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Graduate Advice
5 min read

Forming Friendships At University

Making friendships when you embark on your further education journey at university can be a highly transformative and immensely rewarding experience as you step away from familiarity and enter a new way of living. You will meet people from all different backgrounds and walks of life that you have never met previously.
Written by
Joanna Clare
Content Manager
Published on
March 23, 2024

Making friendships when you embark on your further education journey at university can be a highly transformative and immensely rewarding experience as you step away from familiarity and enter a new way of living. You will meet people from all different backgrounds and walks of life that you have never met previously. Whether you consider yourself to be shy and find it difficult to  form new friendships or whether you are outgoing and easily mingle with strangers, you will be placed in an unfamiliar situation from the start. However, the diverse and dynamic environment of a university campus will offer you many opportunities to build lasting and meaningful connections that may last a lifetime.

For those who are naturally outgoing, you may be eagerly anticipating the social scene that university offers and may be looking forward to endless possibilities and adventures with your new friends. Engaging in the numerous clubs and events that are offered as well as initiating conversations will be far less daunting than for those of a quieter disposition. Being an outgoing person does provide an advantage of being able to readily approach others and participating in a wide range of activities which will connect you with a broad network of associates. Joining organisations, trying out new sports and volunteering for the many events on offer are great ways for those who consider themselves to be outgoing to expand their social circles.

Being more reserved or shy should not hinder the process of making new friends as shyness can often stem from a fear of being judged or different and so you may hesitate in social situations for fear of not being accepted or liked. Universities are known for being extremely welcoming and diverse establishments where everyone is welcome and no one is shunned for any reason. They are very well aware that some students may be extremely anxious about forming new friendships and will implement various strategies to make you feel at home straight away. There will also be tailored mental health support for those who need it.

You could start by attending smaller groups or activities where the interaction feels less overwhelming and you are with kindred spirits. Joining study groups, participating in workshops or attending small events can be excellent ways to connect with others whilst remaining in your comfort zone until you feel ready to venture out some more.

Whatever your personality type, you can benefit hugely by sharing your passions and interests with others and you will be pleasantly surprised at the amount and variation of activities, clubs and societies that universities offer all their students. It is by showing interest and participating in these communities which will provide a common ground for forming friendships.

Additionally, using digital platforms are a good strategy for any personality type and online forums, social media groups and university or subject specific groups can often assist in the facilitation of connecting with other students for discussions and support. These platforms allow self expression at a slower pace.

The key to forming friendships at university is your unique authenticity. Starting university life should be seen as a blank canvas so be genuine, show an interest in others and do not be afraid to step out of your comfort zone every now and again while still controlling your interactions. Friendships often develop naturally through shared experiences so attending classes and events while familiarising yourselves with the university and the local area will create bonds that transcend initial shyness or hesitation.

University life has an unlimited amount of opportunities in which to get to know others and in the process, getting to know yourself better. Embrace your unique qualities and enjoy the exciting journey of building different connections with fellow students.

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