How to make new friends and get rid of bad habits in college

The new year is here, and while you have been hard at work studying this term, you may not have found the time to have an active social life. In addition, you know that bad habits die hard, and this can include staying in touch with people who are negative influences in your life. So break out of these patterns! There’s no time like the present to get rid of bad habits. Make a new year’s resolution to get out of your comfort zone a bit and follow these pointers on how to make new friends — people you haven’t met yet could change your college experience altogether.

Take a smaller class

If you have the opportunity when enrolling for classes, choose one class that interests you that has a small, limited enrollment, such as a workshop or seminar that has only 15-20 people. In a class this size, it’s hard to be a fly on the wall or get lost in the masses. You are bound to make new friends and socialize with new people who are interested in the same subject you are.

Organize a lunch or dinner study group

Whether it’s with people in your dorm, or a group within a class, take the initiative and invite a few people out to study on a regular basis over a meal. While studying will be one focal point, food can be a great way to break the ice amongst strangers.

An article on GlobalPost, “How to Make Friends in College When You’re Shy,” by Lucie Westminster, believes group studying is a comforting technique. “In addition to giving you a little added security in the comfort of your own space, a small group allows you to get to know classmates who, in time, will become your friends,” Westminster writes.

Join a club or cultural organization

You probably saw tables strewn around campus at the beginning of the school year filled with information about various campus clubs and organizations. Now is a great time to look into a few that may have caught your eye. Several of these organizations focus on a particular culture. Whether it’s Jewish, African, Italian or Thai, these groups often meet on a weekly basis and organize social outings, dinners, and campus cultural celebrations. It’s a great way to meet people who share common interests and backgrounds – although you, of course, don’t need to have any history or ethnic ties to them in order to take part. Just an open mind is enough!

Leave your dorm room door open

While this may seem obvious for some, for others who tend to be more reclusive, this small adjustment in your daily habits can do wonders for your social life. Leaving your door open is an inviting gesture to anyone walking by to say hi or start a conversation. The same goes for you. If you walk by an open door in your dorm, take a chance and begin a conversation.

Rid yourself of negative influences

It can be difficult, and much easier said than done, to eliminate bad habits. When it comes to negative people in your life who may be preventing you from meeting new people, it’s important for you to set new boundaries, protect yourself, and move on. Recognizing the negative people who are affecting you is the first step.

Next, be honest. A post by Abbey Barker, “How to Delete Negative Influences from Your Life,” in a March 30, 2011, post to College Cures offers one approach. “Draw lines without being a snob and playing the victim card. When it is a family member or a boyfriend or girlfriend, clear and honest communication is one of the key ingredients to a healthy relationship,” Barker writes.

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