Rachel Byron, senior lecturer in Mental Health & Wellbeing at Wrexham University, shares five tips on what you can do to help build friendships as you start your university journey.
Try new things
Make a list of things you’d like to have a go at, and then have a go at them! It might be a walking group, a singing group, a dance class, a reading group… Following your own interests can be a great way to meet likeminded people, which is a lovely foundation for friendship.
When we feel stressed or anxious, or after a long period of habitual isolation, it can be much more comfortable to stay home with a box set rather than going along to a social activity. Try saying ‘yes’ to things, as this can be a great way to open up new opportunities and meet new people.
When meeting new people, the hardest step can be knowing what to talk about. Remember that the person you’re talking to may well be feeling nervous, and finding out about them can set you both at ease. Ask about them – and before you know it, they’ll be asking about you too.
If we feel anxious in a social situation it can often reflect in our facial expressions, and without realising it we may appear grumpy or aloof. Try smiling, even if you don’t feel like it. This not only makes you appear more approachable, it can actually make you feel more confident too.
Speak to the people that you’d like to chat to – don’t wait for them to approach you. A good way into a conversation is to ask a question, or simply to introduce yourself. If you get nervous then it’s a good idea to practice introducing yourself. The more you do it, the more confident you’ll become!
Read more on the Wrexham Glyndŵr University blog.
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