How to Make Friends in College?

How to make friends in college?

Whether you’re already enrolled in college or about to start classes, the idea of making new friends at school might sound stressful. Talking to new people can be uncomfortable for everyone—especially when you’re used to hanging with the same few friends from high school or you’re moving away from your home country (if this is the case, learn more about the life in Canada with this blog post)—but the truth is, whether it’s a group project in your accounting class or switching to a new department in a company, you’ll be put in unfamiliar social situations throughout your entire adult life.  

College is the perfect place to start meeting new people, practice your social skills and gain valuable experience working with others (look no further than NBC’s “Community” or CBS’s “How I Met Your Mother” for hilariously fun portrayals of college friendships). 


The big question is…how exactly do you start making friends? 

Below are a few ways you can meet people and make friends at school. Remember: above all, it’s important to be yourself, be kind to others and participate fully in the college experience. Like most things in life, what you put in is what you’ll get out.


Group projects

Group projects are a great way to meet others and make friends as you’re pretty much guaranteed to work together regularly over a few weeks, or at least until the project is completed. The interactions are always in a group, which is often randomly assigned, so the pressure is off to immediately make friends. You’ll have plenty of time to get to know your classmates through group projects and if your group clicks, you’ll probably walk away with an A on the project along with a new group of pals!   


Get involved

The college experience involves so much more than just going to class. Taking advantage of after school activities and student groups is an important way to meet other students in social settings and bond outside of the classroom. Whether it’s a group formed around a common interest such as science, art, music and sports, or a student government or union, it’s important to get involved.

If your school doesn’t offer student groups or activities, create one! Whether you organize an entire student group or just plan an after-school outing to grab happy hour drinks, your classmates will be super appreciative of the chance to hang.  


Work with everyone 

Once you make friends in college, or if you already know a few of your classmates before going into the program, it’s easy to stick with the same crowd the entire time. However, it’s important to branch out and meet new people! Not only will it help you professionally—you’ll be challenged to work with different groups of people and personalities throughout your entire career—but you never know who you’ll meet or what you’ll have in common when you venture outside of your usual friend group.  


Offer to help

Are you absolutely killin’ it in your digital marketing class? Is accounting totally your thing? If you see someone else in your class struggling, offer to explain a difficult concept or study together one day after class. Kindness is always well received and even if you don’t become immediate friends, you can still feel good about helping someone out. Plus, maybe one day you’ll need the favour returned when you’re trying to crack the code on coding or tackle a tricky trigonometry problem.  


Be brave—not afraid! 

A new relationship can’t begin unless someone is brave enough to actually talk to the other first—be that person! It might seem intimidating coming from high school where eagerness and enthusiasm are sometimes looked at unfavourably (as the expression “too cool for school” might suggest). But in college, everyone has chosen to be there, and you can be certain you’ve got at least one thing in common—the program you’re taking or the class you’re both in. Don’t be afraid to be the one to talk first!  


Recognize different communication styles  

This is an important reminder when working and socializing with others: everyone communicates differently! You should be aware of how others work in groups and in relationships based on the different personality types.  

There are dozens of personality tests and assessments available online, including the Enneagram, Myers Briggs, DiSC, the 5 Love Languages and the 16 Personality Factor Questionnaire. After completing a personality test, not only will you learn what personality type you are but you’ll discover the best way to communicate and work with other personalities as well.  

For example, when working with the D personality style (dominant, direct, demanding, decisive, determined, doer) from the DiSC Model of Human Behaviour, keep in mind that Ds communicate in a very direct manner and are results-oriented, so it is important to be a part of the solution—to talk less and work more. On the other hand, when working with an I personality style (inspiring, influencing, interactive, involved), remember that they’re more people-oriented, so make sure to interact with them and give them the freedom to talk and be expressive.  

The Five Love Languages can also be used in friendships and work relationships to effectively communicate appreciation and encouragement to friends, coworkers and colleagues. For example, words of affirmation might make one friend feel appreciated but be rather empty to another. 

When you take the time to analyze and learn your peers’ different communication styles, they will appreciate the effort. Your relationships will become that much stronger because you’ll be able to match their specific communication style.  


If you’re still stressed about making friends and meeting new people in college—don’t be! You’ll have plenty of time throughout the year to get to know your classmates. As long as you remember to always be friendly and sincere, you’ll have no problem finding friends to eat lunch, study for finals, or grab some coffee with after school.

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