Moving to university is intense, and it can be really quite frightening. But the thing that perhaps frightens people the most is whether or not they will be able to make friends, and how to do it. One of the easiest ways to make friends at university is to chat to those people in your halls. But for those not in halls, or perhaps who aren’t fond of their flatmates – how do you make friends outside of student halls?

1. Go to Freshers Events

how to make friends as a fresher
Source: Students’ Guild

Freshers is one of the most exciting times for first years, and whilst you may assume that Freshers Events are all boozy raves and events that involve you stumbling home dressed as a zebra at 3 am. This is not always the case. There are always plenty of Freshers Events around that are both boozy and not boozy, and both types are a great way to meet new people. Whether you stumble across someone also dressed as a Zebra on the way into Walkabout, or maybe meet someone who loves Stephenie Meyer books as much as you at the murder mystery night in your local student union cafe.

2. Join Societies

what to do to socialize at uni
Source: University of Exeter Student’s Guild

Likewise, Freshers is the best time to join a few (or a load of) societies. There’s bound to be at least a society that gets you excited, so why not join in? Societies tend to meet once a week, sometimes more for sports societies, and are great places to meet new people that have similar interests. If there isn’t a society that aligns with things that you’re already interested in, why not join one for something you’ve always wanted to try? Okay there may not be a Quidditch society, but if you grew up wanting to be Santana from Glee, you can always try out for Cheerleading or for the Musical Theatre society! Check out our list of the weirdest university societies that you can join in UK universities.

3. Bumble BFF

Bumble BFF
Source: Bootcamp

The new(ish) addition to the well-known dating app, Bumble BFF is a dating app for those just looking to make new friends and meet new people. Bumble BFF allows you to set your age limit and distance, and, like normal Bumble or Tinder, you then start swiping away. Once you match with someone, you have 24 hours to talk to them. So get swiping and get messaging – it really works! Especially in university cities that are full of Freshers all trying to find their new best friends too. Discover more apps for making friends in our guide here.

4. Speak to people in lectures and tutorials

making friends in lectures

The whole point of university, as much as we resent to admit it, is to learn. So why not make the most of your lectures, tutorials and study sessions? When you’re in these sessions, sit next to someone rather than on your own, and simply spark up a conversation. It may sound daunting, but even just a “Hi, how’re you, I’m Millie,” is enough to get something started – although you should be sure to use your name, not mine… You’re going to be seeing these people quite a lot, so it makes sense to get to know them.

If you’re not sure how to start up a conversation, why not take a leaf out of the Mean Girls book and ask to borrow a pen? Or maybe ask if they read the pre-reading. There are lots of options, just pick one, and start chatting!

5. Visit communal spaces

how to make friends at university

Around campus, there will inevitably be some communal spaces – cafes, atriums with seats, smoking areas – visit these spaces as much as possible. There will be plenty of other people there, some of whom you may recognise from other places within the university. Start up a conversation, introduce yourself, make an effort and make new friends! It’s intimidating, for sure, but it’s certainly worth it in the end.

6. Join Facebook groups

how to meet people at university

You can do this before you even move to university. There will inevitably be Facebook groups set up for your university Freshers, as well as for your course and even for your halls of accommodation. Join as many of these pages and groups as possible and interact. If someone posts saying there’s an event they want to go to but they don’t have anyone to go with, tag along! If there are people asking questions that you have the answer to, reply to them and help them out. Add people who seem to be your sort of people on Facebook and drop them a message – it’s an easy, and relatively chill way to meet new people and make friends outside of student halls.

7. Don’t be afraid of the group chat

how to meet people online

Within those Facebook groups, a few group chats will likely start. There’ll be one for your course, one for the societies you’re in, and one for each module. Don’t be afraid of the group chat. They can be intimidating when there are so many people within them, but talking in group chats is a surefire way to make friends pretty quickly without having to put yourself out there as much. Eventually, you can start smaller groups wherein you can really get to know one another properly!

8. Ask for people’s socials

making friends at uni

Most importantly, when you do meet someone somewhere that you want to befriend, ask for their socials! It is very hard to be friends with someone if you’ve not got any way of contacting them again after meeting them. Get their Instagram or Snap, or even their Facebook. That way, once whatever event or lecture that you met them in is over, you can arrange to hang out again. Things like Instagram also allow you to see more about what the person is like.

Remember that making friends doesn’t happen overnight and it can take a bit of time before you fully find your tribe at university. However, if you are struggling with your mental health at uni, then be sure to reach out for help. Here is a list of places you can access mental health support in the UK.