A Checklist for Making Good Friends in an International Setting

I have seen some brothers, who have spent more than two years in a programme and graduated with only a handful of friends. Actually, these friends of theirs are either their country mates or accidental friends.

Making a Variety of Good Friends - 1BabaSalam.com

An accidental friend is anyone whom you are brought together by semester module/coursework or faculty activities. Thus, such a friendship either ends the moment the semester ends or when they graduate from the programme. This self-help article shows you six things you need to do in order to make good friends and establish purposeful and everlasting friendships.

This self-help article shows you six things you need to do in order to make good friends and establish purposeful and everlasting friendships.

#1: Take the Decision to Get Out of Your Nutshell

Until you decide to go out of your comfort zone, you will still make friends, but your friends will remain those I call ‘accidental friends’ or ‘coincidental friends’. Your friends will be only those you meet in class, or with whom you take courses. That means they are actually your classmates and course mates, not necessarily your friends. Why is it so? It’s because you will soon lose contact with each other, the moment you separate after a course or graduation.

How many of your high school friends, do you still consider as friends? How often do you meet or even contact each other? I know; perhaps, you are friends in social media. But are you really friends?

So, your first thing to do to make to make good friends is to decide willingly to go out of your nutshell.

#2: Don’t be Afraid of Making Mistakes

One of the factors that prevent us from making friends of our choice is the fear of making mistakes. Strangely, even if you’re no longer in the college or university, you’re are still in the school of life. Once life is a process of a continuous learning circle, why would you be afraid to make mistakes? Believe me, failures learn better than non-failures. Don’t seek to fail. Yes… but don’t be afraid to make mistakes. If failure comes your way, it’s for you to learn better and reap the best fruits.

The fear of making mistakes does not only isolate you from the world. It also keeps you unproductive. Further, it kills any talent you possess as a productive individual and your effectiveness as a leader (a leader in your home, at your workplace, in your society or in the world at large).

So, once you’ve decided to go out of your comfort zone in preparation for making good friends, don’t be afraid of making mistakes.

#3: Go Public – Don’t Pray Alone in Your Room

We’re in our comfort zones when we choose to remain in our safe boundaries. Stepping into the public domain is when we begin to be out of our comfort zone. As far as Muslims are concerned, praying in congregations is one of the common opportunities for making good friends.

You get to meet individuals from a variety of specializations. You will see the tall and short from different languages and races. You get to meet the humble and the otherwise. You will meet the rich and the poor. Perhaps, you see all sorts of characters. This is where you get to learn (outside your classroom or experimental lab) by thinking, reflecting and appreciating.

Imagine yourself praying five times a day at the mosque, yet you feel lonely. Don’t worry, our next article will teach you how to start to interact, once you’re out of your comfort zone.

So, if you’re ready in preparing yourself for making good friends, then note, offering your prayers in the mosque or in common prayer rooms is significant in getting to know others from other faculties, other dormitories and areas of specialization.

#4: Go Public – Don’t Cook or Eat Only in Your Room

One of the ‘bad habits’ that prevents international students and workers in foreign lands from making good friends is that they choose to stick to their local culture and flavour. If so you want, why travel to a foreign country? J

As a student, you can’t socialize and make good friends when you only eat what you cook or you eat only in your room. It’s only when you go to the canteens, that you’ll get the chance to see, meet and greet others from different faculties and different hostels, as well as more locals.

Likewise praying in the mosques, eateries and marketplaces are also good domains for socializing and making good friends.

#5: Count the Number of Friends You Have from Different Programmes

The likelihood of you having 50% of your good friends to be from different fields of specialization is slim. In fact, you won’t realize you actually have no many friends from other countries as well as from different fields (fields that do not interest you) until you take five minutes to count how many of them you have, compared to how many of them you have from your own faculty or programme (your field of interest).

Set your mind to get out and make a number of friends from different fields equal to the number of your good friends in your field of interest (faculty/programme/specialization).

#6: Take Your CCAs Seriously

Co-Curricular Activities (CCAs) are one of the best platforms to make as many friends as you want. Unfortunately, students being students, we tend to see CCAs as a burden that we need to deliver soonest possible and be free. Thus, we only focus on scoring our grades and part ways. If you’re in a CCA programme, or you’re set to enroll in one, prepare your mind to seize the opportunity, to learn, to build a new skill and above all, to establish effective communication skills that will serve as your tool in making good friends.

Postgradute students may not have CCAs, but you still have faculty and university activities. Make it a point to be part of them as much as you can.

Why the Need to Make of Good Friends?

The answer is simple. You need to make a variety of good friends because you don’t cook with only one ingredient. Do you? In other words, you don’t enjoy food which is cooked with only one ingredient. You won’t know the joy of having a variety of good friends until you have had them.

The above-outlined steps are your prerequisite to making new friends and having a variety of good friends, in an international setting of a university, college or a workplace. Once you’ve done that, you’re ready to make friends with anybody of your choice. How do you do that? Stay tuned for my next self-help article.

Until then, you can download and print the following checklist as part of your self-help resources. Alternatively, you can sketch them in your journal or personal notes for easy reference.

My Checklist for Making Good Friends - 1BabaSalam.com

To save this checklist, right-click on the image and select ‘Save As’ to save it on your computer.

Before I sign out, tell me what are the other steps you think your friends should take to be ready to make more good friends in an international setting. Please share your views in the comments area below. Also, I’ll appreciate it if you could kindly share this article on Facebook and Twitter. Simply hit on the LIKE or SHARE buttons below.

Baba Salam is a lifelong seeker of knowledge, a writer and blogger. He writes here at 1BabaSalam.com. He's also the man behind GSalam.Net. He's also the founder of TVQ.Academy. You can find him on Twitter @1babasalam, Facebook @1BabaSalam, and Instagram @1BabaSalam.