Fridays with Edie: Making friends at uni

Telling people you love them in the smoking area doesn’t quite cut it x


Welcome to Fridays with Edie, The Tab Exeter’s brand new advice column, where I provide you with quality wisdom, great chat, and brilliant advice. This is the first of many, so strap in and enjoy the ride!

“It feels so hard to form any meaningful friendships and it always seems like everyone else has already managed to do that within the space of a month. Feel like I’m so far behind this that I just won’t be able to at this point, and it’s definitely been made so much worse by the idea of securing a house for next year.”

I’m not just saying this to you to make you feel better, but I guarantee that most people have encountered this feeling in their first year. I know I certainly did. Moving to a new place is daunting enough, and there is totally an immense pressure to make friends in an instant. We are sent off to uni with loaded expectations: “It’ll be the best years of your life, you’ll meet your closest friends!” I remember my mum saying this to me as she left me at my halls two years ago. And they have been, but it just takes time.

Okay, so you’re a month into uni and it’s not meeting your lofty expectations. Maybe you don’t exactly… get on with your flatmates, despite everyone drunkenly proclaiming their eternal love for one another in the Fever smoking area after knowing each other for less than a week (don’t deny it, we have ALL been there). While the ethereal haze of the smoking area seems appealing, three weeks later the smoke has cleared, along with the promise of eternal friendship with people you still don’t know that well. And that is totally normal.

Living at uni truly does make you feel detached from the outside world, and so you apply different standards to making friends, believing it happens differently than it would do normally. But remind yourself, it takes more than a month to truly know someone, let alone establish meaningful friendships. It’s true, sometimes we just click with people, and it’s amazing when it happens. But it doesn’t have to happen right away. Good things take time. I know it seems impossible when the people around you appear to have become besties with anyone and everyone, but nothing is ever as it seems. Believe me. The thrill of Freshers’ disappears as everyone gets bogged down with deadlines, and suddenly the dirty dishes in the sink and mould growing in the stolen TP cups becomes downright annoying.

The pressure to secure a house in Exeter is as stress-inducing as waiting for the announcement that TP Wednesday tickets have just dropped, it’s not fun. But remember that slow and steady wins the race. People who immediately signed for a house with their flat may regret it. Whoever thought the rugby boy you’ve known for three weeks leaves a trail of destruction every time he cooks a “high protein” meal of straight chicken and proceeds to wake you up at 4am telling the lads how much he loves them? Signing for a house with people you don’t know too well is a gamble, but it’s all part of the experience.

I know it’s cliché, but honestly, just be yourself. It is more exhausting than the walk up Cardiac Hill every morning when pretending to be someone that you’re just not. You will find your people; I can promise that. And if it means putting yourself out there a little more – committing to that week’s embarrassing social theme that means wearing swimwear to Fever in December, then so be it. Go out and create some (embarrassing) memories – you should hear some of mine. Who knows the people you’ll meet on the way? It’s. For. The. Plot.

I hope this helps – lots of love, Edie x