Four people linking arms looking at sunset.

The social side of university

Coming to University can be daunting, and the pressure to make friends instantly can make your experience even worse.

Uni culture seems to revolve around having a great social life, and for some, making friends or putting themselves out there is not as easy as it is for others. I definitely felt the pressure to socialise constantly when I first arrived but had no clear idea of where to start. So, here are a few tips to help navigate making friends and maintaining those relationships.

Arriving:

Join group chats

It’s true, group chats are annoying, and most of the time you probably won’t know what’s going on in a lot of them, but joining group chats¬†before you arrive is essential. This is where you can find your housemates prior to arrival, and make some friends without even having met them face to face yet. They can be good to help calm your nerves, as you know you will have at least one person who you can say hi to around campus.

Keep your door open

Invest in a doorstop! This is one of the best pieces of advice I was ever given. Keeping your door open during freshers week gives your housemates the vibe that you are social and willing to talk to them. They’ll come in to ask you one thing, and suddenly you’re having a four-hour conversation about your favourite band (true story). It’s perhaps the easiest way to initiate conversation.

Go to fresher’s events!

Attending freshers week events, even virtually, is a must! They will allow you to interact with different people, and perhaps find a society that suits you perfectly. I know the experience won’t quite be the same as you anticipated, but virtual and socially distanced events can still be great fun!

A few more tips on how to make friends at uni can be found in Malene’s video.

Maintaining Relationships:

Don’t forget your friends have lives too!

It’s easy to become wrapped up in your own bubble when you get to uni, especially if none of your friends came with you. Therefore, it is essential to remember that your friends will have other things going on in their lives too – it’s all about compromise and communication. This is where having different groups of friends can come in handy. Also, staying in contact with your friends from home is a must – why not arrange a group video call?

Find activities that interest everyone

It’s important that everyone in your friendship group feels comfortable. Make a list of all the fun group activities in your area and see which of them everyone wants to do. It’s always good to switch up what you do together every now and then!

Resolving Conflict:

Take responsibility

Part of being an adult is owning up to your mistakes. Knowing how you have contributed to an argument or conflict is a good way to be able to work on how to move forward. People are more likely to listen to your grievances if you can take responsibility for your own actions and see how you’ve hurt them as well. Living in such close quarters with other people you need to have a good level of self-awareness.

Respect others!

Not everyone is going to like you, and you’re not going to like everyone. That’s just the way the world works. But maintaining respect for each other, even if your personalities clash is a must. Approach people that you have a conflict with in a non-confrontational way and listen to what they’re saying – this should prevent any escalation.

These are just a few tips to get you started on thinking about how you can broaden your friendship circle and meet new people. Our new Mental Health and Wellbeing podcast ‘Fresher Take’ tackles this topic in more depth, so why not give it a listen and gain even more tips to improve your university experience? You can stream it on all major platforms, or head over to this website for access.

This article was updated on 14/09/2020 to comply with changes due to COVID-19.
Please note: This content was created prior to Coronavirus, and some things might be different due to current laws and restrictions. Please refer to the Students’ Union and the University of Lincoln for the latest information. ¬†and