Making friends in a student residence might sound hard or undoable, but in reality, it’s pretty easy! A lot of students feel as if they can’t make any connections or get to know people in their programs because everything is online, but what they can do is start by making friends right in their own HOEM.
One of the best features of living in residence is that you get a roommate, probably even more than one! Start by getting to know them; what are their likes, dislikes, hobbies? Where are they from, what do they like to do for fun? At HOEM, I have always lived in a 2-bedroom suite. Let me tell you a little story about how I bonded with my roommate.
On the first night, we ordered in and hung out in our living room. We chatted for hours and just bonded over food!! One conversation opened the door to more hang outs, movie nights, dance parties, sing alongs, and our beautiful friendship was formed. When the city resumes indoor group activities, going out to Jazz bars again with my roommate is on the top of my list!
If you have a social butterfly spirit, you don’t have to limit yourself to connecting with just your roommates. There is a whole building of students who you can engage with in the common rooms, nests, hubs, and dens. If you see a HOEMie, go say hi and introduce yourself! If you’re on the shy side or a feel a little uneasy making the first move, step one is to not overthink it! A lot of students feel this way, you are not alone! Even a simple “I just want to meet new people” would suffice.
Getting to know people this year has been much more challenging with all of the COVID-19 safety precautions in place, but it’s still possible! As long as you are keeping your masks on, keeping a safe distance and respecting personal boundaries, you may be one “Hello” away from meeting your best friend.
Here are some tips and tricks that you might find helpful:
Don’t think about what to say too much. Just go for it!
The easiest topic to break the ice is to talk about your program and your ambitions.
Talk about a TV series that you’ve been watching or an activity that you enjoy.
People love talking about their passions, so ask them about their favourite things to do!
Perhaps steer away from discussing topics that are controversial or sensitive at first. Leave this for when you’re more comfortable with one another.
Smile and be an active listener!!
Enjoy the flow of the conversation and cherish the silent moments.
I know that I always love to engage with people, and I normally do so in the elevators actually. I don’t mind a little small talk with strangers that could develop into bigger and more interesting conversations and possibly lead to a friendship. Working at the HOEM Services Desk, I get to connect with many students on the daily, and if you ever need a buddy to talk to, just drop by - we’d love to talk for a bit! Lastly, don’t hesitate to start a conversation with any HOEMie, just go for it and you won’t regret it!