1. People & Relationships

How To Make Friends at a New School

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You're about to start a new school and want to make friends there. What do you do? Here are some tips on how to meet people and make friends at a new school and how to adjust to your new surroundings.
Difficulty: Average
Time Required: 30 minutes per day -- more if you can

Here's How:

  1. Be as confident as you can, but avoid being pushy or cocky. There's nothing that attracts people more than someone who's secure in who they are and has a fairly positive attitude about life in general and other people's ideas, too.
  2. Smile and laugh. It sounds like a no-brainer, but it really works: Make eye contact with others, smile at them when they look at you, and laugh when they say something that's funny or amusing to you. It's a great conversation starter, and it makes you seem friendly and approachable.
  3. Invite others to do things. In a lot of cases, you'll need to make the first move to find potential friends. Ask some people to share a table at lunch or study hall, borrow or lend a sheet of notebook paper, ask someone to be your volleyball partner in gym class -- you get the idea. Once you've found a few people you like, ask them to grab a bit to eat or play video games after school.
  4. Join some clubs and activities. A new school and a new group of classmates offer a great opportunities to explore some new interests. Try out for a school play or sports team, join the yearbook committee or try attending a few school-sponsored volunteer activities through groups such as Key Club or Circle K. You're virtually guaranteed to meet people who share your interests -- and are looking to make new friends, too.
  5. Have an opinion. Are you a die-hard fan of the Chicago Bears or "Gossip Girl"? Are you passionate about helping the homeless or preventing destruction of the rainforest? Speak up. Offer your opinions in class and share your unique viewpoints in conversation. As others what their opinions are. People will remember you in no time -- and want to talk to you and, most likely, hang out to get to know you better.
  6. Remember people's names. Do your best to remember other people's names and interests. More importantly, don't be afraid to ask people more than once what their names are. Say something like, "I remember you said something really interesting about X yesterday and wanted to talk about it some more, but I'm new here and don't remember your name yet. Could you remind me what it is?"

Tips:

  1. Give yourself a little pep talk before you approach new people: You're an interesting and unique person who'd make a great friend. That's an offer they can't refuse!
  2. Point out things that you have in common with other people. Does the girl sitting next to you live in your neighborhood? Is the guy at the locker next to yours listening to the same things as you on his iPod? Introduce yourself, say that you're new, and ask them about themselves -- and the thing that you have in common.
  3. Don't be too hard on yourself. Making new friends takes a lot of time and effort. Let things play out naturally and be patient. In the meantime, rely on your family and, if you can, friends from your old school or neighborhood until you get situated at your new school (and afterwards, too, of course).
  4. Be a good listener. Being a good listener helps you relate better to other people, wins their confidence, and helps you be a better friend. It also shows that you're not self-centered.
  5. Be sensitive to others' strengths, weaknesses and needs. Don't make friends by picking on other people's flaws: It will most likely come back to haunt you. It's more helpful to focus on what other people are good at and find ways you can help balance out their weaker areas. For instance, is a classmate nervous about the next science test? Offer to study with them or tell them about a time you were nervous about a test but succeeded (and that they can succeed, too).

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