintances become abundant. A good way to cross that line from “I know that kid” to “that’s my friend” is to be inviting. When you know of a good party going on, share the wealth. When you and one other person are having lunch, invite a third. Until you actively invite someone somewhere you aren’t really friends and he or she is less likely to in turn invite you places.
- Why you shouldn’t be worried: Let’s say you’re a nerd, socially awkward, overly ambitious, unfunny or whatever week and vague characterization you can come up with...do really think that out of the thousands of people at your school there will be no one else the same as you? Not only will the odds of you finding a match be outstanding, but conversely you will be revered for your oddities. Most 16 year olds aren’t good at befriending people with silly accents, foreign nationalities, or introverted personalities—college students are. In fact, they thrive at it. You will too.
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