Five top tips for making friends at university

Sian Hacketton 28 July 2021
friends dinner party

Are you moving to a new city where you don't know anyone? Here's our guide to making new friends.

University is often referred to as ‘the best time of your life’, but a recent survey has shown that many students struggle with loneliness and finding friendships. Circumstances have made it especially hard for students to make new acquaintances over the past year and a half. 

If you’re struggling socially after your move to uni, don’t worry: here are some tips to help you make friends while you’re studying to give yourself the best possible experience.

1. Join societies

Make sure to visit every stall at your Freshers’ Fair and chat with students to find out which club or society is up your street. It’s the easiest way to meet new people, and you can get involved in lots of new activities for a great price. Some are even free to join!

Most societies also organise events, meaning you can get out and about to see your new town or city, and experience the nightlife if you fancy it. Sports societies are a great way to ensure you keep healthy and move your body, while also being a great way to socialise. For those of you who don’t drink, societies will organise chilled, sober nights out. There’s something for everyone!

2. Remember you’re all in the same boat

During your first term, it can feel like you’re the only student who’s struggling with living away from home. But remember, everyone else is living away from home for the first time too, they’re probably feeling the same as you, but they might be hiding it. By Christmas time, most of your peers will be less afraid to admit how they’re feeling. There are plenty of other people around you feeling the same way.

3. Push yourself out of your comfort zone

Whether talking to the person next to you in your lecture or joining a new club, you’ll reap the rewards if you take a leap of faith and put yourself out there. With so many people feeling like they don’t have proper friends, chances are, someone sitting around you might be feeling exactly the same way.

4. Utilise social media

There are loads of Facebook groups for connecting young people, so see if any are local to you. Groups can help you find housemates, organise meetups, and much more. For example, Brighton has a group called Brighton Girl which is a huge collection of girls living in Brighton; there are always requests from people feeling lonely who want to meet new people. 

5. Volunteer

Volunteering is great for university students because you’ll meet a wide range of people from different age groups. Volunteering also looks great on your CV and could be the difference between you or another candidate securing a job. There’s a wide range of organisations you can volunteer with, ranging from children’s charities to beach cleans. All of them will allow you to meet new people and develop new skills.

The idea of starting again and making new friends can be daunting, especially if you’ve had the same friendship group since secondary school or college, but if you do put yourself out there, you’ll be sure to find some friends for life. 

If you think you might be suffering from social anxiety, here are some helpful resources. If you find yourself struggling, make sure you talk to the relevant people

Sian Hacketton 28 July 2021