How to make friends in college

How to make friends in college

If you’re a first year student this fall (or you're just looking to make a change), you’re probably worrying (at least a little bit) about how to make friends in college, just like many other first year students. Creating meaningful connections can take time and some effort, but you can do it! Check out our top five tips to help you build those strong, long-lasting friendships.

Build your self-confidence

When you’re confident, you encourage others to be as well. A fake it ‘til you make it approach can be a good strategy to get you started. Remember, most new first-year students are in the same boat as you. Your first few weeks at school are filled with people looking to make connections, and simply saying hello and introducing yourself is a great first step. This TED talk offers advice and useful tips to help you kick off conversations with new people.

Be a friend to make a friend

You will meet a ton of people during your first few weeks on campus. Try to remember as many names as you can (here are a few techniques to help). When you see someone you’ve met before, ask to grab coffee or stop for a chat. People love being remembered, and you’ll feel good having people around campus to say hello to.

Make your own group

Sharing an interest is a great way to start a friendship. Organize groups for the things you want to do. Ask classmates to get together for a study group, head to an on-campus event with people from your hall, or invite your roommate and their friends to a movie or concert you’ve been dying to attend. Trying new things is a great way to build connections and find people you will bond with.

Look around you

See who spends time at the same places you do, and notice who is making the most eye contact — research has shown this could mean they want to be friends. Maybe it’s someone you work with at your part time job, someone exercising next to you at the gym or another studying student at a coffee shop. Consider hanging out with a coworker after your shift or asking the person next to you at Starbucks about what they’re studying. You could make a lifelong connection just by reaching out and introducing yourself.

Do what you want

Participate in activities and student groups that focus on something you’re interested in. If you play a sport, try an intramural or club team, or sign up for a hobby or fitness class (search for classes here) like yoga, piano or table tennis for a fun elective credit course. Embracing things you’re passionate about can help put nervousness aside and lets you focus on the activity, so friendships happen naturally.

No matter how many people you meet, creating strong bonds takes time. Give your new friendships time to grow and don’t forget to make time for yourself, too. Check out our post on why relationships matter for more insight into how to make friends in college. And remember, we’re always here if you have any questions.


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Sun Devils turn to ASU Adulting 101 to learn (some of) the things not taught in class. Not sure about how to do something? Need to connect with an expert? We got you.


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