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How to make friends at university

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Moving out of your home and into student accommodation means moving out of your comfort zone and into the deep end. But making new friends in a new place doesn’t need to be terrifying.

It’s important to remember that everyone is in the same boat: moving to a new place, meeting people and (let’s not forget) starting a new course. University is a great time to make lifelong friends. Here are a few tips to get you on your way.

Be as sociable as possible within your own halls or flat. Even if you’re not the most social of animals, try and get out of yourfriends bedroom and into the communal spaces, and the sooner the better! Everyone is making the big push at the start of term so you should too. If you’re in self-catered accommodation make the kitchen your hangout and get talking. Say anything! Ask anything! At best you’ll have a great conversation… at worst hopefully you’ll make them laugh.

Why not be the first to suggest you start doing things together? Have plenty of nights out and invite as many people as you can; coursemates, neighbours, the students you held the door open for at the post office yesterday… not only will you enjoy it and get a few funny stories but you’ll meet loads of new people.

Don’t just rely on nights out; you want good friend material and not just people who are good for a laugh on the dancefloor. Suggest a dinner or a trip to the cinema, or if you feel up to hosting, have a night in and cook or watch a DVD. This is the perfect time to actually get to know people - not to mention, you’re a student now and a DVD is way cheaper than going out.

When it comes to flatmates, try and gauge early on if they like things tidy or don’t care so much. Untidy is okay but dirty can be a whole other issue. You may find yourself feeling like a nagging mum when there are flies circling your dirty washing up, or getting disgusted looks from your flatmates if you’re the culprit. Decide early on how you will combat day to day living. Perhaps have a rota for buying washing up liquid and taking the bin out. These things sound small but two months down the line friendships can break down over built up tension!

Remember that university is the time for you to decide what YOU enjoy. So once you’ve made foundations with your flatmates don’t be afraid to leave them in the flat some nights and go to that society you’re interested in or spend time with your course friends. Your flatmates will still be living there when you get back. It’s okay to go to things on your own - everyone is doing it! Embrace the awkward for five minutes and get chatting to someone. The worst that can happen is that you don’t like it and can try something else.

Just remember to enjoy yourself. When you have kids and grandkids it will be your university years that you will look back on with misty eyes and a smile on your face: ‘Ah, those were the days…’

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