You can make friends for life at university – people who you have shared ridiculous giggles with or lived with as real grown-ups for the very first time. In fact, friendship is one of the long running themes during university life, hyped up by people for years afterwards and looked forward to by some before they even start. But despite the fanfare, it isn’t all plain sailing. University can be lonely sometimes, and true friendship is about much more than just fun nights out.


As International Friendship Day appears in our calendars, we thought it would be the perfect time to think about how to be a good friend.


  1. There’s a myth about university that you can make best friends immediately with your next-door neighbour and the person across the corridor. Of course, making genuine friendships takes some time, so be patient, give people the space and opportunity to really get to know them. It’s likely that, you might end up having nothing at all in common with your neighbour and finding your truest friendship somewhere else entirely.


  1. It’s easy to go out and get drunk with people but make sure you share some downtime with your friends too. Watch films, go for a walk, have a picnic. It’s often the daytime that can feel a bit lonely, so fill them with fun stuff before the coursework deadlines start amassing.


  1. Listen to your friends. If you sense that something might be off, then take the time to ask your friend about it. If they don’t want to talk about it immediately then that’s fine but knowing that you’re there if they need is really important.


  1. Great friendship is about knowing when to push too. If you think that your friend might need someone professional to talk to, help them to find it, and go with them. Student mental health advice is plentiful online, but sometime talking to someone in person is necessary. Most student unions will have therapists and counsellors available to talk things through.


  1. It’s important to share common goals with your friends. That may be getting a good degree, or having a lot of fun, but you could do both of those things and add some more to you shared list of interests. Try taking up a sport together. Running is great as it’s good for exploring and it’s completely free. Set a target distance – whether its 5k or a half marathon, and train for it together. It gets you fit, releases some endorphins, and will get you both outside – which are all things proven to benefit your mental health.


For more help and advice about student life, and to check out some of Leeds’s most luxurious student homes, have a browse of our website.