How to make friends at university

Off to uni soon? Here’s how to make mates while you’re there.

Skiddle Staff

Last updated: 22nd Aug 2023

Heading off to uni can be super exciting. Everyone who’s been goes on about how amazing it is, all the friends they met, and all those unreal nights out they just about remember. 

But if you’ve never left home before, been in a tight-knit friend group for years, or aren’t very outgoing, the thought of it all can be pretty scary. 

Is it hard to make friends in uni? How long does it take to make friends at uni? This along with a handful of other thoughts are probably floating around your head right now. 

And we get it. That’s exactly why we’re here to help you transition from home life to uni life by giving you some tips on how to make those mates that’ll last a lifetime. 


Win over your flatmates 


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It's important that you make a good impression on your flatmates right from the off. These are the people who you're going to see pretty much every day. 

Having flat parties is a great way to get to know people and usually leads to a proper night out anyway. You're all in this new place together so going out will definitely make for a happier flat and some pretty good stories to share too. Maybe play some daft drinking games or Cards Against Humanity, something that gets you chatting and laughing. 

Outside the party atmosphere, small gestures such as offering a cup of tea every once in a while will be appreciated, and it opens up opportunities for conversation. Basic manners go a long way when living with new people.



Find pals on your uni course


Photo: Charlotte May / 

One of the best opportunities to meet new people is via your uni course itself. You already have the fact that you're studying the same subject in common so you can find other talking points from there. 

Ask them to explain something you don’t understand, revise together, or grab a coffee/beer. From here, you might discover other mutual interests that you could do together like going to the cinema, trying new foods, or going to gigs. 

You could even start a group chat with a handful of people on your course and arrange times and places to meet. 

Grabbing a drink is always a good shout. People unwind a little, come out of their shells, and the conversation flows effortlessly once you’ve had two or three. 

If you’re not sure where to go in this new city, you can check out our guides for most major UK cities including cheap places to eat - that link’s for Manchester but there’s also Birmingham, Edinburgh, and loads more. 



Get stuck into loads of freshers events


Photo: Elena de Soto / 

With countless freshers parties in every major city (and even most of the smaller areas), attending a few can help you find some mates. For example, if you go to a hip-hop party, chances are there’ll be hip-hop fans there. 

Find a few events you like, head over, and get chatting. It’ll be a bit easier after a few bevs, don’t worry. 

Find freshers parties near you 



Go to some music events


Photo: Thekla Bristol / 

Every city has unique nightlife and a key part of that is the live music scene where you can go see your favourite bands, DJs, and rappers. These also happen to be great social spaces. You usually find that it's a room full of like-minded people who are all here in celebration of one thing, so don't be afraid to talk to people.

There are so many iconic venues in the UK including Brudenell Social Club in Leeds, Thekla in Bristol (which is a converted boat) and YES in Manchester to Electric Brixton in London. You can find these buzzing hubs of the community in any place you end up. 

So many new bands make their first steps at venues such as these, think of The Leadmill in Sheffield or the Hare and Hounds in Birmingham, the artists you see here may just be festival headliners in a few years.



Follow your passions outside of uni


Photo: John Torcasio /

There's a lot more to you than the course you're on - are you interested in sports or arts? There are so many things to do in the city and you can go out and pursue your interests at will. If you like literature, why not go along to a poetry club? If you're a fan of football, then join one of the local teams or get down to the pub and watch the game amongst fellow fans.

There are so many options and opportunities to meet people. If you're going by yourself it can be daunting but there's no shame in it at all. Once you make it through the door you've made a huge step and then who knows what could happen. 

You can find plenty of things to do around your new home on our Inspire Me page or with a quick search on Skiddle



Join societies and clubs 

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Photo: Theme Photos / 

Societies are another great way to follow your interests or even try some new ones. The best thing is that every other member is a part of your university too. Societies are usually pretty well thought out but if you noticed that there isn't one for one of your interests, why not start it yourself?

There are usually loads to choose from including countless sports, baking, charities, gaming, and societies for cultures, countries, and religions, so you can find people who speak your language or have the same beliefs as you.

There are so many more too, like Pokémon, magic, Lego, anime, Taylor Swift, and all sorts. 



Chat with your colleagues 


Photo: Cams Campbell /

Chances are you’ll need a job while at uni. Prepare for long shifts whilst your boss asks if you can work an extra day even though you already told them that you're in uni that day. It's a part of the process but you'll come to find out a lot about your colleagues and may even become good friends with them.

Especially if you find yourself working in a city centre where there's easy access to bars you can go to after a long shift. Work can be stressful but being friends with people there can make it a lot less painful.



Use apps 


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Bumble BFF, GoFriendly, and MeetUp are just a few apps designed to help people make new friends and enjoy their lives to the max by giving them a platform to find those with similar interests. 

The variety of groups and activities on MeetUp and similar apps is insane. And Bumble BFF is basically the same as most modern dating apps. Just set up your profile, put in a good amount of effort, and start swiping until you match with someone. Easy.  



Talk to your neighbours


Photo: Gleren Meneghin / 

It's likely that you'll be surrounded by other flats in your halls. When you're out and about, there's no problem with saying hi to people, especially if you notice something you might have in common. There may also be a common area in your halls where you can go to relax and meet some new people.

We're not saying that you have to chat to every single person you meet by the bins but a quick hello can sometimes lead to future friendship.



Reach out if you’re struggling 


Photo: Kelly Sikkema / 

There may be times at university when you feel alone and unable to connect with people. It's a more popular occurrence than you might think but there are resources you can use to get help should you need it. You can find support from:

- Samaritans

- Student Minds

- Mind

- On-campus counselling 

- The NHS website



And there you go! With all this info at your disposal and with so many opportunities to meet people, you’re sure to find a bestie pretty quickly. And if you don’t, that’s fine too. Sometimes it takes a moment for you to be in the right headspace to invite your future best mates into your life.

Don’t give up, stay positive, and keep trying! You’ll have a gang of mates in no time. 



Check out our What's On Guide to discover even more rowdy raves and sweaty gigs taking place over the coming weeks and months. For festivals, lifestyle events and more, head on over to our Things To Do page or be inspired by the event selections on our Inspire Me page.








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