Starting university signals the start of a new chapter in your life. It often means moving into a new home in a different town/city and meeting new people.
Over the last 18 months the pandemic has brought with it intense periods of social distancing, lockdowns and closed bubbles. It may be that your relationships and bonds with loved ones have grown even stronger due to spending so much time together.
This can make the prospect of moving away feel daunting and the thought of meeting and forming relationships new people even more so. But a new start means forming new relationships and there are lots of opportunities to meet new people when you start uni:
There’s the people you move in /share accommodation with, the people on your course, and fellow students in and around campus. But how can you form friendships with the new people you meet?
Here are our top 10 tips for making new friends at uni:
Going up to new people and sparking a conversation can be nerve – wracking so try preparing some conversation starters and practicing them. This will help you approach people confidently and open up a dialogue.
Here’s some suggestions but you can switch them up and use your own words and details (obviously):
• Hey, how’s it going? I’m making a cup of tea. Do you fancy one? I’m going to check out the common room if you fancy joining me?
• Hi, I’m Alex. I’m from Manchester and am studying drama. How about you?
• So, who have you met so far on this floor?
• How are you finding it so far? I’m excited but a little nervous!
Of course, it helps to say the right things but body language can also reveal a lot about your feelings and emotions and will help you to connect with other students.
• Smile – nothing beats a smile for spreading positive vibes!
• Make eye contact – this helps you to seem interested and builds trust.
• Put your hands by your side – an open body position makes you seem more approachable.
• Relax your shoulders – this gives the impression that you’re feeling comfortable.
• Mirror – gently matching the posture of the person you are talking to can help build rapport.
Listen to what the person is saying rather than focusing too much on what you want to say next. Be inquisitive and ask them questions. People like it when you take an interest in them.
We often judge people based on their appearances, their interests or their background. Try to cast these things aside when meeting people and keep an open mind. People with different perspectives can enrich your life in wonderful ways.
If English isn’t your first language and you haven’t understood something, don’t be afraid to ask the person to slow down and repeat it. Also, don’t be afraid to have a go at another language – people would rather you try and mispronounce something than avoid talking to them.
Remember that friendships take time to develop. If you don’t connect with somebody, understand that’s OK and move on.
It can be tempting to let down your boundaries or do things that just aren’t you in a bid to fit in. If you don’t want to drink or stay up late, politely explain this. If people are eating your food without asking or want to copy your work, don’t accept it.
Whether it’s a sport club or the pizza appreciation society - whatever you’re into it’s likely there’s something on offer. Friendships tend to develop naturally and organically through shared interests.
Plan activities for your household to do together e.g. dinner parties, games nights or movie nights. They’re simple but effective ways to connect with the people you live with while having fun too.
Not every friend has to meet all your needs. You may make one friend who you prefer to confide in and another you like to play sport with and somebody else who you have wild nights out with.