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7 Tips to Help You Find Great Friends in College

Whether you're a natural social butterfly or more of an introvert, here are a few easy ways to meet new people and make awesome friends in college.

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 persona if you don't want to! This is a time to grow into the person you really are and find people who appreciate your quirky/cool/weird/fun self along the way! But we know making friends in college isn’t always easy; it can be intimidating and awkward to meet strangers if you’re new on campus. But don’t worry—we have a few tips to help you make long-lasting friends.

1. Be open

College life brings tons of amazing diversity. People come from different schools, cities, cultures, and walks of life. It will be hard to find 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 be well on your way to making friends.

3. Sit by a random person

In the cafeteria, at a student event, or just in a common area on campus, there’s almost always a student or two with some extra space. 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.

Related: 4 Quick and Easy Tips to Break the Ice With Your New Roommate

4. Join clubs and activities

One of the easiest ways to find cool folks who share your interests is by 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 it doesn’t exist, you can create your own club! Joining a club involves meetings, activities, and lots of bonding time. By seeing the members frequently, you’re bound to build lasting friendships. Here are a few other examples of ways to get involved and meet people on campus:

Sports

If you’re more of the athletic type, join a sport! It doesn’t have to be a varsity sport, but it can be. Check out your school’s club sports online to see what you can get involved with. Most of them are still a commitment, but they're more low-key than varsity sports—and you don’t have to be a stellar athlete to join.

Greek life

If neither clubs nor sports sound right to you, consider Greek life. Fraternities and sororities are an easy way to build tight-knit friendships, make connections within industries, and get involved in activities on campus. Many students who go Greek end up building lifelong friendships with their brothers and sisters.

Volunteering

Ready to start saving the world? Joining a volunteer organization would be the perfect activity for you! Check out your college’s website (or volunteer center if your school has one) to see what kind of organizations you can join. Many colleges have a lot of volunteer opportunities dedicated to various causes, such as world hunger or standing up for animal rights. Figure out what you’re passionate about and make the world a better place!

Related: Campus Activities, Clubs, and Other Fun Ways to Get Involved at College

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 a 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.) Or 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, so 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 in college. If you're peer-pressured into doing something out of your comfort zone, odds are those people 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, be unique, and be you. Good friends will accept, respect, and celebrate the real you—and trust me, they’re out there.

Related: Video: Making Friends in High School vs. College

While making new friends in college may not seem like the easiest task, getting involved and reaching out are wonderful ways to start meeting people and build lasting friendships. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there—you'll never have so many easy opportunities to do so after college!

Looking for more good reads on how to have an awesome college experience? Check out all the articles and advice in our Student Life section!

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