Your People - The Shona Project

We live in a world where people value the quantity and not the quality of people in your life. The social media world tells us that we need to rate ourselves and each other based on the number of followers or the number of likes we get.


One good friend is worth 100 bad ones (or even 50 mediocre ones). Most of us can count our real friends on just one hand. These are our ride-or-dies, the ones we tell our deepest darkest secrets to, the ones we can see ourselves sharing our whole lives with. And these are rare.

Your friend group should feel like home, where you have belly laughs and ugly cries. There’s no judgment and no one ever gets ‘‘cancelled.’ No one person dictates how everyone should think and act, everyone is just encouraged to be themselves.

We have some important news …

Not everyone is going to like you.


So, What types of friends do you need?


You really don’t need many friends, just a couple will do. And they don’t all have to be like you. Why not shake things up a bit and add some of these to your speed dial list?

  • The ride or die: You know when you need a full-on, snot down your face, mascara streaked cry? When you really messed up, and you know it, and you need someone to not judge you, but just help you fix it? Or when you need someone to understand what you need without having to ask? That’s your ride or die. They are rare finds, so hold on tight to these ones.
  • The adventure bud: The one who’s always up for a new experience. Whether it’s meeting new people, going to new places, or trying a new activity. Want to try virtual reality, buy tickets for a festival, join a dodgeball club? She’s your girl.
  • The truth-teller: When you’re in that bad relationship, stuck in a spiral of breakups and arguments, you need a dose of reality. Someone to tell you it’s time to walk away and remind you that you deserve better. Also, when you have poppy seeds in your teeth, someone needs to give you a heads up.
  • The zen buddy: When you’re wound up, or angry, or panicked or scared, you need to be with someone who can help bring you back to earth. Their presence just calms you, because their energy is always super chill. Without saying a word, they make everything okay again.
  • A mentor: No matter who you are, you need someone who is a little further down the road than you and is willing to share their wisdom. Someone you look up to. Don’t be afraid to make friends with someone a little older than you. They give you advice, and you can teach them how to use Tiktok!

How to find your people


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 …

  • 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.
  • Ask questions and give complimentsHere’s a universal truth: People love to talk about themselves. If you are struggling to think of a conversation starter, tell a girl that you love her watch/trainers/schoolbag and ask her where she 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.
  • Get extra extra-curricularA 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • It won’t always work, but that’s okaySometimes 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.


This is an excerpt from Tammy’s new book – You’ve Got This! It is important to know that this piece was written in conjunction with experts. 

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