It shouldn’t take a workshop to learn how to make friends

Nivedan Kaushal, Arts & Culture Editor // Illustration by Juliana Vieira

September marks new classes, new faces and a new city for some. Whether you are a seasoned university veteran or a rookie freshman straight out of high school, it’s time to face the challenges of building friendships in a new environment. Assuming you understand basic social etiquette and practice good hygiene, here’s what you need to know about making friends at Capilano University.

1) Go where the people are 

The communal spaces across CapU are comfy, colourful and full of people. The Capilano Students’ Union (CSU) Members Centre (Library 195) and the Maple Lounge (Maple 115) are popular spots, offering foosball, billiards and cozy seating to anyone on campus. As the year progresses, watch out for various events like home sports games, competitions, street parties and faculty get-togethers – you never know who you might bump into. 

“Being where people are” also relates to the classroom. You’ll close yourself off from new people if you choose a desk too close to the walls. Sit too far to the front and you’ll mostly be alone, making it difficult to chat with fellow students. A desk in the center, however, is prime classroom real estate. More people sit there in general, and the instructor is still audible. 

2) Get involved 

Getting involved with clubs and other organizations is a fantastic way to meet people with similar interests. CapU has more than 20 clubs catering to karaoke enthusiasts, League of Legends lovers and anime fans alike. If you’ve hunted through the CSU club directory (available on their website) and haven’t found your niche, try launching a club yourself. You only need three members to receive up to $200 in funding. Or, swing by Maple 122 on Tuesdays and write for the Capilano Courier! Trust us, we won’t bite.

3) Start small 

“Making small relationships is a great way to go,” according to Mac Christison, an Acting for Stage and Screen student. Keep your initial interactions with new acquaintances short and light-hearted – jokes and small talk are key to getting things rolling. “I made friends that invited me to birthday parties and brunch by the end of the year just because I chatted with them on occasion,” said Christison. 

4) Choose interactive courses 

If you’d rather jump off a bridge than make small talk, consider enrolling in courses that force you to converse with others. Devon Sacre, a Communications student, found that he doesn’t often interact with strangers. “I don’t usually talk to people I don’t know if I don’t have to … but I took French, and you have to talk to students in that class. I made some of my best friends because of it,” he said. 

5) Keep your options open 

“A first impression is the last impression” is awful advice for making friends. Jay Panchal, an Animation Fundamentals Citation student, recalled meeting someone he thought was very annoying early in the term. “Turns out, this guy’s creative ideas are wild, he’s open to interesting discussion and is fun company.” While it’s okay to be selective about companionship, don’t discredit people unfairly simply because they aren’t your type. 

Things to watch out for: 

 Being under 19: At some point or another, you’ll be invited to a bar or a club for an event, like the CSU’s Captivate, or by a group of new friends. It can be awkward to decline an invitation, especially if you’d like to join the crowd. Unfortunately if you’re under the age of 19, you can’t do much other than wait it out. 

 Being impatient: “Creating a friendship takes a long time. Don’t rush it,” said Communications student Connor Macklam. Between work, school, essays, grocery shopping, commuting and oodles of other tasks, most people can’t spend time with you. In other words, meeting people is easy, but making friends is hard. “It’s different from high school where students see each other every day. At CapU, the majority of people are not living in dorms together so the process will naturally take longer.” 

Putting yourself out there can be a nerve-wracking, embarrassing and sometimes disappointing experience. Do your best to not take things personally and give up on building relationships. So long as you can be friendly with others, someone will return the gesture. After all, the best friendships are organic ones that spark with just a little bit of effort. Good luck! 

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