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How to make friends at university

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Published: 24 April 2018

University is often considered the time of your life – the place you make memories that will last forever. Those memories will be all the more special if you’ve made them with new-found friends for life, so sharing your uni experience with others and meeting new people should be pretty high on your to-do list when you arrive.

Fortunately, with thousands of like-minded individuals in the same position as you, university is the perfect place to make friends, and with these top tips you’ll have more friends than you can shake a stick at (tip number 1: don’t shake sticks at your friends).

 

2) Live in university accommodation

Living in a new place with strangers might seem a bit intimidating, but its the best way to meet some new people and get the full university experience. Each of your flatmates are in exactly the same position, so you’ll be able to help each other settle in, and you won’t have to work your way into existing social circles – you can be a part of creating them. Need some motivation to get that essay done? Can’t remember where that lecture hall is? Just fancy a night out? Living with other students means you’re always around others who understand your situation, which means you’ve got people around you who can support you, whether that’s with your uni work or down the stairs of a nightclub at 3am.

 

3) Join a club or society

What better way to meet like-minded people than to join a club or society related to one of your hobbies or interests – you’re guaranteed to have at least one thing in common with everyone there! Or, expand your horizons by picking something you want to learn more about. Meeting regularly with your society / club members and bonding over something you care about is a great way to make friends. Here at Sunderland, we have over 50 clubs and societies, from drawing to debating, law to LGBT, so there’s something for everyone! Can’t find anything that suits your weird and wonderful ways? Start your own!

 

4) Make an effort

You don’t need to be a party animal or a socialite, squeezing in lectures between your hectic social schedule, but organising the odd day out, or even night in, can be a great way to make friends. If you aren’t the organising type, try to say yes more often if someone invites you to something – even if it’s not normally your kind of thing. It doesn’t have to be a grand event; get a coffee with your coursemates or make fajitas with your flatmates – spending time with people is the best way to get to know each other. Be spontaneous and open-minded, and remember that sometimes the smallest gestures can mean a lot and bring people together.

 

5) Be sociable – online and off

You don’t have to wait until you arrive at university to start making friends. Online groups on social media and forums are a great way to get a head start on building relationships, particularly if you’re shy. Speaking to someone online before meeting them might give you a bit more confidence when you do meet, and you might also be able to get a head start on planning your first night at university so that you get off on the right foot. Can’t find anyone on your course or in your flat? Try and be as helpful as you can to those who have questions, you might help someone who recognises you when you start uni, which can be a great conversation starter.

 

Bonus tips!

1) Make the most of Fresher’s week and go to as many events as you can.

2) Check you’re waiting outside the right room, even if you already know you are, in order to start a conversation with a coursemate.

3) Learn a good party trick.

4) If you’re living in uni accommodation, learn how to cook well (or even better, bake).

5) Do your washing up in a timely fashion (“leaving it to soak” is not a valid excuse).