Finding friends is the key to feeling left out and lonely. You may have a hard time making friends, or maybe you’ve just moved and don’t know anyone. No matter what reason you have for making new friends, everyone has to do so at some point in their lives.
Having trouble forming new relationships as a teenager? Here are some ideas.
The first step to making friends is to appear welcoming. Look sullen, aggressive, or standoffish and no one will want to meet with you. Getting to know someone can be challenging, but take a deep breath and give it a try.
By smiling, you show others that you are pleasant. Despite being nervous and facing a new situation, smiling lets people know you are approachable. When you smile, someone will smile back; smiling is contagious! As a baby, you learn to smile as a reflex action.
Psychologists report that smiling improves moods and makes others feel better as well. I think that’s a good way to start a friendship.
It’s rare that someone will ignore you if you say hello, but you need to choose the right moment. You shouldn’t greet someone rushing to class late or in the middle of an exciting conversation on a Monday morning.
Decide when is best for you. In homeroom or near a bulletin board, speak with the person beside you. Instead of asking if you can sit in a group, ask if you can join one. There is a difference between the two.
Ask for Help
By asking for help, you can start a conversation. You may be shown the way if you ask for directions. Find out when a homework assignment is due, (even if you know the answer), and you may be able to get a buddy to help you. When you offer to help, you’d be surprised how eager people are to do so.
Conversations can be started in many ways:
- Homeroom is a time to exchange names and discuss the day ahead.
- Point to a notice on the bulletin board and ask your companion about it.
- Give the person directions your reason for going there when you are getting directions.
- You will always get a big reaction when you talk about the food in the school lunchroom.
Be natural, take it slowly, and don’t push. The first step to making friends is to make acquaintances.
Join a Club
Get involved in extracurricular activities at school. Take part in something you are genuinely interested in. By doing so, you will be able to share your interest and enthusiasm with your companions.
Your fitness level and mood improve when you participate in group sports or gym classes. Don’t worry if you haven’t been athletic; you don’t have to be an Olympian.
Arts and Crafts
Try something completely new, such as art classes, writing a column for the school newspaper, joining the choir, or auditioning for a play. It is always possible to work backstage, as an usher, or in a similar capacity if you are not a natural performer.
Use Your Initiative
Think about starting a club if you don’t see anything you’re interested in. You may want to discuss your ideas with a teacher or counselor. You might find others who will jump at the chance to join by posting a notice on the school bulletin board.
Local Leisure Activities
The lack of friends you have won’t solve anything if you sit at home worrying about it. You must go out and find people because they won’t come to you. See what’s going on locally by looking at bulletin boards, newspapers, or asking your teachers.
If you have questions about community activities, they will be happy to assist you.
Community Activity and Volunteer Work
Teenagers who want to work in the community have numerous opportunities and ways to get involved. Creating lasting bonds with your teammates comes from working towards a common goal.
You should discuss your plans with your parents. A part-time job or community project requires them to know what you’re doing, where, and when. A community project may also be of interest to them, as well as extending their circle of friends.
If you are interested in getting involved, you can find tips online. Among other things, the Corporation for National & Community Service provides information about the benefits of community service and how to get involved in local projects.
With VolunteerMatch.org, you can find care projects, events, and activities to volunteer for. There is a list of volunteers for each activity, and each volunteer is a potential friend.
Making Friends When You’re Shy
Shyness can be an indication of insecurities and fears about yourself and others. In your fear of making a social blunder, appearing boring and lacking in ideas, or being shunned, you may worry that you will appear alone.
The fear of rejection by a group often prevents people from making the first move toward friendship.
Take the time to examine these emotions and come to terms with them. You can prevent shyness from ruining your chances of making friends by keeping these tips in mind.
- Avoid witty remarks when approaching a conversation. I always appreciate a listener who pays attention.
- We all make mistakes from time to time. If that happens to you, smile, apologize, or make a joke about it. You probably didn’t notice anyone.
- It is not important that others judge you; most people are more interested in the image they project when they criticize your behavior.
- By remembering your positive attributes, you can change your self-image.
One step at a time can help you overcome your shyness. When you were a kid, you learned how to climb the jungle gym by going higher and higher each time? Making friends is no different. Small social contacts will give you the confidence to take on greater challenges.
Here are a few techniques that will keep you from feeling overwhelmed:
- Make travel arrangements with an acquaintance going to the same event.
- Attend a party or meeting early; be there when the first guests arrive, so you can meet them one by one.
- If you’re busy, you’ll feel better.
- Make sure you have an escape plan in case it all gets too much for you; say you may have to leave early but will remain as long as you can.
- Find others who are also quiet and connect with them. Become familiar with newcomers. You’ll feel better about yourself as well as others when you put them at ease.
- Joining a group simply because it appears popular is not a good idea. Identify with people who share your interests.
You Are Not Alone
You may feel lonely and despondent, but you are not alone. It is a common state of mind among many people. Read books that provide insight into how others cope. You may find it helpful to speak with older siblings or cousins who are close to you; they may be able to provide tips and even introduce you to their friends.
The most important thing to remember is that you can’t make friends unless you try.