Navigating university friendships

Navigating university friendships

You meet a lot of people at uni from all kinds of backgrounds. Halls especially throw you in at the deep end and create friendships that might not have developed organically (which doesn’t mean they aren’t great). A lot of people assume that friendships made at uni are the kind that last forever, and that can put a lot of pressure on a friendship or group. No friendship automatically has the power to be a lifelong one, no matter where you meet. Whether you’re having issues with someone in your friendship group, or want to ensure a friendship does last, here’s my advice for navigating university friendships.

I’m having issues with a flatmate

This is a tricky one as you’ll have to see them pretty much every day. My advice is don’t let them, or feelings of awkwardness, stop you from being in communal areas. I did this, and avoided my kitchen, so my diet was horrendous. If it might be awkward, or they might be confrontational, put in your headphones and ignore them. Try not to isolate yourself from the rest of your flatmates either, especially if they aren’t involved in the argument. It’s okay to not get on with someone but be as civil as possible until the end of the year and then you can choose to move out.

Navigating university friendships

I’m having issues with a course mate

Finding new friends on your course once you’ve settled into your groups can feel weird, but people aren’t going to mind if you ask to sit with them. Once the ice is broken the first time it’s much easier to make sitting with them a routine. If the person you’re having issues with makes you feel uncomfortable then try speaking to your personal tutor or lecturer about alternative lectures or seminar groups. Whilst you shouldn’t have to change your routine because of someone else, its usually easier.

I want to make better friends with a course mate

Just say hi! It’s awkward and uncomfortable but it’s worth it. If you’ve already been introduced, invite them to hang out and study, or grab a coffee before a lecture. Making friends with one person usually ends up in making friends with a whole group. This gives you even more opportunities to make coffee dates and study with people. Set up a group chat and grab a table in the library.

Navigating university friendships

I want to make better friends with a flatmate

Living with someone makes hanging out with them so much easier. Ask if they want to travel with you to uni, grab a coffee and study or just make dinner at the same time and chat. Show an interest in the things they talk about and prove you listen. It won’t take long before you know a lot about each other.

I want to meet some new people

Societies, sports clubs and uni events are the best places to meet people outside of halls and lectures. Pick an interest or two and get involved. Most clubs will have an intro week so you can get a feel for the people before paying any membership fees. The more clubs you try the more people you’ll meet. Even if you don’t join the club you try out, you might meet someone you can hang out with at other times. If there isn’t a club you’re interested in, ask your SU if you can start one!

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