Myths vs. Reality: A Freshers Guide to Making Friends
A Handy guide to to making friends in your first year at uni:
You don’t have to make BFFs on the first day, despite what people may tell you. If you feel you have nothing in common with your flatmates or you don’t click with each other, there’s no point trying to force yourself to be friends with them (no matter how desperately you want a flatmate as a best friend). Many flats do get on with each other really well and that’s great! But I also know of people who made themselves believe they were friends with their flatmates, only to find their friendships fall apart by the middle of term 1. Be patient: It may take you a few weeks to make good friends, but this is better than falling out with the first person you met who you thought or hoped would be your best friend.
Regardless of your initial attitudes towards them, always make an effort at first especially in the first few days or weeks. Talk to them, suggest doing an activity to do with them; they may be shy at first so try to get conversation flowing about things you may have in common. When they know more about you and trust you more, they may open up and be themselves. However, don’t force it if the conversation feels unnatural or jarring or if you feel that they’re not interested in trying to make a friendship work. Try not to be upset if things don’t work out, there are thousands off fellow freshers out there and one day you WILL find a strong group of friends.
Unlike with your flatmates, you are guaranteed have something in common with the people in the societies you join. Whereas in your halls, you may be put with say 7 other people you don’t like, societies are generally so large that there will always be people that you’ll get along really well with. (Plus, you have the added benefit that you can’t fall out with them over how clean the kitchen is since you don’t live with them 😉).
To make the most out of societies, you need to be committed to them; I’m not saying run for exec for three different societies (although I do know someone who’s done that), but I’d recommend being committed to at least one society (e.g. attending events and socials fairly regularly) in order to make a strong group of friends and avoid being that one awkward member who turns up to one social every term and nobody knows who you are. Starting conversations with someone in a society is a lot easier than starting conversations with your flatmates because you both know that you have the same hobby or interest in common, so use this as a starting point for getting to know them. Again, it may take a few weeks to make good friends (it may take only a few hours!), but it is worth it: if I didn’t join societies, I would’ve had a thoroughly miserable first year.
This one is heavily dependent on which degree you take. Some degrees may have nicer student than others of course… 😉 It also may depend on the amount of people on your course. For example, Liberal Arts had only 30 people on the course and so within the first few days of induction we’d all pretty much met each other. Such a small cohort of students really allows you to get to know each other well and establish close friendships. I get along well with everyone, have several good friends, and am even living with one of my course mates for my second year! Making friends also depends on who you have seminars with. For example, in a core module that Liberal Arts and Sociology students did together, I liked the people in my seminar group and we did often chat. However, I barely spoke to the people in my optional History module seminar at all, so there is an element of luck involved too.
· Make an effort with everybody at first no matter how they initially come across
· Don’t grow attached to the first person who’s nice to you
· Don’t force a friendship that isn’t working
· Don’t panic or get upset if you don’t make friends straight away, good friendships can take weeks or even months to build
· Always be open and friendly, but most importantly: be yourself and don’t try to be someone you’re not, otherwise friendships won’t work