How to Be a Friendless Hermit in College (and How to Actually Make Friends)
Stay in your dorm room as much as possible to ensure few people even know you exist.
Refuse every invitation to get to know others. Do so as rudely as possible.
During the first week of classes, approach every organization on campus to let them know how useless you think they are.
Now that that’s out of the way…
We at InterVarsity believe that finding close friends and community is one of the most important parts of college. Through quality friendships, you’ll learn more than you could on your own, you’ll gain new perspectives, and your walk with Jesus will grow. And if you just avoid the “tips” above, we don’t think you’ll have too much trouble.
So without further ado, here are some real tips for making friends in college:
1. Relax & Remember
Whatever worries you have about making friends are normal and temporary. Remember that almost everyone enters college friendless. This puts you in an ideal position because it means you’re not the only one searching for friends. College can feel pretty overwhelming at first, but keep in mind that so many others are entering with similar feelings of stress, worry, loneliness, etc. The goal now is to find each other.
2. Spark Up a Conversation
Depending on where or how you grew up, this could feel natural or totally awkward. Some people might look at you like you’re from outer space, but others will be grateful you took the first step in making them feel seen.
Don’t overthink it. Not everyone enters college as a social butterfly, yet we all manage to make friends somehow. Look for common ground. Even going through a typical small talk routine with your desk neighbor isn’t so awful: What’s your major? What dorm are you in? These kinds of questions might not lead to anything, but even so, you’ll get some practice initiating conversations with strangers (a thing many of us find difficult). So, try it out and feel proud of yourself no matter the outcome.
3. Say Yes to Unexpected Invitations
There’s so much to gain from saying yes to meeting new people. Roommate invitation to the football game? Sure. R.A. hosting a dorm get-together? Okay, yes! Sometimes you’ll go to an event and feel zero chemistry with the people you meet. Keep trying! Eventually, you’ll find “your people.”
Remember that you’re likely to meet people who are very different from you in college, but don’t let that scare you. This is your chance to pursue diverse friendships. If an invitation to a poetry slam night isn’t something you’d normally go to, consider going anyway.
4. Take Advantage of What’s Around You
Joining a student organization is a great way to make friends, and there are so many to choose from: volunteer groups, intramural sports teams, ethnic-specific orgs, etc. Most schools have an online database that’ll help you find these groups.
Obviously, consider connecting with InterVarsity’s ministry on campus. Not only is an InterVarsity community a great place to make friends, but you’ll also get the chance to grow spiritually, intellectually, and emotionally while having a ton of fun! We study Scripture, reach our classmates with the gospel together, have hangouts, and so much more. Sign up here if you haven’t already, and someone from InterVarsity on your campus will reach out.
If InterVarsity isn’t already established on your campus, you have two options: (1) Check out another Christian community at your school! You can find them on your school’s online database or here. (2) YOU can start an InterVarsity community! If your school has no gospel movements, and/or you feel compelled specifically by our vision and values, we encourage this! It’ll give you great leadership experience, and you’ll get tons of support from us. Check out this resource to start.
A Worthwhile Process
God didn’t create us to go through life alone. If ever you find yourself feeling crushed by the weight of loneliness, spend some time asking him to comfort you and remind you of his unfailing love. You’re never alone, and he’s always there for you. And remember that making friends is a process. Some people will make friends quickly. Others need more time. Try not to compare your timeline to others. You’ll get there eventually and find that the joy, laughter, and growth you experience in these new friendships will be worth every hurdle you jumped through to find them.
Want more tips on surviving and thriving in college? Check out the rest of our Freshmen Guide. And join an InterVarsity community by clicking this link.
Emily Baez is a writer on InterVarsity’s Communications Team in Madison, Wisconsin. She enjoys long hikes, watching movies, and overly competitive game nights with friends. You can support her ministry at donate.intervarsity.org/donate#22836.
Now I often find myself hunched over my phone in line at the grocery store or sitting in my car checking TikTok for some fresh hits of dopamine before I set out on my way. It’s like I’d rather have something take up the space in my mind than be alone with the quiet of my own thoughts anymore.