4 tips to help you make new friends in your new uni, college, school or even office

Nothing to lose just friends to win!

When you first arrive somewhere new it can feel like you’re the odd one out, especially if you don’t know anyone. I’m sorry to say that this feeling won’t change, whether you’re joining a new gym class, university course or place of work. It can still feel like a mission to suck up the courage and speak to whoever is standing next to you. 

At times, speaking to a stranger can seem inconceivable and with the fear of (unlikely) rejection, everyone is secretly hoping that someone else will start the conversation first. 

With that in mind, breaking the ice is often easier than you may think. We spoke to members of the LifeStart community to ask them what their tips are for making friends when you’ve just arrived somewhere new. 

Ask questions

The most important thing we found out, is that opening a conversation with a question is a sure fire way to get a reply. What do you have in common with that person? You’ve both chosen to go to that uni, school, college etc. and that means you can start with anything related to where you are right now. Ask them what they’re studying, or if they’re new to the city. 

Join societies, participate in group work

As Alex R. from Sheffield University says, “Be yourself and don’t be shy to talk to people, especially those on your course.” Finding something in common with people is what will make all the difference. By starting the conversation with a question, you’ll find out sooner what mutual feelings you have. If you know that you’re the shy type, you’ll probably make friends easiest once classes start. Katrina C. from London College of Communication said that most of her friends she clicked with “during a group project or while chatting in a lecture.”

‘Your people will probably be those that have similar interests to you. April S. who studies at Goldsmiths University recommended the “best way was involving myself in societies. It threw me straight in the deep end and got to know loads of people.” So have a look at what’s on offer whether that’s sports, drama or even extreme ironing(?!) – it doesn’t matter, if you have something in common with someone, we’ll hedge our bets and say you’re halfway to becoming friends. 

Keep the door to your room open

Now something unique to universities is living in halls for the first time. It’s easier to get to know people if you’re seeing them nearly everyday (and night). Sarah W. from Birmingham University recommended to “knock on as many flat doors as possible” with freshers’ events filling the beginning of semester, you have loads of excuses to knock round and invite people over. Connie H. from Bath University agreed, adding that if you could be the flat/house baker – “Everybody loves the housemate that bakes.” The way to someone’s heart is through their stomach, and the way to a lasting friendship can be made through similar means! If you’re not sure your cooking skills are quite up to scratch, you can always buy some goodies in your weekly shop as back-up. 

Hangout in communal areas

As shy as you may be, saying “yes” when you’re invited to things and attending lots of events or just hanging around in communal areas can make you look like a fun, approachable person. Just leave your phone in your pocket and don’t look like you’re studying too hard. Grab a book/magazine or maybe pack of cards so that people feel like you actually want to be talked to. 

Don’t forget everyone’s in the same boat and hoping the other person will approach them first. Make a resolution and be that other person for once. Nothing to lose just friends to win! ..Good luck!

Want to share your tips and tricks and be featured in one of our future blog posts? Do so here!