Tips on making friends

The five tips to help you build meaningful relationships during the pandemic are: challenge yourself, find your interests, connect through social media, invest in existing relationships, and give yourself time.

Students from Kings College London share their tips for making friends at university.

Video transcript

Building meaningful friendships improves wellbeing so we can thrive. Positive relationships help us about self worth and find belonging so we can be ourselves. They give us a chance to share experiences and make memories with others. They also provide a support network to help overcome challenges. No matter what life brings, friendship can help make things better.

University is a great place to make new friends and build on your current support network. You may be worried about making friends at university, you're not alone. The biggest concern of many new students is that they won't make meaningful relationships.

Whether you're a new or returning student it is normal to worry about how the coronavirus might affect friendships. Making new friends might seem especially scary, with many social experiences changing. Even if you're comfortable making new friends, This year will probably present new challenges to building friendship circles.

Despite individual worries about making friends at university, one thing unites all students. Every student starting university is trying to make friends during a unique time. This means that there are loads of students sharing the same worries and experience as you.

A basic part of building friendships is sharing experiences. So you'll be in a great position to make friends with people in the same position as you. This means that more students will be open minded to connect in new ways. Here's some of our tips to help you approach making friends for starting university during the coronavirus.

1. Challenge yourself

To make friends, we sometimes have to step out of our comfort zones. Try to set yourself a challenge to attend available events and lectures virtually or in person. Some common events you might see are residence hall welcome events, quiz inductions, freshers events and more. These are all opportunities to meet people and make friends.

Once you're at the event or lecture, give yourself an extra challenge to speak with at least one new person. If you meet someone you like as a friend, ask to connect with them. Even if you only follow each other on social media, it's a positive first step.

It might seem scary to ask for someone's contact details who you just met. But remember, everyone else is in the same position as you. Many students will be happy that you made the effort to start building a friendship because they are looking for friends too.

2. Find your interests

Every university has the opportunity for you to get involved and pursue new and old interests. Make it a goal to discover all the ways that you can get involved at your university before you start. Once you've explored all your options, make a list of the ones that interest you the most.

You may want to join a society or Sport Club, volunteer or even apply for a part time job at your university. All of these opportunities not only let you pursue your passions, but they are also a great place to meet like minded people. They give you a chance to connect with others regularly to help build friendships through similar interests.

3. Connect through social media

So it's possible to connect online and meet friends before you start university. Some courses and residence halls have social media and group chats that you can join. So follow your university and union on social media so you can be notified of events and connect online and meet others.

4. Invest in existing relationships

When you start it can be easy to feel like all your friends should be university mates. But don't forget to keep investing in the relationships you had before you came to university. To avoid getting caught up when making new friends. You can put aside some time each week to connect with your existing support network. And if you have friends that are starting at other universities, you can hear from them how they're making new friends and learn from each other.

5. Give yourself time

Making friends takes time, you might not meet your next best friend in the first week of university. You might not like any of your flatmates. You might realize that the friends you made you in freshers are not who you want to spend time with. And it's okay. You'll find your friends so don't feel rushed. Try not to compare your experience with others. those around you might seem like they made loads of friends. Every person and their experiences are unique, so they shouldn't be compared with you. Finding meaningful friendships takes time and can happen when you least expect it. Just keep challenging yourself, finding new interests, connecting through social media and invest in existing relationships. And soon you'll find your friends.

This video was created by Positive Peers, who are KCLSU Wellbeing peer supporters trained through Student Minds to support the mental health and wellbeing of fellow students. Through creating student-only spaces where students can support and learn from each other, the Positive Peers help their peers to thrive.