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Friends - making and keeping them

If you’re starting a new school, college, uni or job, making new friends can be daunting. Everyone feels wobbly inside when it comes to finding and fitting in with new friends. Some people are definitely better at making the first move though.

Making friends

As the saying goes: “friendships don’t just happen”. So how are they made?

You need to:

  • be friendly and say ‘hello’ to people
  • find people who share the same interests as you (so a club in or out of school is a great place to find new mates)
  • remember opposites attract. You might be really loud and chatty, but your friend may be shy and quiet
  • think about asking questions and listening. It’s not all about you
  • look people in the eye and smile
  • show them what they’re saying is important by the way you react
  • swallow your pride and try again, if someone gives you the cold shoulder
  • not give up if it all feels like hard going

Keeping friends

Once you’ve found a new friend, or a wider friendship group, how do you keep things sweet?

Show your friends you care about them. That doesn’t mean spending every minute of every day with them, that’s not healthy. But perhaps you could think about:

  • dropping them a text, Facebook, Instagram – or wherever you hang out online – message when you’re not with them to see how they’re doing
  • arranging to get together outside of school, college, uni or work. Go to the park, for a coffee or see a film. If you’re short of cash get creative about what you can do at home together
  • helping them out, whether that’s with homework or household chores they’ve been asked to do
  • make sure you include them, if you’re making arrangements as a group

It may help you to think about a friendship code, and discuss these issues with your friends, at home or at school. What really matters to you in a relationship? Where does respect come into all of this?

Top tips for getting help

Friends illustration

If you’re in a room of new people, remember everyone feels as scared as you. Don’t let it get to you. You’ll soon be making new friends.

Even if you feel scared, keep smiling! A smile makes you feel positive inside and other people will feel a whole lot easier about coming up to you.

Hello illustration

Keep investing time in your friendships. You can’t survive without them. A quick text, a friendly wave, dropping round to see someone all remind friends they matter to you.

More helpful info

Try reading the BBC’s 5-point friendship plan to help polish your friendship making skills.

The Site has some great advice about putting yourself out there and making new friends.

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