Drawing upon data collected as part of a research project exploring diversity in Irish higher education, this article focuses on the relational realm of under-represented students' experiences. It commences with a brief overview of the background and context as well as the methodology of the study. The article then presents and explores a number of interrelated findings with regard to the relationships experienced by these undergraduates, both with other students and with their external friends and acquaintances. Friction was evident in the accounts of the respondents and this article argues that an increased focus on the relational is required by institutions, given the central role played by the social experience in the retention of students in higher education. Further, it is argued that education for diversity and inclusion be incorporated as an explicit and integrated component in all higher education curricula in order to foster mutual understanding and respect between student groups, within the broader educational community and ultimately in the wider society.