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Making Friends in College

Hi, My Name Is . . .

"In the beginning of the year everyone is in the same boat, knowing no one, so go out of your way and introduce yourself to a variety of people – it will make your year more enjoyable."
– Sophomore, Fairfield University

We might sound like a broken record, but the best way to make friends is to be yourself. You want to find people whom you like to hang out with and who like the real you. If you felt pressured to put up a front in high school, college is the time to be honest with yourself and find a community you enjoy. There's a niche for everyone – find yours and don't be afraid to be open about it.

Making friends is not an overnight process, and introduction after introduction can make you feel overwhelmed. Be friendly, strike up a conversation, and ask questions – people love to talk about themselves. Don't feel sheepish if you need to ask for someone's name again. It's understandable, and you're better off doing it now than three months later. Even if you're generally shy, try to be slightly more social for the first couple weeks so that you don't isolate yourself.

Here are a few fun ideas for meeting people:

  • Embarrass yourself – no one will be intimidated by you, and some people may be intrigued.
  • Invite a few people to eat an informal lunch or dinner in the cafeteria. It's free, it fosters conversation, and everybody has to eat.
  • Introduce people you've met to other people and ask to meet your friends' friends. The more people you meet, the greater your chances of finding the few who will become your closest friends.
  • Free food and games draw college students like flies to that sticky paper stuff. No one can resist a homemade cookie or a good party, so give both.
  • Keep your room door open when you're in and don't mind being disturbed – you'll be welcoming conversation and your hallmates will be glad to stop by.
  • Make an effort to get to know people outside of your dorm by not hanging out there all the time. Stay back after class and talk to your classmates, share a table at the cafeteria, and strike up a conversation near your mailbox.
  • Go to open-mike nights, help sessions, and organizational club meetings. You might not enjoy the actual activity, but it's a great way to meet people.
This whole process can be intimidating, but don't worry – everyone is in the same boat and will appreciate your efforts to be nice. Don't put pressure on yourself to form lasting friendships right away; those take time. Just find people with whom you have fun and are comfortable, and the rest will come.

Navigating Your Freshman Year From Navigating Your Freshman Year by Students Helping Students®. Copyright © 2005. Used by arrangement with Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

If you'd like to buy this book, click here or on the book cover. Get a 15% discount with the coupon code FEPARENT.

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From Navigating Your Freshman Year by Students Helping Students®. Copyright 2005. Used by arrangement with Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

If you'd like to buy this book, click here or on the book cover. Get a 15% discount with the coupon code FENPARENT.

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