My tips for making friends at university

03 May 2024

From Freshers' week to societies, undergraduate student Eléonore shares how you can build friendships and meet new people at university. 

Making friends at university seems daunting, but there are things you can do to facilitate it! Here are some of the tricks I gathered throughout my last two years: 

My first recommendation is to leverage Fresher's week.

You may have heard people say: “You will never talk to the people you met during freshers week” but this is mostly a myth! You meet so many new people, some you might not see again, but you will also meet some people who will become close friends over time. So get to the welcome events, rock up to the tasters, chat with flatmates, and get out there. Your department and course also usually host welcome events around the start of the term - which are great opportunities to meet people from your course.

I met one of my closest friends on my course - we met after the welcome lecture during a meet and greet. I went up to him, we chatted, and later on, we met to go to lectures together, and that was how it all started! 

The first few weeks of uni in term is the perfect opportunity to meet new people, as everyone is relaxed and open to new experiences. 

This brings me to my next point: make plans! A lot of friendships are built on shared experiences! Attend events, socials, and workshops, even if you don't have anyone to go with. From my experience, you will be warmly welcomed by all and will meet people fast! If you don’t like the idea of going alone at first, bring an acquaintance. Ask people you've met, even if only a few times, and get your coursemates/ flatmates to bring friends along - any opportunity to meet new people is usually welcome. Alongside university and society events, you can go grocery shopping with your flatmates, grab a hot choc at Curiositea, organise a library study session, or attend a sports taster - you're sure to find something you all fancy!

Now, and probably my most important point, is to JOIN SOCIETIES. Societies are where I have made most of my friends. They’re the perfect opportunity to meet like-minded people and get involved in things you also enjoy. Some of them are even an opportunity to get some valuable experience! From sports clubs to drama societies, I've met some incredible people and gained some great memories.

I also recommend trying to get to know your flatmates! Generally speaking, the university is rather good at pairing like-minded students. Thus, one of my best friends and flatmates throughout uni was simply my lakeside flatmate! 

Now, making friends at a university with such a large population does mean that there are some things to get comfortable with: 

  • You won't be friends with everyone – but that’s not an issue. With such a large population, it is impossible to get along with everyone. Rather than attempting this impossible task, I recommend being your most authentic self and respectful to all.
  • You can't force a friendship - making friends is about putting yourself out there and finding the right people who reciprocate your energy. You'll only be able to build a friendship if the person is receptive. 
  • Accept the idea that you will not have strong with friendships with everyone, and that's ok! Some people you will only ever just have a nice chat with and sit together in lectures and not much more, and that's still ok!
  • Play the long game: friendships are not all instant. Yes, sometimes you instantly click with some people, and with others, it takes more time, so don’t let that disgruntle you.

Most importantly, DON’T LOOSE HOPE! One of the best things about university is the amazing new people you meet every day. If you don't meet your ride or die on the first day, that doesn't mean you won't meet them later on. I only became friends with my best friend during term 2, and some of my closest friends to this day are people I met this year.

Be yourself, get involved, and I promise you will meet great people here! 

Related Blogs