The COVID-19 Social Scene: How to Make Friends During a Pandemic



In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, meeting new people has not been an easy task. The lockdown has taken a toll on almost everyone’s mental state. Socializing is one way many people maintain their mental health, but times like these give a sense of helplessness for the social scene. 

Where you could normally meet new people on campus and connect at events like the Activities Fair or Welcome Week Festivities, unfortunately, most of this is not possible with a deadly virus in the air. 

Regardless of the current pandemic, college is still a great place to put yourself out there and make new friends. You have the chance to make lifelong friends or even meet your life partner. The way this is now done may be unconventional, but necessary. 

You may be spending most of your time in your pajamas in your dorm or in a Zoom class. Within these circumstances, how do you make friends? How do you go the extra mile to get to know someone? It’s quite simple: hit them up. 

The phrase “hit me up” or “HMU” is not uncommon for our generation. We see it all over social media platforms: “HMU for promotions;” “HMU if you wanna hang out.” You probably already follow fellow Johnnies on Instagram or Snapchat. Send a “hey,” “what’s up” or any other form of an amiable salutation. 

Reaching out directly to someone you do not know may seem like a strange or scary concept. I mean come on, it would be creepy if I just texted someone I don’t even know, right? No, wrong. Texting someone you don’t know first shows confidence. You give off the impression that you are an outgoing person and that is already a major part of making friends in general. If the person on the other side of that screen is just as outgoing as you are, or admires your confidence, they’ll text you back. From there you can get to know each other’s majors, interests, hobbies and hopefully, you’ll find something in common to talk about. 

“Let’s just say if social media and group chats weren’t a thing, this year would’ve been a lot more depressing and confusing, especially as freshman,”  Freshman biology major, Sajida Islam, said They let us get to know each other and help each other out when it came to classes and just getting used to this new style of learning.”

Some topics you could talk about include: TV shows, music, books, news, politics and movies. Forming these initial connections can foster a great friendship in the future. 

I would strongly encourage reaching out on Facebook and Instagram. All freshmen are looking forward to meeting new people so someone has to make the first step. Especially those in the same online classes, reach out to everyone via email, and create a study group. Online class is tough so at least you’ll have people on your side for instruction/workload,” senior Jessie Yao advised.       

Also, schedule a meetup on campus or a place outdoors, like a park. Space is key. Even though the pandemic is still present, precautions like keeping six feet of distance and wearing your mask will keep you and those around you protected. And if you make friends in person, like on campus, don’t forget that the same rules apply. 

Another great way to find your own social circle would be to join clubs. Follow @sjuactivities on instagram for latest updates on clubs or direct message them for information on campus activities. 

“Over the past two weeks, the campus has been pretty quiet. I feel that as a freshman, it has been difficult to meet my classmates since most of my classes are online. However, there are still ways to get involved on campus. I’ve found that joining clubs is helping me meet other students who share my interests and are also biology majors,” freshman biology major, Ilana Saidov said.

Some organizations on campus you can follow include: Her Campus (@hcstjohns), Red Cross (@sju.redcross), the Criminal Justice Association (@sju.crj), NARI (@sju.nari), Project Sunshine (@sjuprojectsunshine) and so many others. Some organizations are even hosting virtual events so you can join in from home or your dorm.

While making friends during a pandemic may seem hard, it is not impossible. Sanitize your hands often and limit the number of people in your party to five or six. The CDC even states activities in groups can be safer if “you can maintain at least 6 feet of space between you and others, they are held in outdoor spaces and people are wearing masks.” 

We all want to make new friends on campus, especially if you are a freshman or transfer student. Having friends during a pandemic can make the COVID-19 campus experience a little less lonely. So, take a chance, reach out online or in person and stay six feet apart with a mask on.