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Social connections and wellbeing


Social connections with our friends and family form one of the most important parts of our wellbeing.

Every year thousands of new people arrive at university from all over Australia and the world. With so many people around it should be easy to meet people - right? Well for some that's true, but for most, meeting new people and making friends takes quite a bit of effort and courage.

Meeting people and making friends is easier if you are motivated, open to new people and have plenty of interests yourself. Friendships take time and effort to grow.

Think about the close people in your life: they may be family or friends, but usually they have been built up over many years of contact, doing things together, having conversations, attending functions, parties, events, through good times and hard times. The same is true of making friends at university.

Making friends and feeling like you belong on campus will enhance your university experience, help you feel happy, connected and motivated and improve your chances of success at university. You are not wasting time spending time getting to know people - but with everything, balance is the key.

Just as you can feel lonely in a crowd or all alone in spite of a large circle of family and friends, your connectedness to others is less about what you do and more about how you view those relationships. Taking the time to feel grateful for the people in your life deepens those bonds.

What to do

If you’d like to meet new people and create social connections, here are a few things you might like to try.

  • Take and make opportunities to have conversations, even brief ones.
  • Remember that it takes time to make friends.
  • Show people that you want to learn more about them by asking questions about their life and hobbies.
  • Practice active listening and make eye contact.
  • Take an interest in what's going on around you. Join in on activities, clubs, groups and societies at Deakin.
  • If at first you don't succeed, hang in there, keep trying.

Getting support

Make an appointment with Deakin's Counselling service or find out how you get meet new people and get involved at Deakin.

More help and advice

ReachOut provides advice on ways for young Indigenous people to connect with their community, what makes a good friend, and a gazillion ways to make new friends.

headspace can help you to understand loneliness and create connections for a healthy headspace.

Our podcast on managing social anxiety outlines some practical strategies for coping with spiralling negative thoughts.

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