It’s the first day of school and you’re in a totally new environment where you’re met with the inevitable task of meeting new people all over again.
Being the new kid in a new environment with no friends whatsoever is undoubtedly daunting. To top it off, it may be even scarier when these people seem to have their own cliques or groups!
But don’t lose hope!
While the task of making new friends may seem impossible, these surefire ways will turn you into a friend-making pro.
The first thing you need to do is to observe your surroundings and identify all your potential friends.
While it’s a bit harder, but not impossible, to infiltrate into a larger group, you may want to first approach smaller groups or even individuals who seem as new as you are. Once you’ve picked the person you’d like to first talk to, be it a single individual or a group, the next step is to prepare yourself to initiate the conversation.
Before you approach anyone, new or old for that matter, it’s important to have a few things in mind:
No one wants to be greeted by a sourpuss or someone looking like they’re about to beat you up!
Remember to turn that frown upside down and approach people with a pleasant smile. Otherwise, you may come off as rude and/or offensive.
Pro Tip: Bring along something you can offer to share, like a piece of chocolate or nuggets. This would help get the conversation rolling if you're not sure how to start a conversation
Before approaching someone, think of a topic or an open-ended question to know more about the person. This would help to facilitate conversations. Though you might want to refrain from asking sensitive questions that may potentially offend the person (You’ll have plenty of time for those when you’re closer to the person!)
Pro Tip: It’s absolutely fine to ask if you don’t understand what the person is saying. Remember to always listen attentively, especially in the particular subject or thing they're interested in.
While you may banter and pass off snarky comments with the people you’re close with, remember to always be kind with your words. There’s nothing more disheartening than being met with a rude comment from a stranger.
Pro Tip: Try to find something you like about the person and compliment them about it. Remember this doesn’t just have to be about physical appearance!
The most important thing to do is to be yourself and not fake it. Remember that friendship should be built on trust and mutual respect. If you’re faking it, there’s a higher tendency that you may grow tired after a while. And that's when you'll feel a real drain on your friendship.
Now that you’re prepared to enter a conversation, it’s time to gather all your pointers and put it to good use. While this may require some internal pep talk and a bit of a daring attitude, let the thought of gaining a friend push you through.
Once you’ve built up enough courage, strike while the iron is hot and approach the new people around you.
Reminder: If you’re experiencing butterflies in your tummy, know that it’s completely fine to have insecurities when you’re meeting new people. Settling into a new environment along with the added pressure of friend-making is absolutely nerve-wrecking.
While it’s important to start and maintain amicable friendships, it’s also important not to feel pressured just to fit in. No matter what kind of peer pressure you’re facing, it’s important to say no when you’re not comfortable in a situation.
You've made it through the three simple ways to make friends. With that, you’ll be looking back and thanking yourself for putting your foot into the unknown and taking the first step to make new friends. And maybe in the future, when you come across a person in a similar situation as your first-day self, you’d take the opportunity to befriend and make them feel accepted.
Tip: Finding it difficult to adjust to your new phase in life and need someone to talk to? Take some time to talk to your school’s guidance counsellor or even organisations, like Befrienders that offers counselling services.