I think it’s fair to say you need a few of the following to make friends: physical proximity, like-minded people, shared interests, and a healthy dose of don’t-be-awkward.
Luckily, life at Imperial provides you with all of the above except, crucially, the don’t-be-awkward bit.
- Physical proximity: you [should] live in halls with hundreds of
- like-minded people: like I wrote before, basically anyone on campus
- shares interests: join societies, clubs, sports, talk to people you live with about anime, gaming, random other things, etc.
What I mean by don’t be awkward is just to avoid reaction to the awkwardness of having to make friends. It’s really easy to introduce yourself to someone, exchange a few scripted questions (“Which Oxbridge were you rejected from?”), and to then make your excuses and move on (or worse, back into your room). While this action will give both of you quick, tangible relief, and may even make you feel like you’ve laid down the groundwork to a beautiful relationship, it isn’t worth the relief and you’ll find later that you’ve laid down zero groundwork (or worse, cauterised the potential of friendship).
What you need to do is to keep talking, to make awkward conversation, and to accept the inevitability of uncomfortable silences. If you do run into an insurmountable awkwardness, you may make an excuse leave. This isn’t a surrender if you follow up and hang out with the same person the next time you see him or her. Rinse, repeat– eventually both of you will just accept the friendship and that’s a great moment.
Of course, real life isn’t as scripted as that, but I did find the best friends I have here just by being physically around them a lot. Shameless friend exposition time!
Honorable mention to Hugo for managing to avoid being in every single picture I’ve taken in the last two months. I’d say he tried but he clearly didn’t.