How can I avoid being a poor friend at university?
This is the third and final lesson about Making Friends. To complete this course, read each lesson carefully and then unlock and complete our materials to check your understanding.
– Highlight how it’s important to maintain friendships after making them in university settings to avoid conflict
– Offer six pitfalls that students commonly make during their undergraduate degree
– Encourage the completion of activities to check knowledge and improve academic English proficiency
With the university experience offering many opportunities for meeting people and forming friendships, it may seem inevitable that students will form strong bonds. While this is true for many, some students prefer to keep their friendship circles simple or small and are perfectly happy with more than a few quiet nights in. In other instances, social students may find that they aren’t as happy with their new-found friendships as they’d originally hoped, even after following the advice in this short course on making friends. In truth, arguments and awkward friendship divides can be a common part of university for some, leading to potential distractions for your studies and assignments. Lesson 3 therefore explores some of the negative behaviour that can lead to conflict by offering six pitfalls that students should avoid. By being a good friend to others, hopefully you’ll receive the same in return.
Pitfall 1: Expecting too much
It’s quite common during fresher’s week or shortly after for students to feel that they’ve made a new best friend or two, but in hindsight that feeling may be a little premature or unrealistic. While some friendships do of course last, there are so many distractions and diversions during the year that not all will.
Try not to expect too much from your newly formed friendships at first. They may not be as reliable or invested in your budding relationship as friends you carried throughout school. Try not to demand too much of them and their time either, and if they seem to be busy don’t take that personally. Many students might have lots of friends (and even more acquaintances) at the start of their bachelor’s degree but by the end only consider a handful close, and you probably will too.
Pitfall 2: Spending too Long Online
A fairly recent phenomenon at universities is the permanent connection to mobile devices. While just as recently as 2010 a student wouldn’t have spent anywhere near as much time attached to their phones as in 2020, today’s students can remain constantly online and in touch. This of course allows for existing relationships to be maintained more easily, but this digital communication style can also cause students to neglect where they are or obsess over their public image. Try to spend as little time as possible on these platforms to reduce social anxiety, existing in the present with those around you wherever possible. You’ll make more memories that way and stronger lasting friendships too. Online platforms are great, but they’re best relied upon when there’s distance between you and your friends – like after university when you’ve all moved away and found exciting (but busy) jobs.
Pitfall 3: Not Considering Others
It’s true that many students come away from university with stories of that flatmate, the one who simply couldn’t wash the dishes, who left out rotting food and who stank out the bathroom something terrible! While these sorts of people and experiences can be laughed off in years to come, at the time they can create a hostile and unpleasant living environment and can quickly turn amicable relationships sour. Try to be respectful and considerate of those you live with, and if you sense any ill feeling between you, confront those feelings calmly and in a friendly manner. Everyone’s under pressure at university, and conflict can often be avoided with a small adjustment of behaviour.
Pitfall 4: Being a Liability
Most students will have one or more occasions of going a little too far, whether it’s drinking too much, missing too many classes or running out of cash that week or month – or semester! These situations can be avoided (or at least less often repeated), and doing so will decrease the pressure on your friends to support you as well as themselves. If you don’t wish to be the person that people avoid as you’ve acted so consistently irresponsibly in the past, then don’t be a liability to others.
Pitfall 5: Acting like Someone You’re Not
While this advice is true for fresher’s week, it’s also true for making friendships. It’s of course encouraged to go out of your comfort zone at university and say ‘yes’ more than ‘no’ to new experiences, but if you find yourself doing things that you don’t like simply to please others, then you’re likely to feel unhappy and emotionally resentful towards the exact people you’re trying to please. Try new things, but if you really don’t like the experience, try to find shared interests that you do like and explore those a little more instead
Pitfall 6: Finding Lovers in the Group
Finally, watch out for forming sexual relationships with members of your friendship group. That’s not to say don’t do it, but be warned that a relationship that turns sour can have a devastating effect on the friendship-group dynamic. Try to find new partners outside of your group of close friends if you can, or at least make sure that when you do get a close friend that you’re fully committed to that person (at least for the length of your bachelor’s degree!).
Excellent work on completing this short course about making friends. Hopefully you’ll put this advice to good use and will be making friends in no time. If you’d like to improve your English or check your understanding of this topic, don’t forget to unlock, download and complete our three Lesson Worksheets below.
Lesson 1 explores the topic: What are 5 tips for breaking the ice with strangers? Our Lesson 1 Worksheet (containing guidance, activities and answer keys) can be accessed here at the click of a button.
Lesson 2 explores the topic: How can I make friends in and out of class at uni? Our Lesson 2 Worksheet (containing guidance, activities and answer keys) can be accessed here at the click of a button.
Lesson 3 explores the topic: How can I avoid being a poor friend at university? Our Lesson 3 Worksheet (containing guidance, activities and answer keys) can be accessed here at the click of a button.
There are currently no PowerPoint activities, additional teacher resources or audio and video recordings created for this topic. Please come back again next semester.
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