• Making Friends

College friendships: Finding a home away from home

Published: November 3, 2014 | By | 4 Replies Continue Reading
It takes time to make close friends at college and create a home away from home.



I am a freshman student at a very large university. It is only November and I am on my third month of school now. I have made many “friends” whom I have dinner with and spend time on the weekends. However, I have yet to make any close friends or a “best” friend. So far, I have not felt a connection with any of the people that I have met.

I am a little discouraged because this seems to be the problem that I also had in high school. I’m not sure why I have a hard time making close friendships. Yes, I am very shy at first. I may even have a bit of anxiety. However, I try to make up for that by being as friendly and genuinely caring as I can be. My efforts are later discouraged when I never get a PERSONAL invite to go to dinner or hang out. I am always the one just tagging along.

I am a little sad that I have not found my “home away from home” at college. I was wondering if you had any tips for me on how to come out of my bubble and create lifelong friendships.

Signed, Cindy


Hi Cindy,

It’s great that you have already made some friends at school. My guess is that some of those relationships may deepen as you have more opportunities to spend time together. November of your freshman year is only the beginning!

One suggestion: Are there any interest-based clubs, organizations or activities that you could join on campus? A large university can often feel overwhelming and participating in smaller groups with people with similar interests can make it easier to develop more intimate relationships.

Also, as you begin to define your major and take more specialized courses, you’ll likely come into contact with smaller groups of people whose interests parallel your own. Perhaps, you’ll hit it off with someone in a study group or lab.

In short, give yourself time. Don’t expect too much too soon. Continue to put forth the effort to reach out to new people who may become friends. Even though you tend to be shy, slowly share a bit of yourself with these new friends to help build closeness.

The first year of college can be very challenging in terms of balancing academic studies with a social life. Campus life always takes some getting used to and it sounds like you’re off to a good start.

Warm regards, Irene

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Comments (4)

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  1. Amy says:

    Yeah, sometimes you never know when you’ll become very close to someone. Lots if things happen in college. Try observing and understanding when your friends need help and be there for him/her. They’ll really appreciate you.

  2. Sandra says:

    One of my favorite adages of all time is, “It takes a long time to grow an old friend.” And it’s really true. I think it’s hardly to appreciate that idea today, since so many people become “close” on Facebook or through social media, but that’s totally different from cultivating face-to-face friendships that endure over many years through shared experience.

    At 60 years old, I count four of my college “roomies” among my very vest friends. However, it took a lot of time together — lots of talk over dinners and lunches, walks around campus, and dealing with day to day challenges — before we got really close. In fact, one of those best roomies and I didn’t even LIKE each other at first, but somehow, after a long chat one night, we began to grow close and we’ve been close for decades ever since!

    Take your time getting to know people on deeper level, and let your relationships evolve naturally. Social media has made too many of us forget how to DO that. As Amy and Irene have suggested, extend some invitations yourself, get involved in party planning, offer to be on the team instead of waiting for people to come to you.

  3. Amy F says:

    Even though you feel like three months is a long time, feeling comfortable in a new environment, especially one as different as as the transition from high school to college. Close friendships usually start off as acquaintances and become more intimate as time goes on and the friends know each other better. You won’t know that you have a lifelong friend until you’ve lived a lifetime. You will make friends who seem like they”ll always be with you who may fade away. You’ll also make friends that you’ll feel close to, then not as close to, then close again at different periods of life, Predicting which path each relationship will take is virtually impossible.

    You already have friends, which is the first step. Maybe you’ll become close to one or two of them, maybe you’ll find different closer friends. If you’re a person who is slow to trust others, then feeling close will probably take more time. The concept of “best friends” is one that books, movies and TV romanticize as perfect and necessary, but lots of people don’t have one friend they consider “best”.

    You said you never get personal invitations. Have you ever extended invitations? When I was in school I was shy. If I was with a group of people who were making plans, or if one person said let’s go shopping after school, I always assumed they meant everyone but me, because no one specifically said, “Do you want to come, Amy.” I wondered why no one invited me, so I asked the girl with whom I felt most comfortable. She said, ‘Everyone’s invited. Why would you think you’re not?” Because I was shy and insecure, I hadn’t realized that I was being treated like everyone else, when I was expecting an engraved invitation to say I was included.

    Is there a reason you others perceive you as “tagging along”, or that coming from your own insecurities? Do you think other quiet girls might feel the same as you do, and assume they are just “tagging along too”? Don’t be so sure that your friends feel more secure than you. They must might be better at faking it.

    Why not make a goal to extend one (or more) invitation a week and see what happens?
    Good luck.

  4. holly says:

    Great advice. It takes a lot of time to cultivate truly good friends. I made my best friends when I was farther a long in school doing more intense work. The shared studying and stress bonded us like super glue and that became even more true when I went to graduate school.

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