“Make new friends, but keep old friends. One is silver, the other is gold.”Author unknown.
Old nursery rhymes put into words what many of us are feeling. Good friends, especially longtime friends, are worth gold. But going to college is a new season of life and an opportunity to make new friends.
Even if you attend college near your hometown, the experience there is very different from high school and making new friends is important to enjoying this new phase of life. You may find that the friendships you made in college are just as valuable as your degree. This article will give you some tips for making friends in college.
Timeless tips for making friends
The world of friendship has changed a lot since the advent of social media. It’s easier than ever to connect with people across the country and even around the world. Sometimes I consider one of my best friends someone I met through a game or a public Discord, even though I never met them in person.
But the old-fashioned ways to make friends still work in today’s world.
- Look up from your mobile phone. It’s easy to become glued to your smartphone wherever you are. But you can make basic connections by joking around with people you meet in your daily life. You can greet people in the hall, ask co-workers about their pets, children, or crazy neighbors, or introduce yourself to people in her class at a seminar. You might be surprised how many people search from their mobile phones to get to know you a little better.
- Feel free to get started. Unless you were house hacking in college, you probably don’t have a nice house to invite people over for dinner. But that doesn’t mean you can’t start social gatherings. Take advantage of free and low-cost resources. Invite people to the library to study, get together at the rec center to play basketball, invite them to your messy apartment and order pizza, then go improvise at school. A simple text message with a time and place is usually enough to start a friendship.
- Please follow through. If you agree to do something with your friends, follow through with it. Sometimes a friend needs to hold your shoulder and cry, other times it hits the dance floor. Couches may sound more glamorous than 18 holes of disc golf, but the course will have more laughs. I rarely regret keeping my promises to my friends.
- Don’t rely on one person to meet all your friendship needs. Most people don’t need dozens of close friends, but they probably do need more than one or two. Your school choir friend might love blaring out classic Broadway hits in the car together, but they probably aren’t the kind of friend who wakes up before sunrise on Saturdays and hikes the local trails. Build friendships with as many people as it seems reasonable to you. You might be surprised at how much you have to offer to the people you meet.
find people with common interests
The easiest people to make friends with are those who have the same interests as you. For example, it’s easy to form friendships with the people you work with (if it’s because of your customer service frenzy or the daunting boredom of stocking shelves all day). These work friends give me a reason to come to my part-time job in addition to my salary.
In college, study buddies are good friend candidates. During her first or second week of class, you may find that you and your classmates always leave the seminar and go straight to the Dining Commons. Be a little brave and invite the person to eat with you and share your lecture notes. Alternatively, you can invite a few people from your class to the library for an evening study session. Get a phone number and text him a reminder hours before the study session. Worst case, you’ll be ready for the next quiz or test. But you’ll probably end up laughing late at night while being sneered at by other library patrons.
Finding a workout buddy is another way to make friends if you have fitness or health goals. If you see someone in the hall coming home from training or sweating in the school rec center, you can ask them if they’d like to come in for training in a day or two. Assuming they agree, follow up on the text message and enjoy the new workout.
Teams and clubs are another great way to make friends for a reason. You and everyone in your organization should share common interests or common interests. College campuses (including community colleges) tend to have many campus organizations that offer a variety of activities within a budget.
The purpose of the club is not as important as the fact that you meet people who have common interests with you. If you don’t know what you want, try some clubs. Try cooking clubs, outdoor clubs, campus sports teams, political organizations, campus religious groups, and more.
Whatever type of club you attend, be sure to set aside time after club meetings and practices to get to know your club members a little more. If you have a few people who seem to be having a good time, set up social opportunities before and after your next meeting. You may be surprised at how quickly shared interests and shared fun can grow into meaningful friendships.
Throughout your college life, for some reason, you may make friends or disappear. Class schedules, fitness goals, interests change, and so do your friends. My marathon training may be canceled due to an injury, and I will be running with my school’s running club on Saturday mornings. The Spanish 101 Study Group disbands at the end of the semester. These friendships may be temporary, but they add an important factor of fun and enjoyment to your daily life.
develop positive friendships
Between work, classes, studies, and scholarship applications, we don’t always have time to invest in friendships. However, friendships made during school days are priceless. Your friends may be your social safety net. You will help them when they are most depressed and they will be there when you need them most.
Joining a club, starting a shared study schedule, and training regularly are great ways to meet more people, but you’re unlikely to form close friendships with all your “friends for a reason.” Developing lasting friendships takes time.
Close friendships are often developed through regular gatherings over months or years. Keeping up with “friend dates” is a great way to develop deeper friendships. Cooking and eating together once a week is a great and economical way to enjoy time with a few friends. Walking or hiking together is also a great way to meet regularly.
These routine gatherings can lead to more memorable and fun projects. We may forget Tuesday’s chicken teriyaki, but we’ll never forget turning a “three-mile hike” into 14 miles or finding the best hot dog stand in the world.
don’t be afraid to reach out
Making new friends can be difficult. The most sociable people are often nervous in front of strangers. When making friends in college, don’t worry about making friends with everyone you meet.
Try connecting some. Find ways to spend time around people each day. Once you get to know people a little bit, suggesting a get-together becomes less difficult. And remember, very few people have too many friends to have room for another.
Editor: Colin Graves
Reviewed by: Robert Farrington
This post on how to make friends in college was first published on The College Investor.