Maybe you’ve just moved to a new town. Maybe you’re starting at a new school. Maybe you’re just looking to branch out. In any of these new situations, you might be asking yourself: how do I make new friends? The good news is that if you follow a few simple steps, you should find many people open to making new friends. All it takes is to make the first move, ask questions, be yourself, find a community, and don’t give up.

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Make the first move

If you’re sitting around waiting for someone to ask you to hang out with them, you might be waiting for a long time. In order to make new friends, you have to take the initiative. Introduce yourself. After a conversation or two, maybe you could invite them to a concert or a movie. Put together a group to go out to eat with. Pick up the phone and call, text, leave a voice message. And who knows – maybe they were sitting around waiting for you to ask!

 Ask questions

There’s no better way to get to know someone than asking questions. They could be as simple as “what’s your favorite music artist?” or as probing as “how do you feel about the town where you grew up?” Asking questions lets you learn more about another person, shows them that you’re interested in them, and brings you closer.

Be yourself

While it may seem tempting to pretend you like you’re someone else, this can backfire in the end. It’s never a good idea to act like someone other than who you really are in front of friends. Be true about what your values are and what your interests are – but also be open to learning about other people’s interests, values, and preferences.

Find a community

It can be daunting to find a friend out of the sea of people in your school, your camp, or your town. That’s why a great way to make friends is through a club, a sports team, a religious community, or any other sort of group that brings together people with similar interests or values. Plus, if you’re shy about asking people to hang out, the structure of weekly meetings of a club or team puts automatic social time into your schedule.

Don’t give up

With friendships, persistence is key. Just because you hang out with someone once, doesn’t mean they will be the one calling you every time now. They might be busy, they might forget, or they might still be testing the waters of your friendship. So the burden is on you to make plans, send the first follow-up text message, or  make the first call.

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