Last Updated on December 14, 2021 by blendtw
This post is all about making friends in college.
Making friends in college can have a significant impact on how your educational years will be. We rely on our friends to share fun experiences with us, to have our backs, to support us when we are at our lowest, and to help us to achieve the best version of ourselves.
The solidarity created between two friends is a bond that cannot be reciprocated. For example, it can be helpful to have a friend with you in a particularly difficult class, so you two can face the challenges of each tough lesson together.
Sometimes, making friends in college can be very easy. Two adults can bond over a variety of common interests after sharing a common environment like a part-time job or an extracurricular activity.
On the other hand, if you have an introverted personality like me, making friends can be a bit more difficult than you think. It takes a significant amount of practice or trial and error to sharpen up your conversational skills.
Making the first move by speaking to strangers can be very scary, but the possible result of a true friendship can be exceptionally rewarding.
It can also be incredibly helpful to make friends if you are an inept listener — just let the extroverts do all the talking and focus on improving your listening skills.
If this person truly wants to be your friend, they will want to know more about you and ask questions about your life. This contributes to a healthy friendship dynamic that will stand the test of time.
In my list of thirty-five friendship tips that will help you make friends in college, you will learn that in order to make good friends, you cannot be afraid to put yourself out there and be motivated.
You have to be respectful of their boundaries and understand their flaws; in turn, they should treat you in the same respectful manner. However, do not feel like you should have to change yourself to fit their ideal image of you.
Stay true to yourself, and you will find individuals who will want to be friends with every single part of you, your skills, and your flaws.
These are words of advice that will help you maintain good friendships even after you graduate college and move on to bigger and better pursuits.
Though you and your friends may change, your friendship will remain the same — as strong and adaptable as ever — throughout all of the challenges of life.
1. Join extracurricular clubs
Most friendships are formed between people who share common interests.
If you join a club that you enjoy at your college, you would be surrounding yourself with people who share the same hobbies and pursuits as you.
And now you know exactly what to talk about. For example, if you’re really into theater, joining the drama club can help you meet a bunch of thespians who love theater just as much as you do.
2. Get a part-time job
From my personal experience, the best place to make quick friendships is at work.
It requires a lot of cooperation and teamwork from your coworkers to make your jobs more bearable, and this is where bonds can form.
Additionally, it is through these kinds of jobs that you can make friends with the most unexpected people. If you share a lot in common with your coworkers and have good chemistry, nothing is stopping you from being friends outside of work.
3. Do not be afraid to initiate a conversation
For those looking to make new friends, it may be a little daunting to go up to strangers or acquaintances and start a conversation.
However, if you are hoping to make friends in college, sometimes you have to take matters into your own hands.
It does not take much to start a conversation. Begin with small talk such as “How are you?” or “What are you doing later?” This can open up a longer conversation. These small risks can pay off in a major way.
4. Practice makes perfect
If you are like me, an amateur conversationalist, you need to practice your conversational skills every day to improve your small talk.
Make conversation with your professors, classmates, coworkers, friends, family, and so on to really sharpen your conversational skills.
While it may seem awkward when you first start, it becomes second nature to you the more you continue to practice.
5. Learn to listen
If you are not a very talkative person, sometimes the best thing you can do to make friends is to let the extroverts do all the talking.
If you are responsive, ask questions, and engage with the extrovert, you will find a complementary friendship dynamic that works for the both of you.
Additionally, if this extrovert is a keeper, they will want to know more about you and ask you questions in response.
This is very effective for those who are shyer and more reluctant to speak. Work with your strengths: if talking is not your forte, learn to listen and be an engaging conversationalist.
6. Give compliments out like candy
Is there a better feeling than receiving a compliment from a stranger?
It confirms the positive thoughts we have about ourselves when we are given kind words from those we least expect, and we will have a good impression of people who compliment us if we see them again.
If you see someone and think, “Wow, their hair looks so good!” or “That shirt looks really good on them!” do not be afraid to voice your thoughts aloud.
The people we compliment will look kindly on us for being honest and speaking our opinion.
7. Use their name when speaking to them
If you are incredibly forgetful with names like me, then this tip is particularly important. How are you going to befriend someone without getting familiar with their name?
The best way to never forget their name is to work it into your conversations like “Have a nice day, __!” or “Thank you, ___!”
Furthermore, when you remember their name, the person subconsciously realizes that you are purposefully trying to prioritize them, and that is how they become aware that they are important to you.
8. Laughter is contagious
Reminding someone to laugh sounds like the most obvious suggestion in the world.
However, it is incredibly important that you do not forget to laugh when you are talking to a potential friend.
If they see you laughing at their jokes (or even laughing at the jokes you make), they will see you as an easy-going, humorous person. They will feel compelled to laugh too!
9. Maintain eye contact
If you are somebody like me, whose eyes tend to wander around when someone is speaking to you, I’m sure you have been asked, “Are you paying attention?” when making conversation with a friend.
This is because making eye contact is considered crucial to show someone that you are listening to them when they are talking to you.
Try your best to look them in the eyes when you are speaking with your friends so that they know that you are focused on their every word.
10. Say “Hello” and “Goodbye”
What it takes to make and maintain a friendship is through the small gestures you do. Sometimes the smallest of formalities can remind them of how polite and thoughtful you are.
For example, when you greet your friend, do not forget to say “Hello” or “How are you.” When you leave, tell them, “Bye” or “See you later” to show them that you are thinking about them as you depart.
At my job, I have a coworker who says goodbye to everyone before she leaves. I strive to emulate her thoughtfulness and kindness, and you should too.
11. Remember details from past conversations
Friends need small indicators to know that you truly care about them. This includes showing how you have been paying attention to what they say, how they behave, their likes/dislikes, their wants/needs, and so on.
Furthermore, you can recall details from past conversations. For instance, if your friend is asking for your opinion on what color of shirt they should wear, you could respond with “How about ___? That’s your favorite color, right?” Or, perhaps on your friend’s birthday, you could wish them well.
They will appreciate that you are thinking about them!
12. Use the Internet to your advantage
Social media has made a significant impact on keeping friendships because you are given constant reminders of what is going on in their lives.
You can use these tools as an opportunity to keep in touch with these friends and show them that you are thinking of them by commenting on their posts.
Additionally, you can also use social media to make friends in college.
Though I have never had online friends myself, I have heard stories of people making online friendships and then becoming so close with their long-distance friends that they meet in real life.
13. Put effort into these friendships
It is scary to put yourself out there, especially if you are concerned that your feelings toward your friend are not mutual, that you care more about this individual than they care about you.
However, you cannot hope to deepen your friendship without putting in the work. Don’t be afraid of initiating conversations or doing good deeds while expecting something in return.
For example, get them a small present for Christmas, regardless of if they are getting a present for you. In some cases, it may feel like you’re doing too much, and those friendships are not worth keeping. Prioritize the ones that do matter and put in the effort.
14. Refrain from gossip
Gossiping can be fun, but it is also a nasty habit when it comes to maintaining a friendship.
Nobody likes being talked about in a disrespectful manner, especially when the people spreading rumors and secrets about you are your own friend.
It can be very difficult to keep friends if you are constantly talking about them behind their back.
You should only say nice comments about your friends when they are not there because if you say rude remarks, they will find out eventually and be very upset. Cut gossip out of your life for good and put your friends first.
15. Be open-minded
Any two adults, with a few exceptions, have the potential to be friends if they give one another a chance. If you can bond over one subject and have the same demeanor, you do not need to have much in common.
For example, I am still friends with my sixty-five-year-old troop leader from when I did Girl Scouts many years ago.
We only have one thing in common throughout the years — our participation in Girl Scouts — but because we are both humorous and go with the flow, we get along really well together and have remained good friends.
Don’t let superficial barriers such as age stand in the way of you making friends in college or in life.
16. Loyalty is important
Trustworthiness is the most vital quality to have in a friend. It is essential that you have your friends’ back when they need your support, through thick and thin.
There are exceptions — do not be so loyal to your friends that you compromise your values, morals, or beliefs.
However, you should generally stick by your friend when they need you most. Then, if you ever need support or a helping hand, your friends will have your back as well.
17. Do not forget to keep in touch
If you don’t talk to or see your friend, your friendship will eventually fade away, and you will become strangers once again. This can happen after college graduation, where friends go their separate ways to pursue different walks of life.
To keep your friendship strong, try to send your friend a text every once and a while to show them that you are still thinking about them.
You can also attempt to make plans to meet up, no matter how far in the future it may be, to keep them as constants of your life.
You and your potential friend are not going to agree on the same ideas all the time. You are two separate people with different backgrounds and diverse personality traits.
What makes a friendship stand the test of time is compromise. For example, if your friend wants to play laser tag and you want to watch a movie, both of you should try to compromise.
You can do the other’s idea next time. Additionally, your friend should be open to compromise as well to keep the friendship fair and balanced.
19. Appreciate the little moments
It is hard to stay in touch with friends in college because once you graduate, life can become so hectic, and oftentimes, schedules do not match up.
Sometimes the only time you can see a friend is nine in the morning on a Sunday for two hours because that is the only chance you have to spend time with them for the next few weeks.
Take this small amount of time and cherish it. Every little moment spent together makes a big difference in keeping the friendship alive.
20. Explore new things together
What keeps a friendship fresh and exciting is having new experiences with one another.
For example, you both could go to a pottery class or try hang gliding. Perhaps you could bake a new pie together.
When you explore new things with your friends, you are preventing the friendship from becoming too mundane or predictable.
21. Wish them well on the holidays
The holidays — particularly the three succeeding months full of Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas — can be some of the best times of the year.
However, there are some people that have more difficulties enjoying the holiday season than others.
Some have nowhere to go and no one to spend these holidays with. If you learn about a college friend who has nothing going on during the holidays, do not refrain from inviting them to any celebrations or parties that you may have.
I always make sure my friends are spending their holidays with their loved ones. If your friend has no plans going on and seems to be upset about this, make sure that they know they always have a place in your home.
22. Be introspective
Self-improvement is crucial to maintain friendships that have evolved over time. You have to look inside yourself to become a better friend, especially as you mature and grow.
For example, I have become a better listener since my days as a fourteen-year-old. I still have friends from when I was that age because I have grown and changed with these people. Now, we are the best version of ourselves.
23. Give one another space
Nobody likes to feel like they are being overwhelmed, whether it is by their family, friends, or peers. As an introvert, I know how important alone time is to strengthen a friendship.
Friends do not have to talk every single day; I don’t talk to my best friends every day because I know we would eventually run out of things to talk about. You and your friend need time to yourselves, and it is perfectly okay to take breaks.
24. Stay true to yourself
Do not change yourself to fit someone else’s blueprint. If you are looking to befriend a particular person, you should not have to feel like you have to look or act a certain way to appeal to them and meet their standards.
If they are a good friend, they will like you for who you truly are, and that includes everything about you. You have to find friends who suit you, not the other way around.
25. Be understanding of their flaws
Friends aren’t perfect. They can be impulsive, stubborn, flakey, easily irritated, and so on. That does not make them bad people — it just means they have flaws like you and me. For example, I have a very indecisive friend.
It can be frustrating making plans with them because they have difficulty making decisions. What you have to do is adapt to best suit their most frustrating quality.
When I am meeting with my indecisive friend, I take charge so that they don’t have to make any tough decisions, and this works out for both of us.
26. Respect their boundaries
Everyone has boundaries. Even the closest of friends in college have something that they are not entirely comfortable with sharing, or they have subjects they do not want to talk about.
For example, I do not like it when anybody goes through my phone, even when it is a very close friend of mine, and I have nothing to hide on my device. This is a boundary that I have set for myself that I do not let anybody cross, and my friends respect this.
To be a good friend, you have to learn and respect people’s boundaries and set some of your own to maintain a healthy relationship together.
27. Be willing to open up when you are ready
With a bit of time and a lot of trust, you can strengthen your bond with your friends. When you feel like you have a genuine companion in your life, do not be afraid to confide in them.
If you are like me, it can be difficult to voice your thoughts and feelings. However, if a friend wants to get closer to you and you feel comfortable enough to share your secrets and confessions with them, do not hesitate to put your trust in their hands.
28. Look out for them
A good friend always has their friends’ back, especially during their most vulnerable moments. If you spot your friend in an unfamiliar situation that makes you feel uncomfortable, keep an eye out for them.
They could be hanging out with strangers or partying too hard, and they are unaware of the potential harmfulness of their environment. I am not suggesting that you should act as their babysitter — just keep one eye open for any suspicious activity that could hurt you or your friend.
Remember the Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If you look out for your friend, they will treat you with the same regard.
29. Encourage them to be their best selves
Whenever you are about to begin something new, start down a new path, join a new activity, or so on, encouragement from your peers can provide you with a major motivational boost.
That is why encouraging your friends to try new things, check out new places, and be the best versions of themselves is so important. They need your support and reassurance, and they will provide you with the same help when you find yourself in a similar situation.
30. Be honest
As stated in the previous tip, people need encouragement, support, and reassurance from their friends when exploring new ventures.
Friends are also given the difficult task of delivering the hard truth to their friends when they need it most.
For example, if a friend asks for your opinion about their outfit, and you are not a fan of it, tell them that it is not your style, but you’re happy with their look if they are. The key is not to be mean but true to yourself. Your friend should appreciate your honesty.
31. Sometimes silence is satisfactory
When you are with friends, it may seem appropriate to keep talking all the time to keep their attention and prevent them from getting bored with you.
However, sometimes it is okay to settle down and reach a comfortable silence when the conversation reaches a lull.
You don’t have to entertain them with every joke or story you tell them. Sometimes a mutual moment of calm is necessary and needed.
32. Do not judge
Friends come in all shapes and sizes. It is good to remind yourself that just because somebody does not behave like you or make the same choices that you do does mean that they are less valid.
If someone judges you for the friends you have, ignore their comments. If you do not judge your friends, they will not judge you. You and your friends can form a bond of trust through acceptance of their differences.
33. Prioritize them when tension/disaster arises
Life is full of sticky situations. It is difficult to make it through life without friends having your back.
If a conflict arises where you have to choose between your friend and another concern, make your friend the number one priority.
If they are in desperate need of your help, you cannot delay. You need to support your friend when they need it most.
34. When the time comes, tell them you love them
Love is the foundation for the strongest relationships that we will ever have. You can love your friends just as much as you love your family, perhaps even more so. If you feel this way about your friends, do not be afraid to let them know!
This can be very difficult, as it can be hard to admit your true feelings for them, but if you know that you can trust them, take the risk. If they love you as well, they will reciprocate your affections and appreciate your openness and honesty.
35. If things don’t work out, that’s okay
Every once in a while, you may find someone that you have a lot in common with, but you just don’t have the chemistry or the time to make things work.
This situation is more common than you would think, and it is perfectly okay to let friendships fade.
For example, I have met friends in college who have stayed with me through all three years, and I have met friends that have only lasted a semester, and we stopped talking once our class was over. It is absolutely normal for friendships to pass: do not be discouraged if this happens.
With these friendship tips, you can easily learn how to make friends in college. It takes thought, effort, and trust, but if you are willing to put yourself out there, you will be rewarded tenfold.
You will experience all different kinds of friendship in college. Some friends only last a semester; when the class is over, you two will run out of subjects to talk about and go your separate ways. This situation is perfectly okay and completely natural. Some friends stick around all throughout college.
They have fun with you and provide you with comfort as you overcome your daily challenges. However, once you graduate college, these friends become acquaintances. You meet them every once in a while, and you see their posts on social media, but they do not compare to your closest friends.
These select individuals are the ones who you love dearly, open up to, and confide in. Friends like these are once-in-a-lifetime — people who you cherish and treat like family. Not every friend you meet, whether in college or in life, has to be these kinds of people. Do not force a friendship with every person you meet.
Do not change your appearance or behavior to impress your friends because you are not being honest with them or yourself. Just remember to stay true to yourself, and you will eventually meet people who best suit you. It takes time and hard work, but the fruits of your labor will be successful.
With these friendship tips, you can make all different kinds of buddies in college — from class pals to forever friends.
Check out this video about making friends in college!
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