Dear Dish-It : Top 10 :: Making Friends
One of the top 10 questions to Dear Dish-It is: How Do I Make New Friends? Whether you’re going to a new school, moving to a new neighborhood or just looking to bust out of your current social circle, meeting people and making friends can be awkward and challenging. But it’s not impossible (nothing is). Try a few of these tips and you’ll be on your way to Friends Central in no time!
Listen & Ask Questions
Other people like to know they're being heard and their ideas are appreciated. By being a good listener you let others know you value what they have to say and you also value who they are. You can let others know you're paying attention by making eye contact while they're speaking, then asking a question or two about what they're saying. If the conversation goes well, ask the person for his or her phone number or e-mail, then make plans to hang out.
Give A Compliment
Everyone loves an ego boost. Noticing something you like about someone and sharing it with him or her is a great way to make a connection and start a conversation. When giving a compliment, be honest and genuine. Even if you're complimenting something very small, like the color of the person's shoes, they’ll probably appreciate it. You might even receive a compliment in return!
Detach From Technology
You're less likely to notice who's interested in you if you're constantly checking your e-mail, voicemail and text messages. Being online or on the phone also sends the message to others that you're unavailable. Put away your cell phone from time to time and take a look around. Who seems funny or interesting? Which people in the room have you never talked to? Who pays attention to your ideas? Make a mental note and spend a little time getting to know these people face-to-face.
Join A Club Or Team
Having an interest in common with another person gives both of you something to talk about, whether it’s reading, rugby or rock 'n' roll. So go ahead and pursue your interest with other people – it’s fun and gives you a sense of meaning and belonging. Clubs, teams and other groups also work toward common goals, which is inspiring, teach you how to solve problems and help you bond with others. Check out the clubs and activities at your school or church, your local community center, YMCA or the parks and recreation department. Form a band or a book club, or start an interest group online. You'll have a circle of friends before you know it.
Volunteering is a great way to meet others, build community and work toward common goals. You can volunteer in your school, community or church. Many kids volunteer to clean up parks, tutor younger students or help at food pantries, animal shelters or hospitals. Nonprofit organizations always need volunteers. Chances are you'll find other kids your age volunteering their time, too.
Get A Job
Getting a part-time job at a place where other kids your age work is another way to meet people and work toward common goals. Even if those goals involve folding sweaters or cleaning toilets, you'll have something to complain about – and bond over – with others.
Form A Study Group
Does your math teacher give super-hard exams? Is your history teacher always popping quizzes? Round up a few others from your class to study together each week. Ask your teacher if you could pass around a sign-up sheet or make an announcement about the group after class. When your group gets together, share notes and chat about class. Find out what your classmates like about the teacher and what they can't stand. Make flash cards together or quiz one another. Bring snacks and share what's going on in your life. You'll have new friends before you know it.
Letting others know that you think they're funny makes them feel good and shows them you're interested in what they think. It also shows you have a good sense of humor, which is one of the top things teens look for in a friend.