Some people might really enjoy time with friends, but making friends can be difficult, especially when it seems to come so naturally to others.
Here are 9 tips for making friends.
1. Pick the right setting
If you try to make friends with someone you’ve just met on the street, they’ll probably find it a bit off-putting. Try to make friends at your school or at an extra-curricular activity.
2. Use conversation starters
Greet someone by saying, “Hey, how’s it going?”. If you don’t know their name say “I’m_____. What’s your name?”
Ask them a question such as “How was your weekend?” for early in the week and “What did you get up to?” as a follow-up question.
Comment on your surroundings and the activity you’re about to do. For example, if you’re going to do an extra-curricular activity ask, “How long have you been doing_____?” and “What got you into it?”
Once you start talking, some more questions to ask are…
- What music do you listen to?
- Have you seen any good TV shows or movies lately?
- Do you have any brothers or sisters?
- Do you have any pets?
Share information about yourself too, but remember, communication works both ways. There should be an equal amount of talking and listening. Listening to what the other person says shows you care about what they have to say.
3. Use common interests
Find people who have something in common with you. That way you both have something to talk about and you can have fun doing things that you both enjoy. You can find people like this through school and extra-curricular activities, but also groups and teams outside of school.
Ask yourself, “what are my interests?” Do you like playing computer games, doing sports, or acting? Try doing a class or joining a group/team so you can meet people with similar interests to you.
Remember, not everyone has the exact same interests as you, and that’s OK. It’s great to discuss and be passionate about certain interests, but equally as important for friends to talk about the many different things they enjoy.
4. Meet people at school
The easiest time to make new friends is at the beginning of a school year, though you can make new friends all year round. Don’t be afraid to get to class early so you can chat with people while you’re waiting.
If you want to sit next to someone, ask “do you want to sit next to each other in class?” Ask someone to be your partner or to be in your group if you know there will be group work. Keep chatting with people after class as you move to your lockers or your next class.
If you like someone in your class ask them, “do you want to hang out at lunch?”
Some more conversation starters for school are…
- “How are you finding the assignment?”
- “What classes do you/did you have today? Do you like the class or the teacher?”
- “Are you in any clubs or sports teams? How’s that going?”
5. Be confident
This is easier said than done and sometimes we don’t feel so confident. However, sometimes the best policy is “fake it ‘til you make it”. Even if you feel shy or scared, go up to that person, say “hi” and try to make conversation. Even if the other person can see that you are nervous, they’ll probably appreciate the effort you’re making.
Never be afraid to take the first step. If you wait for people to make the first move you might be waiting forever.
6. Keep in contact
When you’ve talked to someone once and want to be their friend – keep it up! Say “hi” to them in the hallways and in class. One way to build up to saying hi if you are nervous is to smile at them instead.
Once you have got to know someone, ask for their number or Facebook/Instagram/Snapchat and say you would like to hang-out sometime outside school. (This is where your common interest comes in handy. If the person likes video games, for example, ask if they’d like to play games together.) If you are worried they might think it’s a date say, “do want to hang out outside of school as friends?”
Adding someone as a ‘friend’ on social media can be more casual and easy than getting someone’s number. Many people make friends online (safely) and it can be a great way to keep in touch, as being friends doesn’t always have to be in person. Remember to only add people online who you know and keep your profile private from everyone except friends.
7. Be yourself
This can be through your appearance, your manner, or your ideas. Don’t try to hide who you are. If you have an out-going personality, don’t squash it down to fit in with others. Likewise, if you are a naturally quiet person, you don’t have to put on a loud persona. If you want to find true friends, be who you are, be confident and you will find other people who like you for you.
8. Take care of your appearance
If we look confident in our appearance, we often seem confident to others. Keep your clothes neat and maintain good hygiene. This signals to other people that you feel confident enough about yourself to look after yourself. If you have a favourite piece of jewellery that you like or favourite key ring to put on your pencil case, show it off. It might just be a conversation starter.
9. Take a risk
Friendship is worth the risk, so put yourself out there! Making friends doesn’t happen overnight so be patient and, if friendship is what you are after, never lose hope.
If you would like more information about school-aged kids developing social skills to build confidence and make friends, speak to someone in our friendly team on 1300 668 482 or fill out our online enquiry form and we’ll get in touch with you to discuss how best we can support your family.