Life and soul of the party? Or maybe more of a one-to-one kinda person? Regardless, meeting a bunch of new people can nerve-wracking.
There are, however, some tried and tested ideas that should get things off to a great start with your new flatmates or housemates. Because sometimes there’s nothing more intimidating than meeting your new best friends.
1. Don’t let anyone miss a family meal
A lot of people at uni are probably sighing with relief that they’re not constrained to forced family time anymore. But, things are different now. There’s no more, ‘be home by 7 for your dinner’. Instead, you can do it your way. This might involve hitting up Domino’s for enough food to sate your hungry house’s souls. Or perhaps you’ll all muck in to cook the best roast dinner on campus (would recommend – cooking together will really bring out people’s personalities).
Whatever you end up doing, try and get the whole gang together in the first week to eat together. It could end up becoming a time-honoured tradition that spans your entire university career. And if it’s your idea, you’re the hero.
2. Make yourself big in the clothes game
There are tonnes of fancy dress events at uni. Come prepared. If you can cobble together an outfit that gets people talking, you’ll find it much easier to approach people to get to know them. Of course, making yourself look a bit silly isn’t for everyone. But it’s really good fun if you are feeling brave.
If you decide not to bring anything with you, raiding the Pound Shop for absolute gems can be half the fun. And the results are often even better. Dressing up is almost always a laugh, so stick on some tunes and give it a go.
3. Everyone’s a winner with sports day
This is pretty weather-dependent in the UK. But, with a bit of luck the weather will at least be dry one afternoon during your freshers week. When it does, seize your opportunity. Get outside with your flatmates and have a laugh. Not sporty? No worries, that usually adds to the hilarity. See if you can bag a nice open space and have a big game of catch or football – whatever takes your fancy.
If you’re feeling super social, why not invite the nextdoor neighbours to play against you? It’ll help your team/flat bond and you’ll get to know who’s living right next to you. Points for imaginative team names.
4. Amplify the party
Never underestimate the bonding potential of music. If you can, bring some good speakers with you when you head to uni. Allocate each person a couple of songs to queue up. You’ll probably end up with a house/flat song eventually that’ll make you smile every time you hear it, even years after you graduate.
Another plus to this is that the quieter people in your flat will be as involved as the loud ones. When you’re in a flat full of excited freshers and you’re on the shy side, picking a song is actually pretty powerful. It opens up conversations and can even get everyone dancing.
5. Drinking games and sober games
Not for everyone, we know. But, my, do these games work to break the ice. Classic uni favourites include Mucky Duck (does he?) and Ring of Fire. The former can be played sans alcohol but Ring of Fire is for the drinkers. And, everyone has their own rules for it, so the bickering before you even kick things off can be rather entertaining.
Remember to bring a pack of cards. People will often be able to fill in the rest. And if you’re not a drinker, no worries – hold a card game night, board game night or anything similar. Then, with something to focus on, people can opt in or out of drinking with no pressure.
6. Find your niche
Getting yourself out there can be frightening. But it’s so worth it. If you’re more introverted, it can be tricky. Convince one of your flatmates or coursemates to join up to a club or society with you if you really don’t want to go it alone. Or, if you’re feeling brave, just go for it! You’ll meet such a variety of people doing this, and will forget your initial fears in no time.
And after that? Cement your relationships. Be it trips to Topshop or tennis training, there’s going to be something you can bond over. You’ve got a decent amount of free time each week, so you could try inventing housemate days or even just a little jaunt with one of your favourite people. It doesn’t have to cost much and it’ll be a great way to secure a friendship.