How to Go From Class Friends to Actual Friends

There once was a time when an offering of a coveted scented marker or the tried and true line, “Can I play with you guys?” was the gateway to your new best friend. In college, things are a little more complicated. Don’t worry, though — you got this.

Striking up a conversation with someone in class is relatively simple. You can bond over a ridiculous assignment or the fact that it’s almost April and still blizzard’ing outside. You might even say, “Hey, we should get coffee sometime!” but never get around to making actual plans. VALLEY has you covered with some simple tips to help you break through the acquaintance zone.

Just Go For It

We get it. Sometimes the fear of friendship rejection can feel even stronger than the fear of romantic rejection. At the end of the day, though, what do you really have to lose? Go ahead and casually suggest going for coffee or grabbing lunch sometime, and then set an actual day and time to do it. If you don’t make a real plan to get together, odds are that the abstract idea of hanging out will never become a reality.

Get Some Guidance

Social anxiety is a real thing. If you feel like it’s something that’s impacting your life, Penn State has plenty of resources that can really help you out. Check out Penn State Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) for tips and counseling on how to conquer social anxiety.

Make Study Plans

If plans completely unrelated to class seem a little too daunting, try getting together outside of class to study for a big exam together. It’s a low-key way to hang out outside of class and get to know each other a little better without the pressure.

Have A Buffer

There are lots of ways to alleviate a little bit of the awkwardness of a first friend-date. You can always invite the new person to hang out with your group of friends, so there’s not the pressure of a one-on-one thing. You can also try doing something that has some sort of activity involved, so there’s less fear of running out of things to talk about. You can go shopping downtown, go see a friend’s a cappella concert on campus or even go see a movie.

Follow Up

Send a quick text after hanging out to let your new friend know how much fun you had spending time with them. Don’t be afraid to make the next move with making plans again.

So, there you have it. With a little confidence and some mild risk-taking, you can find your new best friend — no scented marker required.


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