5 Must-Do Tips for Making New Friends in High School
Socialization means more than friendship; it’s an important step to a healthy life and mind. Understanding how to navigate interpersonal relationships teaches teens compassion and empathy while forming a sense of identity and acceptance. These skills carry throughout your life, promoting solutions like conflict resolution and confidence in confronting new groups and places.
Making friends is a wonderful way to socialize and lays the foundation of support in your life. Friendships outside of family create a feeling of safety and belonging, as well as a network of trust. The friends you meet in high school can be stepping stones to meeting key people in your life, and may well be friends that you carry for life. As they say, “it’s what friends are for.”
Five tips for making friends in high school
Tip 1: Be yourself
You don’t have to be a grandiose figure or social media influencer for people to like you. Ego and teenagers are a wild mix, and you’ll often feel pressured to be the best choice in the room. That’s simply untrue. In fact, it leads you to false friendships. It's hard to get to know someone if they put up a facade; and you deserve to be loved for who you are.
When you’re finding new friends, the most important aspect is acknowledging that the bond and trust you form with these individuals cannot happen without authenticity. Being yourself means finding people that like you for who you are, and vice versa. You’ll be happy that, instead of putting on a face to draw people in, you’ll meet someone who really enjoys your company.
Tip 2: Try new things
Being yourself doesn’t necessarily mean playing it safe. Potential friendships form in strange places every day, and sometimes you’ll find that a person you wouldn’t have thought would be an ideal friend candidate is actually one of your best friends.
Give people a chance and always be ready to meet new people. If someone takes the time to approach or even invite you to a social interaction, take the opportunity. It’s okay to try and fail, and if you succeed, you’ll be happy you gave that person a chance.
The same goes with interests and hobbies in your life. Getting out of your comfort zone can lead you to meet a good friend you otherwise would not have met, and if not, you may pick up a new interest through the experience. As the old saying goes, try, and try again. Taking chances in life will instill confidence and broaden your horizons.
Tip 3: Find common interests
A great way to make friends is through common ground, like a sport, artistic endeavor, or any activity whatsoever. If you’re into fashion, there are people out there who would love to connect over it. The same goes for music. New friendships often develop through shared interests, so ask questions and learn about the people you meet.
The reality is there’s someone for everyone, and connecting over your interests and hobbies can match you with likeminded people. A fantastic way to do this would be to join a club. However, if you see someone wearing your favorite musician’s merchandise, that’s an ample opportunity to spark up a conversation, which leads us to the next tip.
Tip 4: Take opportunities to talk to new people
A large part of making friends is taking chances. Socializing involves effort, and you should never hesitate to put yourself out there. If you see someone you think may be a potential friend, talk to them. Just as common interests can ignite conversation, any common situation can as well.
If you’re at an event and see people you think could be a match, take that moment to ask them some questions about themselves. Perhaps comment on the event you’re at and see what they think about it. Anything can become a conversation starter; the goal is to open up that opportunity that can lead to good times.
Tip 5: Be approachable
This one may sound tricky, but it’s not far off from “being yourself.” Sometimes, people hesitate to approach someone because of their demeanor. That’s why it’s important to have a friendly attitude in life. Doing so is far easier than you think, and someone who takes time to invite new people in will always be appreciated.
Making eye contact and smiling can be the first step in someone initiating conversation with you. Commenting out loud about the room, scenery, or cracking a joke invites people in. It’s easy to be shy, but even the smallest steps create a welcoming presence, like simple body language. Just saying, “hello!” can do wonders; or even giving someone a compliment in passing. Every social opportunity is an opportunity to make new friends.
The bottom line
Making friends can be difficult, and it’s never wrong to ask for help. Socialization is so important for mental health.
We hope these tips lead you to a fulfilling social life. Connecting with people will build your character and help you develop important life skills to carry on into adulthood. Make it a priority. If you feel you are struggling because of mental health issues like depression, or simply finding trouble with shyness, it might also be beneficial to get together with your parents, another student, or a therapist to talk things out. Sometimes, understanding ourselves allows us to understand other people.
Don’t hesitate to use our private social network, LSS Connect, to connect with your classmates. And be sure to check out Friday Hangouts or our 30+ clubs and activities at Laurel Springs. You might just find your best friend in one of them.
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