4 Rules for Making Friends Your First Semester of College

Group of friends sitting at grass on sunny day
Group of friends sitting at grass on sunny day

Meeting cool, like-minded people in college is different from when you did it in kindergarten, where a shared love of sticking scissors in light sockets was all it took to make quick friends. If you went to high school with the same people for whom you professed your endless love via embarrassing Valentine's cards in first grade (hi Colton), you're going to have to build your friend-making muscle a bit.

These rules to friend-making from me, a verified friend professional (aka a random human who survived college with minor damage), will help you find your true BFFs and begin the ~best years of your life~.

Rule 1: Chill out
In those first few weeks, the best thing you can do is chill. The eff. Out. If you're like me, you totally freak out when you meet new people. You sweat a lot and you get really loud even though you're a generally quiet person.


And then you spill your guts and brag incessantly about unimpressive things, like how you can kayak class III rapids and play two recorders at one time out of your nostrils. This kind of behavior just repels potential besties, who will never want to engage in conversation with you ever again.

Take a breath, stop talking so loudly and so MUCH and sit back and listen to what other people have to say. This is not a make-friends-on-night-one-or-die situation. You have four years to meet new people and figure out who jives with you. The best thing you can do in the beginning is listen. Also, if you tell anyone your SAT score or ask anyone else what their SAT score was, you lose college and are sent home immediately in a limo, "Bachelor"-style.


Rule 2: Give everyone the benefit of the doubt

Cool people often do a lot of dumb ish their freshman year of college. It just happens.


If somebody rubs you the wrong way the first few months of school, don't write them off if it's not a serious offense -- maybe they're trying to get attention or they're nervous or they don't yet understand that the beer-before-liquor saying is not a casual suggestion. That said...

Rule 3: Don't vomit on humans or their things
This seems obvious, but judging by the number of people who do not follow this advice, it is not. The Venn diagram of people you've thrown up on and people you are still friends with is probably two separate circles. If your diagram overlaps, CHERISH that friendship forever and never let go because you are lucky enough to know an otherworldly being.


Rule 4: Don't let your expectations run away from you
This stuff will all take time to figure out, so don't panic if you're six months into school and you haven't met your friend-soulmate yet. It's OK. Things will change over time. People will leave and more will come into your life, and it's not like you're signing an NDA with anyone. Remember how long it took you to build your strongest friendships before, and don't panic when your new friends don't immediately skyrocket to that level.

Freshman year is a roller coaster of complete college bliss and utter loneliness. Most graduates over the age of 35 will tell you it was the "best four years of their lives." Maybe that's true, but like you, they had an adjustment period in the beginning.

If you're prepared for a little loneliness, you'll be able to appreciate the magical things, like the first time you and your roommate realize you both know all the words to "The Confrontation" from Les Miserables and wordlessly assume your roles in a dramatic lip sync battle. And then you'll know: College is going to be AWESOME.