Making Friends At University 101. Credits: 5 | Top Universities
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Making Friends At University 101. Credits: 5

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Vickie Chiu

Updated Mar 11, 2019
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Course introduction

Congratulations! You’ve made it to your university halls, unpacked your suitcase-full of high school memories and said goodbye to your teary-eyed parents with promises of striking a sensible balance between studying and partying. You leave your room feeling exhilarated, eager to dabble in any experiences and challenges which come your way.

First challenge: Oh, you just remembered, you have no friends yet.

Whilst the notion of “be nice and you will make friends”, might have worked when you were in kindergarten, the modern-day etiquette involved in forming friendships when you’re thousands of miles away from home can be daunting.

This short course explores the seemingly intuitive process of meeting new peers and developing friendships with strangers at university.

1) Love thy neighbor- (even if they’re weird)

i) Do you have a room mate? Start there! He or she should be your number one priority because whether you like it or not, you’ll be sharing some very intimate times with them. If you have your own room, then try knocking on your neighbours’ doors. Introduce yourself, ask questions about them.

ii) Are they a bit weird? You’ll meet plenty more weird people throughout your time at university. Be rational- you don’t have to love them but it’s important to be civil to those within the closest geographical proximity to you. As the famous saying goes, “You don’t want to [insert suitable expletive] on your own door step”

2) What comes after the formula?

i) Hurray! You’ve found someone to talk to. Don’t be nervous, bear in mind that they probably haven’t just added 1000 new friends on Facebook either. For the first few weeks of university, 90% of your social conversations with new people will probably follow the template below. Whether you’ll be remembered in a day’s time depends on what you say after the formula. If you’re nervous, plan on saying something interesting when it formula’s over and you’re left with awkward silence.

ii)

You: Hi, I’m  Spongebob Squarepants*, what’s your name?
Potential friend: I’m Homer Simpson**, nice to meet you Spongebob. What halls are you staying in?
Y: I’m at X hall, you?
PF: I’m in Y hall, do you know Darth Vader***? He lives in X hall
Y: No I’m afraid/Yes! He’s an interesting character (break away from formula to talk about Darth Vader)
PF: So what course are you on?
Y: Marine biology, you?
PF: Maths… (This is the awkward moment that you both realize you know nothing about each other’s subject)
Y: Oh, that’s interesting…
PF: Yes…

-Awkward silence, both rattle brain to come up with an escape route or something else to say-

iii) Now, how you handle this part is very important. If you believe there is nothing more to say to this person/you’ve put them in the “weird” category/they smell, then the most polite thing to do is say something along the lines of: “It was so nice meeting you, but I’m late to meet a friend.”

iv) If you actually believe you two can be friends, then don’t give up!  Ask about things that both of you would have knowledge about. Perhaps the quality (or lack of quality) of the food at the student café, or whether they’ve heard of an upcoming social event. If all else fails, offer the PF a favour, whether it’s to get a drink, a snack or even a book (who knows, you might be making friends at the library).

*Insert name: Try calling yourself Spongebob Squarepants for a more dramatic reaction.
** Insert potential friend’s name: If they’re called Homer Simpson or something equally unusual, try not to laugh in their face or joke about it. You don’t know whether they’re sensitive about it or not - it could open a can of childhood-repression worms.
***Insert third-party name: Please get in touch for a prize if you’ve actually met someone called Darth Vader at university.

3) Follow your passion

i) As obvious and cheesy as this may sound, following your passion will lead you to… you guessed it, people with similar hobbies as you! Don’t miss your university’s society or sports club recruitment days where you’ll get a chance to seek out like-minded people or try something new. Either way, you’re guaranteed to meet a few thousand over-zealous students who will be trying to shove flyers in your face.

4) Too lazy? Throw money at the problem

If you’re studying in the US, try joining a sorority or fraternity.

CONCLUSION AND ASSIGNMENT

You won’t meet any friends sitting in your room on Facebook. Don’t try and YouTube “making friends at university” either. Get out there and start mingling!