Creating a Great "Hangout Spot" for Your Friend Group
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Students love to be social during college, for the most part. When you enter the university, you’re exposed to so many students that share the same passion for learning as you might, and many students end up finding their best friends at college either through having lived together in residence halls, sharing classes, or being involved in the same student organizations.
Once you find your solid friend group, you might find yourself wanting to spend as much time with them as possible even if this time is spent simply doing homework together!
Here are some ways to make your apartment the “hangout spot” for your group of friends.
Make it easy to eat in the space
Students love to eat! While it’s pretty unrealistic simply to say that you should provide food for your friends if you want them to call your place the main hangout spot, at least try to make it easy for them to heat up food if they bring some along with them. Additionally, make your hangout space easy to clean. When friends are coming over (and you suspect they’ll be munching on something potentially messy, such as chips), you might consider laying a blanket down on the couch or the floor to make cleanup easier on you later. In other words, the ideal hangout spot for your friend group probably shouldn’t be a pristine white carpet or a few brand new armchairs.
Create space for fun
Arrange your furniture so you have an open space somewhere in your apartment for gatherings. Depending on how many people are in your friend group, you may need a larger space for everyone to congregate. If your apartment typically feels cramped, move around some of your bulkier items to see if you can arrive at a configuration that gives everyone enough space.
Does your crew like to watch movies together? Position your TV in an area where everyone can see it. Do you all like to do craft projects as a means of de-stressing after exams? Move a table to the middle of your living room or bedroom so that everyone can gather around it. Essentially, create your space such that it supports the activities you enjoy doing with friends.
Keep your space tidy
Your friends won’t want to visit often if you fail to clean your apartment semi-regularly. People tend to feel happier in spaces that are neat and organized, so do your best to keep your clutter under control. Have a trash can nearby as well so that your friends can get rid of their trash that might otherwise be left under your couch or strewn across the floor. A well-maintained apartment can serve as a great hangout space for friends much more so than a messy one can.
Find enough seating for everyone
As college students, you probably don’t have many chairs, and you might not even have a couch or large armchair. You might often sit on the ground, but that can get uncomfortable after a while. Consider investing in cheap seat cushions to use as floor cushions if you lack proper seating for all of your friends at once, or look on Facebook “free and for sale” groups to find out if anyone is selling or giving away a used couch or set of folding chairs. There’s no need to go out and buy brand new seats (again, we’re talking about a college student’s budget)!
Make sure your friends know they are welcome in your space
Hospitality plays a large role as far as making folks comfortable at your apartment. If you’re looking to make your place the designated “hangout spot” for friends, let them know they are welcome (and when they are welcome). Are they allowed to just drop by without advance notice, or will you ask that they text you first to see if they can come over? How long can they stay when they’re over? Are they only allowed to lounge at your place on weekends, or weekends and weekday afternoons?
It’s helpful to establish boundaries (yes, even for friends — especially for friends) so that you don’t feel anxious about not having enough alone time. College is a busy time, and you all have demanding classes and work commitments that take precedence over hangout sessions. Clarify for your friends that you love having them over, but that they might not necessarily get to spend all the time in the world in your living room. Once you explain these boundaries, hopefully, you won’t be taken advantage of when your peers start getting too comfortable in your place.
There are many other ways through which you can make your apartment space cozy and welcoming for friends — most of all, however, you should emphasize that your friends are welcome in your space. A strong network or support group of friends is crucial throughout college, and making your apartment the designated hangout space can be one comforting way to ensure you are never without support.
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