Starting university in a new city can be a daunting prospect, especially because you’re going alone. However, once you move into your halls of residence, you’ll find yourself surrounded by hundreds of students in the same boat as you, all of them potential friends. While it is unlikely those living closest to you will be your only friends, your fellow halls inmates are more than likely to be the first people you encounter at university and, therefore, the first friendships you will form. More than this, you’ll be living in close proximity to them for a year, so it’s really in your best interests to make friends with them to ensure a (relatively) harmonious year in halls.
Breaking the ice and starting that initial conversation that could spark a lifelong friendship comes easy to some, but if you’re not feeling so super confident, here’s a few tips to help you make friends with your neighbours…
1. Before you arrive at halls, or shortly after, it’s worth joining the relevant Facebook group. Social media is a great way to track down others living on your floor and start planning all those crazy nights out for your first weeks. Keep an open mind about those you do talk to; you might not like the sound of someone online, but in reality, you could have bags in common. Be sure to introduce yourself on moving in day; a smile or friendly wave shows you have acknowledged each other.
2. Invest in a doorstop. This humble wedge of rubber or wood could make all the difference. Doors in halls have a habit of swinging shut, which is great for health and safety, but not so great for socialising. Even if you haven’t quite plucked up the courage to introduce yourself to other people, simply propping your door open for the first few days will show that you are a welcoming person. Before long, your neighbours will pop their head around the door to say hello and have a natter.
3. Bring a tin of chocolates or a box of teabags. A small gesture such as offering a chocolate or cuppa is usually received well after the stresses of moving and saying goodbye to parents. Not only do they break the ice and start a conversation, but these little everyday comforts start making halls feel more like a home. Other small gestures work equally well, such as lending someone blu tac for their posters, or simply holding a door open for someone else moving in.
4. Don’t be afraid to knock on other people’s doors and introduce yourself! Especially if they’ve propped their door open, showing they’re inviting you in for a chat. Once you’ve met one person, you can go round knocking on other people’s doors together. It’s easier once there is two of you; meeting people on your floor and block will snowball from there.
5. Don’t forget the two time-old clichés: smile, and be yourself. A smile instantly makes you look more friendly and approachable. Nobody wants to risk upsetting the fierce-looking person. Whilst a new start may seem like a great opportunity to reinvent yourself, maintaining a false persona will be exhausting, and people will see through it eventually.
Hopefully these top tips will get you started making friends to share your university experience with. However, don’t worry if you don’t end up best of buddies with your neighbours.
Friendship making opportunities are more than plentiful in the first few weeks of university, from meeting the people on your course or a library tour, joining a society to try something new, or simply getting chatting to someone queuing up for the bus.