11 tips on how to make friends at uni

Alexandra Greenhalgh
11.04.22 – 08 Mins Read

Let’s start building friendships that will last a lifetime.

You’re packed and raring to go! Heading off to university is one of the most exciting times of your life, where you will meet and build friendships that will last a lifetime. However, it’s ok to be worried about making friends at uni. It’s natural to be nervous. Here at Vita Student, we’ve put together our top 11 tips on how to make friends at uni to help you along the way.

More top tips from Vita Student:  How to handle your first semester at university.

How to make friends in university

Being a fresher can be a daunting time, and it’s natural to feel nervous about making friends at university. Not making friends at uni can be lonely and is something that every student is worried about! But these 11 tips on how to make friends at uni will help you take a step in the right direction.

Join Facebook groups

The easiest way to begin making friends at uni is by joining Facebook groups. There are so many different groups online that range from fresher-specific groups to societies and interest groups. These groups will post activities and events going on at your university.

They are super easy to find as well! For example, if you are going to be studying at Manchester University, simply search in your Facebook browser bar ‘Manchester Uni Freshers’ and a whole bunch of groups will appear.

Remember that everyone is in the same boat and will be wondering how to make friends at uni, so don’t be afraid to reach out and add people. It’s a great way to make connections before you’ve even moved to your student accommodation.

Take a look at the Vita Student Facebook page to see some of the amazing friendships that have formed within our buildings.

Sign up to societies

Societies are quite possibly the best way to make new friends at uni. During freshers’ week, you’ll most likely attend a freshers’ fare where you’ll be able to browse all the available societies and clubs to join.

The awesome thing about societies is that there are usually hundreds per university, so you’ll be able to find a club that sparks your interest. Get involved in sports societies, arts & crafts, gaming, hiking, skiing, movie clubs – you name it, they’ll have it!

During freshers’ week, most of these societies will run a free taster session so you can try an activity before making any commitment or spending your student loan. Pick 3 or 4 of these taster sessions to try out and initiate conversation with others on the taster. You’ll not only meet a bunch of potential new mates, but you might even pick up a new hobby too.

Discover the five people you NEED to meet during freshers’ week.

Help your flatmates move in

Making friends at uni will be a breeze if you nail the first interaction with your housemates. You’ll be living with these people for at least a year, so it’s important to make an effort with your flatmates from the get-go.

The initial ‘hello’ might feel awkward, but trust us, it will be worth it. Helping your new flatmates move their stuff in will alleviate some of the initial awkwardness and help get a conversation flowing without too much pressure.

It’ll also be easier to find common interests too – you might come across a book or film that you’re into and this will help you relax and spark a good natter with someone who is potentially going to be a life-long friend.

Annoying flatmates? Here’s how to hack it with housemates from hell!

Keep your door open

If you’re struggling to make friends at uni, then a good tactic to try is to keep your door open. People are much more likely to swing by for a tea or ask how you are if your door is open. Don’t feel pressured to keep it open when you need some alone time, but if you’re in a social mood, an open door can show your housemates that you’re keen to get chatting. But if you’re in a social mood, keeping your door open suggests that you are happy to talk to people and is much more inviting.

Constantly having your door shut may give off the impression that you don’t want to talk to anyone, or people might think that you haven’t even moved in yet.

Visit your neighbours

Living in student accommodation is the perfect opportunity to forge long-lasting friendships. You’ll meet tonnes of new people from the start. When you arrive, make knocking on your neighbour’s door and introducing yourself one of the first things you do.

This is a perfectly normal thing to do and often, your flat will make solid friendships with the other flats around you. It’s also great if you need to get away for a few hours. Living with flatmates will bring its hiccups, having friends who live next door means that you can easily escape any annoying housemates.

Hang out in communal spaces

Don’t be afraid to make the first move and start a conversation. Talking to people in your seminars, tutorials and lectures is a good starting point as you already have something in common. Although it can be daunting to talk to someone you’ve never met before, try to get the courage to say something because the response will only ever be friendly.

If you’re starting a conversation with a course-mate and not sure where to begin, ask them how they’re finding the course so far, or what attracted them to it. Chances are, you’ll find you’re passionate about the same things!

Making friends on your course is also super handy in case you miss a lecture or two, as you’ll be able to catch up in no time.

Sit next to someone in your lectures

One of the easiest ways in making friends at uni is to sit next to someone in your lecture. This might be scary at first and you might be tempted to leave a space in between seats or hide away at the back of the lecture theatre.

However, if you’re on the hunt for some new mates, then sitting next to someone in your lecture and introducing yourself could lead to a budding friendship. Plus, if you don’t click, you only need to make conversation for 5 or 10 minutes until the lecture starts.

Invite people to do things

It’s easy to meet loads of people at freshers’ week and then never communicate with them again. If you meet someone you like, then make sure you get their number, or follow them on social media. Reach out to them and ask if they want to go for a coffee, meet for lunch or go to the SU for a few drinks.

Everyone is in the same boat and wondering how to make friends at uni, so reaching out and making the first move will be really appreciated by the other person, especially if the person you meet is particularly shy or anxious.

Organise a study group

Remember that uni isn’t all about the socials. A large chunk of your time will be dedicated to studying and revising.

Once you’ve broken the ice in the first few seminars or lectures and found some familiar faces, try to organise a study group. Not only does this solidify friendships, but it will also save you from spending long hours in the library alone and will help you get some awesome tips on skills you need such as essay writing and referencing.

We’ve written some great blogs on skills, such as  how to boost your CV.

Be yourself

Our final tip on how to make friends at uni is probably the most important. Be yourself. You’re wonderful as you are and will have no problem meeting like-minded people. There is a whole bunch of different characters at university and if you are being yourself, you’ll naturally gravitate to those who are similar to you.

How to make friends at uni when living at home

Making friends at uni when living at home can be slightly more difficult, however it’s certainly not impossible. You still go to lectures, have access to the library and are invited to all the student nights!

Whilst you may not live with flatmates, you can make a tonne of friends with people who are on your course. Make sure you make an extra effort to sit with people on your first day and invite them for a coffee once the lecture is over.

If you’re living at home and want to make friends at uni, then you should also consider joining a social where you can attend weekly events. Living at home doesn’t mean you’ll have no friends at uni and you’ll make just as many as those living in student halls of residence.

Common questions on how to make friends at uni

Here at Vita Student, we’ve met hundreds of thousands of freshers from all over the globe and nine times out of ten, people have the same worries and concerns. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions we come across in regard to friendships.

Is it normal to have no friends at uni?

Some people are extroverts and some introverts. What this means is that some people are outgoing and confident, whilst others are quiet and shy. No one should be left with no friends at uni, Unfortunately, it’s a difficulty that many students face during their studies – so it certainly doesn’t make you abnormal.

If you are struggling to make friends at university, then try joining a social that you are interested in. You’ll already have something in common with the others on the society and this will make it easier to spark a conversation.

If you are really struggling with friendships and are feeling lonely, then contact your universities counselling services. You are definitely not the only person who feels alone, and the councillors will be able to offer you guidance and advice.

Why is it so hard to make friends in university?

Making initial friendships at uni can be difficult because you are in completely new surroundings and you’re in a huge transitional phase of your life . Most people are living away from home for the first time, and this in itself is a scary thing.

You might feel worried or closed off to begin with. But in time, you’ll begin to relax and strong friendships will naturally form, whether that’s like-minded people on your course or your flatmates.

How do shy people make friends at uni?

Being shy doesn’t mean you won’t make any friends at uni. Lots of people are shy and feel anxious talking to new people. Although it might seem scary, try and set yourself achievable targets. For example, sit next to someone in your lectures at least once a week and introduce yourself. Pretty soon you’ll see familiar faces and speaking to them will seem less daunting.

Is it hard to find friends in university?

Absolutely not! There are literally thousands of people attending university and you have the pick of the litter. If you put yourself out there, join clubs, initiate conversation and sit next to people, you’ll be making friends at uni that will last a lifetime.

How to make friends at uni – the last word!

That’s it from us here at Vita Student. We hope you’ve found this article useful and are now well prepared to start building those friendships. To quickly recap, our top 11 tips on how to make friends at uni are:

1.     Join Facebook groups

2.     Sign up to societies

3.     Help your flatmates move in

4.     Keep your door open

5.     Visit your neighbours

6.     Hang out in communal spaces

7.     Start a conversation

8.     Sit next to someone in your lectures

9.     Invite people to do things

10. Organise a study group

11. Be yourself

If you found this article useful, then head on over to the Vita Student blog, where you’ll find loads of tips on all things uni life.