Making friends seems easy for many kids, but for others, it’s more complicated. Having someone you like and trust to play with, or even just to hang out and watch TV has many benefits. Friends make you happy, relieve stress, and keep you from feeling lonely or isolated. Here are 5 tips on how to make friends more easily.
1. Practice saying hello and introducing yourself. Ask open-ended questions.
This may sound silly, but approaching someone and introducing yourself is often an anxiety-producing step of the friend-making process. If you consider yourself shy or introverted, it helps to practice introductions before you actually walk up to a potential friend:
Simply look in a mirror and do it! Say: Hi! My name is _________. What’s yours? Practice until you sound natural and feel more confident when you say it.
Many people freeze after this point and don’t know what to say next. Here is a powerful secret that will make you great at conversations. Just ask the person about something related to themselves.
Most people enjoy talking about themselves more than anything else, so being a great listener and asking simple questions is a great way to start a conversation. However, you should ask questions that are open-ended, which means they don’t have a simple yes or no answer. For example, just asking if they like a certain class may result in ‘yes’ or ‘no’, but asking about their favorite subjects will get them talking much more and allow you to ask even more questions. Be sure to let people fully complete their thoughts before talking back. Resist the urge to respond too early and be a great listener.
When asking a question be genuine and find things you truly you like about that person. Will Rogers (an old-time well known stage actor) is famous for saying: “I never met a man I didn’t like.” He was also one of the most likely people in history. Try to be more like Will Rogers if you want more friends.
2. Look friendly.
A young friend of mine recently started 5th grade at a new school. Each day, her mom asked if she had met and talked to any of her classmates. The answer was always no. Her mom told her to simply just try smiling throughout the day. It turns out, she was so nervous about her new school and teachers that she walked around with a frown and worried look all day. Her classmates didn’t know if they should approach her or not! She looked very grumpy much of the time. She tried smiling, and it worked. Soon she began to form relationships with the kids in her class.
Even if you don’t feel like smiling, your brain will eventually start to feel happier. Once you feel happy, others will be more open to making friends with you. Other things like clothing and grooming can make a difference. You should dress in a way that makes you feel the most comfortable, but brighter warm colors can make a person appear more friendly and approachable.
3. List your hobbies and talents and look for others with the same interests.
In schools and communities, there are clubs and groups for everyone. Book clubs, scouting, Lego clubs, gaming clubs, sports teams, dance teams, music classes, and more are found in schools, libraries, and churches. Consider joining a group and meeting others with the same interests. It’s always easier to start a conversation with others who have the same likes as you.
4. Don’t be afraid to become friends with someone with different hobbies and interests.
Some of your best friends may later change and start to like many different things than you. However, learning from each other gives you plenty of things to talk about and do!
5. Be a good friend.
As you build a new relationship with someone, think about how to be a good friend. Be a good listener. Be kind and helpful. Make decisions together based on what you both like to do, and be willing to compromise.
Make Lasting Friendships
Good friendships can last a lifetime. These tips help build relationships that are fun and meaningful. And friends stay with you through both good times and the bad.
- Shy persons guide to making friends (young.scot)
- How to Make New Friends (wikiHow)
- How to Make Friends in School (JonnyShannon)
What do you find is the hardest part when it comes to making a new friend? Do you have any other tips or advice? Please let us know in the comments below.