Can a loner in HS make friends in college?

For a number of reasons, I didn’t make a single friend in high school and I graduate in June. I’ve always eaten lunch alone, don’t have many convos throughout the day, etc. In my graduating class of 150, it seems like everyone is close with each other in some way. I just feel kinda left out I guess? I do feel like I’m different in a way that makes it harder to make friends. Very serious person since childhood, prefers teachers/adults over classmates, enjoys quiet. For more info I’m lgbt/poc, introverted/nerdy, and again, verry serious. I get told a lot that I act like I’m much older than my age.

Is it possible to make a 180 and develop friendships in college? If it helps I will be going to Bard College (i think) I’ll be going into college being with my girlfriend of 1y4m (presently) but we’ll be 2 hours apart.

oh baby, college can be so different than HS! Bard is a great college, with a lot of interesting people, and a chance for you to push a re-set button.

It won’t happen by magic though: friendships develop over time and through shared experiences. One downside of having a gf 2 hours away is that you will be wanting to put a lot of effort into maintaining that relationship- and that will make it harder to be fully where you are. If your gf is also starting at a new school, you can help each other by agreeing some basic principles: it is in both of your interest to build a strong community where you live, so giving each other the space to do that is important.

There are plenty of fellow travelers for you at Bard- and plenty of adjacent people. Your inside self may be starting to catch up with your outside self, so give it a chance. It sounds as if you have a pretty strong sense of being the outsider, too different to ‘fit in’ - but you don’t have to ‘fit in’ in college.

If you were happy with how you are I would say ‘stay the course’ -but you indicate that you are lonely and would like more connections with other people. Start with shared interests, push yourself to reach out a bit more and let go of the idea that there is something fundamentally different o/ less good about you. One of the glories of the whole push to embrace ‘diversity’ of every kind and ‘respect’ people for who they are is the recognition that we are fine as we are, and that “harder” is not impossible.

So, look for people who share your interests (there will be some) more than people who seem similar to you. I am a big fan of using the forming of study groups as an early way to start making connections: ‘would you like to study for this test?’ ‘do you want to go to the welcome session at the writing center after class?’ etc. Pay particular attention to classes and people in your major field of study- they will be a big part of your life for the next 4 years- and possibly a lot longer than that! The people in your different study groups are all colleagues; with time and shared experiences some of the might grow into actual friends.

I promise you: life does not peak in HS. College is better than HS and working life is better than that.


Hear hear. That is great advice.

One good thing about college is that you CHOOSE where you want to be. At high school, you’re just lumped with a bunch of random people. At college, you have a common interest, in that you all want to be there.

I’m going to link a thread that might be helpful. You might find it hard at first, but stick with it and I bet you will find college a very rewarding experience. Definitely need @collegemom3717 ’s advice about finding your people. Good luck! To those who feel lonely/homesick/friendless/think they chose the wrong school, etc...


The first paragraph of the post @Lindagaf linked to is made up of sentences that I have read verbatim many, many times here on CC! The advice in the post is excellent. The only small quibble I have with it is that I don’t think that this is a ‘blip’: I think that this is an important life challenge. In between the fun bits, becoming an adult is hard work - and there is no way to get there without working your way through it.

The great thing is that you are not on your own. Bard is loaded with resources- academic and otherwise. Find them early, and use them often. There is not only no shame in it- it’s how you are supposed to do it!

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Yes, “loners” can make friends in college. My son did and is flourishing.

College allows you to enter in with no preconceived notions about yourself. Its up to you what you want to do and how you want to “market” yourself.


Thanks so much, you’ve all been really helpful in framing my mindset about going to college. I will definitely take all of the advice mentioned here!