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Matthew Le in a selfie with some friends he made at a university social event

Making Friends

The past 2 weeks have been quite a journey for me. I have made mistakes.
A lot of them.

And here’s what I have learnt...

Hi there - it's Matthew here, aka Mr. Popular-and-have-a-lot-of-friends!

I’m kidding.


My first day at the university was struggling.

I briefly talked to a few people after class. But that was it. 

No Facebook/Instagram exchanged whatsoever. 

Never seen them again afterward.

It was a sad and miserable first day!

screenshot of Google search bar showing the text "fun activities for people with no friends". Image caption reads "Me at university"

As much as I’d like to call myself an extrovert, the act of going up and introducing myself to strangers is just… terrifying to me.

And weird.

Remember when we were kids?
Things were much easier.
We just put ourselves out there with the other kids… and made heaps of new friends after a few hours of playing.

Haizz… Only if we could go back in time and put ourselves out there.

As you can tell, I've got my own ups and downs in this “making friends” department.

The past 2 weeks have been quite a journey for me. 

I have made mistakes. A lot of them.

And here’s what I have learnt:

Matthew's personal guide to make friends

1. Learn the handshake culture

Pay close attention to how others do it (guys = handshake; girls = side-hug)

2. Put yourself out there in the crowd

Sit in the common area, talk to the guy in front of you in line, make eye contact with that girl sitting across the table and give everyone a big smile.

3. Never miss any event, unless you have to

There are more than a hundred events going on during university orientation week across different faculties, clubs and halls of residence. The more you say YES to meet others, the quicker you’ll find your own tribe.

4. Most importantly, never miss the Clubs Expo day

Find and join student clubs. It always feels amazing to meet other weirdos just like you. 

5. Know that you’re going to make a lot of mistakes

In every way possible. You're going to have heaps of bad days and tons of awkward moments. And that’s OK. You will learn and grow a lot from them.

Because of that, go out there and make more of them!

6. Last of all, Be yourself!

This is NOT a tip by me. In fact, this is NOT a tip at all – this is a principle to live by:

Be yourself. Be honest with yourself.

Keep in mind: none of the tips above would work if you are NOT being yourself.

  • Don’t pretend to be that cool guy with 6 layers of cologne unless that’s your style. Don’t pretend to like Starbucks if you hate the taste of coffee.
  • Wear what you’d usually wear when hanging out with your old friends. Say what you’d normally say if you were with your own squad.

And yes, you guessed it. Be your-own-frickin’-awesome-self. Always. 

And say YES, too!

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.'
– C.S. Lewis

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matthew le study in new zealand blog

By Matthew Le"Get up, dress up, show up. Never give up! Urgh, scratch that. I'm just trying to GROW UP"

Updated 2 years ago

Hey, I’m Matthew. Born and raised in Vietnam. I spent the last 2 years in high school here in New Zealand. And now, I’m an international student at the University of Auckland.

I am turning 19 soon. And I don’t like that. So… I’ve decided to live the last few months of being 18 by the "Theory of YES". Saying YES to things that scare the heck out of me.

You can follow my journey here on the Study in New Zealand blog, or on Facebook @studyinnewzealand

*Views expressed are the blogger's own
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