The great thing about college is that it’s your chance to experience new horizons—and new friends. You don’t have to confine yourself to the box of your high school self. This is the time to grow as that rad person you are and find people who appreciate your quirky/cool/weird/fun self along the way!
1. Be open
College life brings tons of amazing diversity. People come from different schools, cities, cultures, and walks of life. It’ll be hard finding friends exactly like the ones from your high school or hometown. So why not give everyone a chance? It’s such an amazing life experience to chat and get to know people with different stories to tell.
If you judge someone based on appearance or a first impression, you’re missing out. That person you gave a dismissing glare could seriously love your all-time favorite band and is looking for a concert buddy. You seriously never know.
2. Participate in events
Colleges throw a bunch of awesome events, such as concerts, comedy shows, dances, game nights, etc. It’s a great way to meet new people and make friends! There’s also frequently free food at these functions, and who doesn’t love some complimentary snacks? Since everyone’s invited, everyone’s welcome, including you. Embrace the college community and you’ll definitely be on your way to making friends.
3. Sit by a random person
At the cafeteria, a student event, or just a common area on campus, there’s almost always a student or two with some extra space. So during dinner, instead of claiming that empty table in the corner, go sit by someone with a seat to spare. Believe it or not, most college students enjoy company and meeting fellow classmates. Personally speaking, I’ve done this several times and I’m still friends with a bunch of the people I met.
4. Join clubs
One of the easiest ways to find some cool folks who share your interests is joining a campus club or organization. From community service to Greek life, from movie lovers to Ultimate Frisbee players, there’s probably some club that appeals to your passions, interests, and hobbies—including ones yet to be explored. And if the club doesn’t exist, you can make it! Clubs mean meetings, activities, and lots of bonding time. By seeing the members frequently, you’re bound to build lasting friendships.
5. Get to know your neighbors
If you live on campus, you’re going to see a lot of the people in your dorm. A lot. While making eye contact and saying “hi” in the hallway builds familiarity, it never hurts to knock on peoples’ doors and introduce yourself, especially early in the year. Plan “movie night” for your floor in the common room. Offer to share food, like popcorn or cookies—college students love free food. (Okay, free anything.) Leave your door open or invite people in via a whiteboard or poster on the door.
6. Remember, it’s never too late
There is no limit to how many friends you can have in college. Always be open to making a new one. If you ever feel like your current social circle just isn’t clicking with you, that’s totally okay! There are plenty of people swimming around in the social sea, just like you are. Use these tips to find them!
7. Be You
On a final note, don’t sacrifice who you are to be friends with someone. If people peer pressure you into doing something out of your comfort zone, odds are they aren’t the best of friends. If you find yourself changing who you are to fit in with a group, you need to reassess the friendship. College is the time to be free, to be unique, to be you. The best friends will accept, respect, and celebrate the real you—and trust me, they’re out there.