Making new friends. It sounds scary. And, if we are being honest, it is scary. Walking up to human beings you don’t know at all and opening up to them, having to have something to talk about even when you don’t know what they like to talk about. Shaking knees because ‘what if they won’t like me?’, ‘what if I will say something so embarrassing I can never be friends with them?’. All those fears and doubts about making friends make it perhaps even more terrifying, frequently.
So yes, making new friends is scary. And it sometimes (or maybe often) turns out to be a mistake, you sometimes fail. But it does not have to, so often. You don’t have to feel horrible after every encounter with someone you don’t know. That is why I wrote this article, in honor of all the teenagers who will meet new people at school in the upcoming weeks, but which can apply to everyone who is scared, anxious (or any type of emotion) to make new friends. Here is the article sharing my tips about how to communicate easier and discussing why making new friends does not have to be hard.
Be open to all human beings
Sometimes you think you have a certain type of friends but people can surprise you. Try being more open towards the ones a little less likely to appeal to you as ‘friend-material’ as well. You will find out that there are a lot of surprisingly kind and funny people out there who like talking to you.
Your fear is in your head
It might feel frightening and you think about it all the time and get even more terrified, but often your negative thoughts occupy more space than the actual encounter of meeting new people. What you are thinking is often way scarier than the actual meet up. So, don’t think too much about it and just do it. And if you fail, what can happen, you breathe, learn from it and try again next time because that is when you grow. But don’t get stuck in that moment, replaying the mistakes you supposedly made, but look forward.
Three golden tricks
- Mention their names in conversations. This will let them know you haven’t forgotten their names and that they are worthy of remembering.
- Look them in the eyes, instead of focusing on your hands or their arms (or something else). Looking them in the eyes will make the conversation more personal and intimate.
- Give compliments. People love receiving compliments and it makes them feel good.
These 3 tricks make people feel special and that way it is much easier to make friends, because they will feel closer to you, as you’re being more personal. Try doing them (of course not too often:) and see how the friendship will change from ‘oh I know her’ to ‘good friends’.
Show actual interest
Show sincere interest in their lives, hobbies and for example their childhood. Showing interest demonstrates your wish to know them better and to become good friends. People also love talking about themselves (yeah I know how egoistic that sounds, but mostly, it is correct) and you give them the perfect opportunity to do so.
Hang out with people
This sounds logical (but scary) but when you, for example, just finished a class, walk back to the cafeteria or another classroom with other classmates and talk along. You might not know what to say, but even just nodding along, showing interest and laughing when there has been made a joke will showcase yourself as a fun and kind person. & I know, laughing along sounds a little fake when it’s not a funny joke, but oh well:).Don’t spend all your breaks alone but sit with a group of people you don’t necessarily know very well and just laugh and talk with them. These are a couple of examples, but there re plenty of occasions where you can become involved with others. No matter how scary it may look, it will get easier, I promise.
Last but certainly not least, do not forget to just be yourself. The right people will come along. Being yourself is such a freeing thing in a society where a lot of people are trying to ‘fit in’ (no hate, but this sadly is the truth). It can feel so captive and it can ruin so many memories, so just be yourself and love yourself for the cool and kind person you are.
Wow, this week is already over. I loved writing about high school & reading tons of articles about it. I hope you learned and that you feel prepared for high school or any challenge that is coming. I believe in you and you can do it.
Have you read the previous posts about high school? Don’t forget to do that as well!
Wednesday: Steady grades: possible?
What are your tips on how to make friends?