You’ve been hanging out together since third grade—or before. You’ve shared the same school experiences and family stuff; you’ve had your differences, but grew up as friends—over time.
In college, starting day one, you’re looking at hundreds, even thousands of potential new friends.
Here are five things to consider as you wade into the deep end of this new friend pool.
- Take your time. The first few weeks of your freshman year are not a race to see who can make the most new friends first. Be open to a lot of new people and a lot of new social situations. At the same time, remember that trust between friends is something that needs to be earned—it doesn’t happen overnight.
- Nail down a good relationship with your roommate. Even if their personality, mannerisms, and manners are totally different from yours, this is the one person you most need to get along with. a great college roommate isn’t necessarily a great friend—and vice-versa.
- Don’t over-commit to the social side. Overextending yourself and your time is the best guarantee for short-term burnout. You don’t have to say yes to every invite. Save some time for you. Be choosey with your campus activities—find things you like to do, and you’ll naturally make friends in college who share your interests.
- Instant friendship is a lot like love at first sight: more fantasy than reality. Even if someone seems to be the perfect new best friend, make sure to keep your options open. A real friend will stick, even if you’re not doing everything as a team.
- That whole college romance thing can go a million different ways. It’s a good idea to do some work up front to build a few solid friendships you can fall back on if you need to. It’s likely you will.
Remember, your college years will shape the way you think and act for the rest of your life. Your friends are a big part of that process.
Finally, with all the new people you’ll be meeting at college, never forget your old friends. That doesn’t mean running home every weekend to hang out. It does mean making the effort to stay in touch. Call, text, e-mail—keep connected. Hang on to your old friends, they’ve been there for you for a long time.