• Making Friends

15 Tips for making friends at school this year

Published: August 24, 2014 | By | 2 Replies Continue Reading
Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art

Tips for Making Friends at School (photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art)

Contributor Amy Feld has been fielding many questions from teens concerned about making friends at school this year. She offers some savvy tips for making friends (and being a good friend) in high school.

As the summer draws to an end and the beginning of school approaches students experience a range of feelings from excitement to nervousness to eagerness to fear. Whether you’re happy, sad, or somewhere in-between, many teens are experiencing the same concerns as you.

High on the list of worries is making friends at school and having a social life. Another commonality, teens often feel alone in their worries. They don’t believe that their classmates are also struggling with social confidence, including the people at school who are considered popular.

A new school year is an opportunity to start fresh from prior grades and meet new people. Here are 15 ideas to help you get noticed and respected. People want to be friends with those whom they respect.

(If you are a parent rather than a student, you may want to share this list with your teen and use it as a springboard for discussion.)

1) Smile

Smiles make you seem friendly and approachable. They make others feel special.

2) Make eye contact

When you look people in the eye, they feel like you’re interested in them and what they are saying. People like being respected.

3) Say hello

Greet classmates you haven’t talked to before—even if you’re shy, even if the person seems intimidating, and especially if they’re in different groups than you. Hello is the first step toward making a new friend.

4) Reach out

Make a goal to talk to at least one new person a week. Some of the best friends arise from unexpected places and people.

5) Forget stereotypes

People (including you) are more than the group with whom they hang; they are more than the labels others give them. Don’t stereotype schoolmates by the groups they belong to and don’t limit yourself to your current group (if you are part of one).

6) Be involved

Volunteer at school in or the community. Join clubs or sports that interest you. Extracurricular activities are opportunities to meet others who like the same things you do.

7) Be better

You don’t have to be the same as you were last year. If you were shy, you can push yourself to be more talkative. If you were unfriendly, you can be nicer. The older you become, the more life experience you have, the better your social skills become. Use your maturity for your benefit.

8) Ask for advice

If you’re having trouble making friends or keeping friends, turn to people you respect. Seek out a parent, older sibling, teacher or school counselor to talk about your difficulties. They can give you helpful suggestions to solve your difficulties.

9) Be a good friend

Treat others the way you want them to treat you. Even if someone treats you poorly, try not to use that as a reason to return the negativity.

10) Be a good friend to yourself

Don’t talk more harshly to yourself than you would a friend. Nobody is perfect, even if they look that way on the outside. When you’re unkind to yourself, it shows in how you present yourself to the world. You deserve the kindness you give others.

11) Be trustworthy

Keep your friends’ secrets and confidences, no matter how tempting telling others might be. Gossiping may seem harmless at the time, but it causes hurt feelings and fights, and ends many friendships.

12) Be truthful

Lying might feel less scary, easier, or even better but more often than not, the truth eventually comes out and makes the situation much worse than if you initially told the truth.

13) Speak up

If you hear others talking negatively about a person or group, tell them you feel uncomfortable. If you see someone bring bullied or called names, stand up for the victim. Tell a teacher or someone in authority if the bullying doesn’t stop or if it’s a pattern. Keep telling until someone listens to you.

14) Apologize

If you hurt someone or mistakenly do something you shouldn’t have, a sincere “I’m sorry,” without excuses, is the first step to moving forward.

15) Relax

Nobody does friendship perfectly or knows exactly what to do when it comes to making and keeping friends. Do the best you can. Every new day is an opportunity to be better than you were yesterday.

Do you have any tips for making friends at school to add to this list?

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Comments (2)

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  1. Darlene says:

    Hi Jane,
    There are so many things involved with having friends, it can seem really complicated and impossible at times. But, if you kind of break it down into pieces, it seems to be very important to like yourself and to work on your social skills. People who like themselves and have some good stuff happening in their lives are more relaxed and fun to be around.
    Sounds hard? It can be, but you can get that started by getting involved in things that are meaningful to you. Maybe you like dogs, you could volunteer at a dog rescue. Give your life meaning and joy, you will radiate that and people are attracted to that sort of positive vibe.
    Social skills are important at any age, so maybe think about giving yourself opportunities to gain those skills. Observe what works for others, read books on the subject, put yourself in situations either at school or other activities where you can be part of what other people are doing so you can learn. Start small and be kind to yourself, social skills are the same as learning any other skill, you will have successes and not-so-successful times. Over time, you will learn both from the things that work and the things that don’t, too.
    Above all, remember that it is awesome that you have the maturity to seek help at a young age, you have time to learn this stuff and be patient with yourself.
    All the best to you!

  2. Jane Hawk says:

    um….so i used to go to a certain school during my elementary years. I had a lot of friends, i was a lot different and more social. but for 7th grade, i left and attended an online school. that’s just when it started. i began to really feel alone, i practically lost my closeness with every single person i knew. i sucked at socializing. i began to get very nervous, and sweaty. i was unconfident. this continued. 8th grade came, and still the same old story, i was home doing home school. at first i’d beg to get out of the house, but now i want to stay away, from all the parties/events/etc… cause i’m never quite as happy as i used to be. now i entered High School. and its it’s a non-online public one.

    obviously, i’m super quiet, obviously, the kids there are the same ones from elementary. i just can’t seem to speak out to them. i feel lonely,
    and now i almost just dropped everything, and decided that if i was going to be alone with hardly any friends…that i was going to be the best loner in the world!!! i would embrace, and live happy! but how? i’m an ambervert. so i still like being around people, i still need that kind of environment every now and then. but it never ends up to be what i was hoping it would be. i’m still not confident, in my appearance, and such so it’s really holding me down. i know i can be so much more, i’m getting older now, and my life is moving, i just need to be noticed/loved/accepted/etc…. any help? thanks so much!!!

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