Ask Natalie: how do I meet people at UBC that aren't in my residence?

“Dear Natalie,

I'm going into my first year at UBC, and I'm really nervous that I won't make any friends. I'm going to be living in residence so everyone says I'll be fine, but how do I know that?”

Welcome to UBC! It can be scary, but the reality is that you will make friends. How do I know? Because tens of thousands of first years come every year in September and all of them make friends. Residence is like the perfect recipe for friendships. I had a ton of friendships that were purely based on the fact that I saw them every day. We had nothing in common, but true relationships form, I promise.

If your dorm doesn't have any people that you can see yourself becoming friends with — and it should, there are at least a hundred of you in a house — then go and join some clubs! Join clubs anyway — there is no reason that you should limit yourself to the people who live within a ten foot radius of you.

If you're really nervous, look into the Greek system. Some people hate it, but there are a ton of people who love it. I have a lot of friends who are in the Greek system that aren't “stereotypical” frat bros or sorority girls — although those stereotypes aren't really relevant to UBC’s Greek system. Joining a frat or sorority gives you an instant social life with instant friends. It's not for everyone, myself included, but you can say that about any club.

Don't worry about it. Friends will come. You don't need to make your lifelong best friend on your first day on campus. If you're open to friendships, friendships will come.

“Dear Natalie,

I feel like my friends from last year (my first year) aren't really interested in staying friends? We're all in the Lower Mainland this summer but no matter how much I ask and bug them, we never hang out. I feel like I'm the only one putting any effort into the friendship. It's frustrating. We all work, but how hard is it to get together once in three months? What do I do?”

I've written about this before, but sometimes people actually just work too hard to hang out. My first summer in Vancouver, I was working three jobs. Nearly everyday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. I was either working, on my way to work, eating at work or napping in between shifts. I felt bad about it, but my friends had to take a back seat that summer. It was sad and I vowed never to do that again — although the next few summers proved how little I stuck to that promise.

The difference here is that I talked to my friends about how much I was working. They knew I had a ton of jobs and they knew I would be hanging out with them if I wasn't surrounded by work. If your friends aren't doing the same for you, it actually might mean something's off.

Talk to them. Say “wow! It's August and we haven't hung out yet!” and make one last effort. If they're still acting lukewarm, then maybe leave the ball in their court. They know how to reach out to you. Let them make the next step.

If they don't, it sucks, but it means they're not worth the trouble. September is a new year and if you’re only in your second year, you have so much time to make new friends. Go to Imagine Day and sign up for new clubs. Find that club that really excites you and go for it! It doesn't have to be a club with a social focus like the CVC — even The Ubyssey is social and our focus is newspapers — just find something you’re interested in and engage.

Friends come and go, you just have to find the ones that value you as much as you value them.

Need advice? Contact Natalie anonymously at or at and have your questions answered!