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The social challenges of changing schools in high school

Published: September 17, 2014 | By | Reply Continue Reading
Changing schools can be difficult socially but there are things you can do to foster new friendships.



I’m going to a different high school than all my friends. My home school was within walking distance of my neighborhood but I have to take the bus to my new school. I’m having difficulties making new friends.

I was shy kid growing up but this year I made my effort to talk to people. I know I’m improving. I usually love lunchtime at school but now I hate it because I have really no “friends” to sit with. I know it’s the beginning of the school year but many other new kids already have friends to talk and sit with.

I don’t want to be popular. I just want to have one person at school who cares about me. Sometime I regret going to this new school and think about going back to my home school.

Any advice?

Signed, Emma


Hi Emma,

Being the new kid in school is challenging, especially since you haven’t yet made friends. I’ve heard from a number of girls going through the same thing this year.

If you made a choice to go to the new school, try to remember your reasons for making the switch and focus on those reasons. For example, if your new school is better academically, focus on talking to kids who look friendly in your honors classes or any other special classes. I’ve heard some girls say that the kids in honors classes are less cliquey and more inclusive.

If the choice of changing schools wasn’t yours, finding a way to fit in and make friends might be a little more challenging, but should still be manageable.  Here are a few tips for making friends:

  • Join clubs or sports that interest you, so that you can meet people who enjoy similar activities. When participating, don’t be afraid to tell your classmates  that you haven’t yet made friends.
  • Ask girls who look friendly, that you recognize from classes and activities, if you can sit with them at lunch.
  • Be friendly. Make an effort to smile, say hello, and make eye contact to show that you’re interested and approachable.
  • Keep trying. If the first or second times don’t work out, that doesn’t mean nothing will.

Kids aren’t that different from city to city or school to school. You made an effort last year, which worked out wonderfully. You have the skills. You just need to put them to good use. Be patient, most friendships start off as acquaintances and as people become closer, friendships develop.

I bet you’ll start making acquaintances soon, if you haven’t already. Some of those girls, the right ones, will become friends. Good luck.

Signed, *Amy Feld

*Amy Feld, PhD, MSW has trained and worked as a child psychologist.

Disclaimer: Nothing in this or any other post is intended to substitute for medical, psychiatric or clinical diagnosis/treatment. Rather, all posts are written as the type of advice that one friend might give to another.

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Category: Child and adolescent friendships

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