Making new friends can be tough, especially in big schools where it seems like everyone already knows and gets on with everyone else. From the outside it looks like everyone else finds it easy, and that you are the only one struggling. Trust us when we say that this is not the case. All around you, people are just trying to fit in.
Try not to overthink how people feel about you, or worry about things you can’t predict or control. Remember that we’re all in this together.
Here are some essential hints for making new friends that a) are not cringey and awkward, and b) actually work …
Number One: Don’t pre-judge anyone – If we were all alike, the world would be a very dull place. Give everyone a chance, they can’t all be your new best friend, but it doesn’t hurt to find some common ground with everyone you meet. If your best friend from primary school is in your class, and you spend all your breaks together, keep an eye out for someone who is alone, and invite them to join you. They will always remember your kindness.
Number Two: Ask questions and give compliments – Here’s a universal truth: People love to talk about themselves. If you are struggling to think of a conversation starter, tell someone that you love their watch/trainers/schoolbag and ask them where they bought them. Questions are great, because you invite the other person to say something about themselves. With a little luck, they’ll ask you a question back.
Number Three: Get an extra curricular – A huge part of succeeding in life comes down to just showing up. The same applies to friends too. Just show up. There are loads of options out there for groups and teams from sports, to student unions, volunteering in causes you support or singing, dancing and banging drums. Challenge yourself to try at least one thing you’ve never done before. Finding a new passion is good for you, and you’ll get to meet new people who are passionate too.
Number Four: Be careful of body language – Sometimes, when we’re nervous, we close ourselves off from other people and can appear a little moody or uninterested. If you feel anxious or worried, you wear it on your face. Open your heart, relax, breathe and smile. We bet someone will smile back.
Number Five: Remember: EVERYONE is nervous – If you do find yourself alone, you might look around and think that everyone else knows each other and has someone to hang out with, but look closer. Everyone is open to making new friends. Be brave, and ask someone if you can sit with them. You will need to be brave for just one minute, but then it’s done, and you’re no longer alone.
Number Six: It won’t always work, but that’s okay – Sometimes people just don’t get each other. It’s not always personal, so don’t make it personal. Don’t try to make people like you, and don’t turn on them if they don’t. You’re wasting the energy you could be putting into real and genuine friendships. Move along, sister.
Above all else, be yourself. You’re fabulousness personified x.