We all make friends at different speeds. Some people become best friends from the start, while others may have to get through a couple of months of small talk before they truly feel comfortable with someone.
If you haven’t quite built strong friendships yet, that’s okay. There’s plenty of time to make new friends or strengthen bonds, and it certainly doesn’t only happen in freshers’ week. To help you along your way, here’s how to build solid relationships with your friends based on our own experiences.
Feeling homesick? Struggling with a breakup? Not enjoying your course? There are plenty of things that may be weighing on your mind in the first couple of months at uni, but don’t keep them inside.
If you feel comfortable, open up about what’s bothering you and confide in your new flatmates or friends. Placing trust in them will bring you closer together and, chances are, they’ll experience similar feelings at some point in their uni journey. We’ve also found that opening up to someone helps us offload our problems, making us feel like a weight has been lifted off our shoulders.
As the buzz from freshers’ settles down, it’s important to remember that there’s still time to meet new people, sign up to things and strengthen friendships. A great way to do this is to join a club or society with a friend or flatmate. In fact, you can join a new club at any point throughout the year.
Find out if you have anything in common with your new flat or course mates and then bond over your mutual interest by joining a club and going along to sessions every week. Even if you don’t have existing interests, there’s nothing stopping you from picking out something new to try together.
This way, you get to do something fun while learning more about each other. Plus, I’ve always found it easier to make friends when you’ve got someone else to bounce off from the start.
Shopping and cooking for one can sometimes make you feel isolated. Team up with one of your new friends, however, and you’ll be able to share the costs of food and also the hassle of cooking. Plus, you might even learn a thing or two from each other.
Food has brought people together from the dawn of time, when we’d sit around a fire eating what had been foraged and hunted. These days families sit at a table to eat and catch up. Replicate this with a flatmate or two and you’ll be able to bond while doing something.
Better yet, it gives you the opportunity to find out if you have a similar taste in food. There’s no shame in growing closer over a shared love of fajitas (or any other food!). In fact, sharing food and recipes is a really great way to build relationships, and it may even be the start of three years of living with the same people (you can actually reserve your spot with friends now through the Unite Student property pages).
If your new friends are people you’ve met through your course, one way you can firm up your relationship is by working on a project together. That way, you’ll spend a good amount of time together without the pressure of thinking about something to talk about.
Instead, you can focus on the task at hand, enjoy the teamwork and let the conversation flow.
As you have probably noticed, there’s a bit of a theme developing here. Rather than just sitting in your flat trying to force conversation, we reckon getting out and active is the best way to grow as friends.
And what better way than exploring the place you now call home. Rope in your flat or course mates, step outside and take in the sights and sounds of your new city. Seek out the best brunch spots, quirky bars and free things to do while making plans for the upcoming weeks.
Despite all this, remember that becoming close friends with people can take time. Don’t worry if it’s not happened right away. Keep calm, take opportunities whenever they come along and try to enjoy the journey.