Making new friends is one of the many things you can look forward to when you go to college. For many students, this is an intimidating prospect. After all, most of the lasting friendships you had in high school took years to develop. (Some starting as early as elementary or middle school!) In a way, you’re going back to kindergarten and socially starting from scratch. Here are some tips to finding your crew:
1. Join clubs
There are so many different activities to choose from; there is truly something out there for everyone. You can find sports teams to join, clubs associated with hobbies, groups linked to your major, and more. The great thing about extracurriculars: you already have something in common with everyone in the room.
2. Find common ground
Potential friends are everywhere: around the student center, in your classes, at the library. Most college students are on the same page when it comes to connecting with each other. If you can find some shared interests or experiences, that could be the bonding foundation for a new friendship. So if you’re standing in line for the butternut squash soup at the dining hall, don’t be afraid to strike up an amicable conversation with the person standing in front of you. I mean, who doesn’t love butternut squash?
3. Ask questions, and listen for the answers
Humans are social creatures; we use language to connect and understand each other. When you make new friends, put forth the extra effort to ask them questions about themselves. The next step is important: listen for their answers. People love to talk about themselves, so you are creating a space where your new friend can experience the satisfaction of self-disclosure.
4. Invite people to do things
The great thing about bonding with new friends is that you don’t have to do anything extravagant. Invite someone to go to your Zumba class or your meditation club meeting. Even if you are doing something simple like going for a stroll or grocery shopping, ask a friend if they would like to come along. Even if your new friend doesn’t accept the invitation, you are making them feel included.
5. Be yourself
It’s a cliché, but it’s a cliché for a reason! When you are being authentic, you will attract people who like you for who you are. That’s the goal, right? When you are confident in your skin, you are putting that energy out into the world. Authenticity is attractive because it allows other people to embrace their own quirks as well.
6. Think it through
You may have heard the Maya Angelou quote, “People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.” This is important to keep in mind when you are making new friends. Think before you speak and act, so you can be the kind of person that makes others feel good about themselves.
There’s no doubt about it, you are going to make all kinds of friends in college. Don’t stress if certain friendships don’t make past winter break. It may take a little time to find your forever friends.