Londoners may have a bit of a reputation for being anti-social but it couldn’t be further from the truth! With so many people flocking to the capital and so much going on, it’s a fantastic place to make friends from all over the world and create life-long friendships. If you’re feeling anxious about meeting new people and making friends when you move to London, we have some helpful tips to encourage you to be a social butterfly and make the most out of your university days.
How to Make Friends in London as a Student
This can be one of the top issues that make people nervous when moving to university, especially if you’re moving abroad or to a city you’ve never been to before. These are our top five tips to keep in mind when you arrive to get started:
1. Go to Fresher events
This may seem obvious but it really is a great way to put yourself out there. While you might feel busy or overwhelmed at the beginning of the year, the Fresher events are designed specifically to welcome new students to help you learn your way around campus, get a feel for the social life, and hopefully meet new people.
2. Join plenty of societies
When you start the year, it’s the perfect time to join societies and we encourage you to join as many as possible! This is the best way to meet people who aren’t on your course but have similar interests, which is a great common ground to start on. Even if you don’t attend regular meetings, every society has a jam-packed social calendar – so sign up for invites and tag along to anything that catches your attention.
3. Don’t drink too much
While we encourage you to have as much fun as possible – just don’t go overboard. Drinking too much is a bad idea for many reasons, including being bad for your health and safety, but it also doesn’t help you make friends. If you’re a mess and can’t remember who you met, then you won’t make lasting friendships. Moderate your alcohol and keep your wits about you, you’ll enjoy yourself much more.
4. Introduce yourself to coursemates
It can feel very overwhelming when you have new classes, a new schedule, and a sea of new faces to contend with but try to actually introduce yourself to people on your course. Sometimes it’s easier to rush from lecture to lecture without saying a word to those around you. However, this won’t help you in the long run. Take the time to say hi to people you see regularly and once the ice is broken, you’ll be well on your way to new friends.
5. Study on campus
Depending on how you like to study, you may feel inclined to do your work in the quiet of your dorm. There’s nothing wrong with this, especially when you need to be productive. However, when it comes to meeting new people, studying in common areas on campus will help you put yourself out there and see some friendly faces.
Try suggesting a study group with people from your course or societies, this is a great opportunity to get to know people without too much social pressure.
Ways to Make Friends in Student Accommodation
When you’re living away from home for the first time, you may feel anxious about the kind of people you’ll be living with and if you’ll get along. Everyone is in the same boat, so try to be friendly and open, and keep in mind our top tips for making friends in your halls:
6. Take a doorstop
This might seem like a random suggestion but a doorstop is a hugely important part of socialising in halls! In many student accommodations, you’ll find there is an “open door” policy, which means you can prop your door open and it tells others that you’re happy for people to come and say hi. During your first few days, take a wander and try to see how many people you can say hi to.
7. Help your flatmates move in
If you happen to move in before someone else, lending a helping hand is a great way to break the ice. This way you can make them feel welcome as soon as they arrive and get to know them.
Never lived with flatmates before? Take a look at our tips for living in shared accommodation to make things go smoothly.
8. Go to social events
Many student accommodations will hold social events and activities for the residents, so try your best to attend a few. Everyone there is up for meeting new people and having a good time, so it’s the perfect place to introduce yourself and get to know who else is living with you.
9. Pack icebreakers
Before you even get there, you can help yourself out with some clever packing. You’ll have plenty to think about, so check out our packing for university checklist, but there are some extra essentials for getting the most out of your time at uni. Alongside your doorstop, try to bring some things that encourage socialisation – here are a few of our suggestions:
- Deck of cards
- Board games
- Gaming console
- Recipe books
10. Hang out in common areas
Again, it can be tempting to keep to your own dorm or flat, especially if you’re feeling anxious or lonely. However, try to spend some time in the communal spaces available. This shows you’re up for being social and makes you look more approachable to talk to. If there are activities like table football or tennis, or even a cinema space like at some urbanest accommodations, invite people to join you.
11. Organise activities
If you’re ready to take it up a notch, then organising some sort of trip or activity is a great way to encourage people to come out of their shells. At university, many of us have moved to a new city so organising an outing to explore the local area or see some popular tourist spots should be an enjoyable experience.
How to Make Friends in London Outside of University
This one can be extra tricky – without the structure of university or common ground of doing the same course, how do you meet people? We have some top tips for breaking out and making friends outside of the university bubble:
12. Become a regular
When it comes to making friends outside of the university, it can feel impossible to know where to start. One of the best ways to meet people is to get into a routine. If you go to the same coffee shops, bars, and pubs, then you’ll get to know the other regulars and can build relationships.
13. Pick up a hobby
London is a hugely diverse city full of people who want to share their interests, so picking up a hobby is a great way to meet like-minded people. Whether it’s something you already do or brand new, from knitting to rock climbing or bird watching – look out for classes, group sessions, and organised activities where you can learn a new skill while you get chatting.
If you have time in your week and want to give back, then volunteering can be really fulfilling. It’s a great chance to do something helpful for the community and meet lots of new people while you’re doing it. Team London volunteering is run by the Mayor of London and has a huge list of volunteer roles for current projects from running crafting sessions, mentoring, staffing heritage sites, and so much more.
15. Use social media
From Facebook groups to Bumble Friends, there are tonnes of online resources to help you expand your social circle. Search your local area to see what’s going on and who is active to discover something unexpected. It can also help to join online first and get to know people before taking the step to go in person.
16. Embrace going solo
Finally, the most important thing to remember when making friends is that you need to put yourself out there and enjoy your own company. Get comfortable taking yourself to events and activities, and don’t put pressure on meeting new people – just aim to have a good time!