Ever feel annoyed after hanging out with your friends? Do you feel like your friends are bringing you down? Are they “taking” more than “giving”? Many first year students easily make new friends when arriving on campus, only to learn they don’t enjoy their new acquaintances as much as they did at the beginning of UA life. If that’s how you’re feeling, it may be time for you to change directions and make some new connections. But, how?
You’ll increase your chances of meeting and making new friends by pushing yourself outside your comfort zone. Make an effort to go to events on campus (athletic events, residence hall events, music recitals, Mall events, free movies, etc.). Get a job on campus. Join a club. Talk to people in your classes. Invite a classmate to grab lunch at the Union. Set up a study group. Go discover the turtle pond! Making the first invitation may seem intimidating, however, it can be the first step to a lasting friendship.
If you live with your family or live in a house off-campus, it’s more challenging to meet people and will require more energy on your part. Push yourself to try new activities and visit new places on campus. Make it a point to “hang out” on campus for an hour or two, rather than leaving right when classes are over.
It’s clear that you aren’t going to meet new people if you stay at home in your room or walk around campus with earbuds in, staring at your phone. Unplug from technology and dare to make meaningful personal connections. It’s what humans crave.
Your “future friends” are out there! Look for them wherever you see students: in classes, at jobs, in groups, at events, etc. You have everything to gain and, in the words of the great hockey player Wayne Gretzky, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”