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We asked Manchester students how they made friends at University

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If you look for advice on how to make friends at university, there’s a few things that always come up — joining societies, attending events or maybe even volunteering. These are great ways to meet new people, but we wanted to give you a more authentic insight into how current Manchester students actually met their mates. Here’s what they had to say: 

It’s okay to be introverted 

The main message that came through from our students was to be easy on yourself (“Social media often shows the extroverted and not the introverted — your people do exist!”), you don’t need to put too much pressure on making friends straight away (“Don’t worry about it too much. You meet so many new people, it’s inevitable to make new connections.”) 

If you do want some tips from students on what worked for them, maybe this approach could be for you: 

  • “Leaving my bag on a chair in a busy space. Usually people ask to sit there and it is easier to make conversation.” 
  • “Meet your flatmates by propping your door open and having a tin of biscuits out.” 
  • “Look for someone who is alone and looks lonely like you and approach them.” 

Finding people who share your interests 

This is why societies always comes up as a great way to meet new people (“Societies!”, “join societies”, “join the international society.”) because, with so many different societies available as a Manchester student, you’re bound to find your people (“Attend societies that you like. It will be scary, but your interest in that society will make good conversation starters.”) 

Taking part in sport can also be a great way to make connections (“Join a club sport! Even if you’ve never played, it’s still a great way to make new friends!”) 

Some students even shared the unique ways that helped them turn strangers into friends: 

  • “Walking down Oxford Road, I saw a guy wearing an F1 jacket and I just talked to him” 
  • “I reached out to students who had written blogs for the UoM website who shared similar interests with me.” 
  • “Once you make one friend, ask them if they have anything they are attending so you can join too.” 

Do more of what you love 

Many students shared stories of making friends outside of university (“Went to a concert and met my boyfriend — genuinely, go to places of interest to YOU.”) and if you explore the city, you can meet friends in so many amazing places (“[We met at] karaoke in gay village. Did a duet and everything.”) 

We also offer opportunities off campus via trips — with some students sharing that they made friends “via an international society trip. My friend had to step back at the last minute and I met three amazing souls.” 

Sometimes it just works out 

Despite all of the advice, lots of students made friends for life in ways that you can’t prepare for. 

  • “I made my closest friend at uni during a fire drill at 3am the second week into first year.” 
  • “We were the only two Americans at our halls and happening to live next to each other!” 
  • “Started talking in the queue at our PhD registration! We’re both academics at UoM now.” 

The best Welcome events for making friends in 2023 

Check out the full events listing and find out how attending events could lead to winning prizes!


A lot of the advice given requires you to be bold and make the first move, which is easier if you’re in an environment where you already know there will be shared interests or experiences, like societies, in lectures or at events tailored to you. If making the first move doesn’t come naturally to you but you do get chatting to someone, a top tip can be to get their details and follow up to let them know you enjoyed meeting them. You can meet lots of people in these first few weeks and months and it can all be overwhelming — don’t be afraid to pick one or two people you click with and build genuine connections from there.

  • “It can be hard, but try to think less of it as you are struggling to make friends but more so that you haven’t met the right people yet. They will come into your life.” 
  • “Always be yourself! The best people will be drawn to you and like you for who you really are.” 

Students Maansi, Khadijat and our host Georgia, discuss the things you need to think about before coming to university. How easy is it to make friends? What is the step-up like? What’s it like coming from abroad?

To be part of this type of content and to see more stories from Manchester students, make sure to follow us on Instagram and TikTok.

You can also find out more about events and support available as a new student on our Welcome and Induction website and this pre-arrival resource — created by staff and students in our Library team — is a great way to get settled in to University life.

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