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How To Step Out Of Your Shyness and Make New Friends at School


We’ve all seen far too many of those cliche movies where the new girl walks into the cafeteria on her first day of school. The shy new girl is always stuck sitting alone eating her sandwich, feeling lonely and lost. But thankfully, movies are often far from reality, and there’s no reason not to make tons of new friends from day one. Here’s how to make friends at school, and prove Hollywood all wrong.

Ways To Build New Friendships

There are endless opportunities and ways to make new friends that are simple and not to be feared. You don’t have to try them all, but surely one or two efforts will go a long way in establishing new connections.

1. Your Friend’s Friends

So you want to know how to make friends at a new school? Well, what better way to make new friends than through your already existing friends? Surely they are kind hearted people who have similar interests to you, especially if your friends have already befriended them. It can make approaching them a whole lot easier and less scary by knowing that you have a mutual connection.

2. Talk To Someone Who’s Alone

If someone is sitting alone or looks a little lost, then that’s the perfect opportunity to go talk to them! They are likely in the same boat as you, also feeling nervous and unsure how to make friends at a new school, and you approaching them would be a win-win situation.

3. Look For People With Similar Interests

Look around for people that seem to appreciate the same things that you do. Perhaps based on the book they’re reading, or even based on the kinds of questions they ask in class. People with similar interests tend to get along as they share their passions, and it surely makes for a great conversation starter.

These two students are sharing a laugh together in the dorms.

Photo by nappy from Pexels

4. Make Sure You’re Approachable

While we often want to meet new friends at school, sometimes without even realizing it, we can be highly unapproachable. If we are wearing sunglasses or headphones, we may be giving off an uninviting message. Make sure that you’re always looking up and around you, allowing people the chance to come up to you.

5. Spend Time With Kind People

Even if you haven’t found your best group of friends, be sure to always surround yourself with kind people. Those are the kinds of people that you want in your life and that have more potential for long-lasting friendship.

6. Join Groups Who Have Their Feet Planted Outwards

It might sound like a small detail — but it really can make all the difference when it comes to how to make new friends at school. Groups with their feet planted outwards, meaning their body language shows that they aren’t closed off, as they are facing the rest of the crowd at a party or social event, tend to be more open to letting in new people. It can be a great chance to try to spark up a conversation and potentially join their group, whether it be a club or even just a close group of friends.

7. Join An Intramural Sport

By joining an organized sports team or even just activity, you are opening up more doors for yourself to meet new friends. It’s the perfect chance to do something you can feel good about, while establishing new connections — whether it be on or off the court. Friendly competition never hurt anyone!

8. Attend Social Events

Social events were created for a good reason — to allow people to be social! They often aren’t just to celebrate one certain event or cause, but rather to bring people together and allow them to get to know each other. Never miss out on these opportunities because you never know who you’ll meet!

9. Avoid Shutting Yourself Out

Even if you’re feeling tired, lazy or insecure, be sure to avoid shutting yourself out. Put yourself out there, take those invitations to events and after-school hangouts. Make yourself be noticed even if it requires a little extra effort and risk.

10. Unplug From Your Devices

When it comes to making friends in school, unplugging is key! If you’re always glued to your phone, not only will you give off the message that you’re not interested in meeting new people, but even if someone decides to try anyway, you’ll probably not even hear them. Always make yourself available to the outside world. Your fancy devices will still be there when you come home after school.

11. Introduce Yourself Wherever Possible

Just because someone doesn’t ask for your name, it doesn’t mean you can’t give it. They are probably just as shy as you and would love to get to know you. Whenever given the opportunity, take that risk and introduce yourself. What’s the worst that can happen anyway?

12. Join A Group Conversation

Joining a private, intimate conversation is one thing, and can be seen as an invasion of one’s privacy. But when it comes to a group of people, there’s no reason not to pitch in! It’s the perfect opportunity to start a conversation and get to know these people.

13. Give Compliments To Break The Ice

Really, who doesn’t love getting a compliment? Giving someone a compliment about literally anything about themselves, from their outfit to their hair is a great way to break the ice, and is a sure way to winning their heart over. They will likely appreciate the effort you made and will want to continue talking. Just be sure not to overdo it! You still want to be taken seriously.

14. Ask Open-Ended Questions

Open-ended questions are the ultimate way to make new friends at school. By asking short yes-or-no answer questions, you aren’t really helping yourself unless the other person is going to take the initiative to give longer and more detailed responses. When it comes to how to make new friends at school, it’s not just about talking, but doing it right. Some examples of open-ended questions include asking what kinds of books they like reading or what they think of the new school.

15. Exchange Contact Information

If you had a nice conversation with someone and got a good feeling, don’t let them get away! Always be sure to exchange contact information so that you can arrange to meet up again and start to establish a friendship. This is one of the most crucial steps.

16. Extend Yourself

If you want to meet new friends, sometimes, you’ve got to extend yourself. Not overly, but you’ve got to show that you are a kind, generous person, and that you are someone that would make a good friend. So make that extra effort, especially at the start of the friendship. Offer them half of your cookie, it will go a long way.

17. Don’t Be Afraid To Be Yourself

There are endless tips on how to make friends at a new school — but at the end of the day, what’s most important is to be yourself. Don’t try to be someone or something that you’re not just to make friends. Yes, go out of your comfort zone wherever you can, but always be true to yourself. Those that really matter will like you the way you are.

18. Put Yourself Out There

Putting yourself out there is key to meeting new friends! If you stay home, look down, wear headphones and do everything possible to isolate yourself, well then you will stay isolated. Make that extra effort to be available and approachable.

Be Your Own Best Friend

You can do everything possible to make new friends and look up all the ways in the world on how to make new friends at school. But before all, you’ve got to love yourself and feel good in your own shoes. If you don’t like yourself, then why should anyone else? Make sure that you appreciate yourself and are aware of your incredible worth, then the rest will follow.

1. Challenge Yourself

Always be sure to challenge yourself! Those that stay in their comfort zones never advance in life. It may be scary, but you won’t regret it. Those lasting friendships will surely be worth it.

2. Do What You Love

Do what you love, always. If you surround yourself with the things that you love, then only good things and good people can follow. You will find like-minded people who appreciate the same things as you and have similar values.

3. Flow With It

Sometimes you just have to go with the flow and let life happen. Don’t worry so much about what you did or said. If someone invites you out to a party, just go! Always be sure to see what life has in store for you.

4. Tell Jokes

Everyone loves to have a good laugh and appreciates a sense of humor. Show those around you what you’re made of, and break the ice with those jokes you learned from your dad. You can’t go wrong, as long as your joke is tasteful, of course.

5. Volunteer

What better way to make friends than to help others while doing it? And when people feel good, they are more open and positive towards those around them.

These two girls are enjoying getting to know each other as they chat on a bench on campus.

Photo by Elle Hughes from Pexels

Simple Conversation Starters

If you want to strike up a conversation but aren’t sure how to start, here’s a no-fail list of how to make new friends at school with a few simple questions.

1. Ask To Borrow A Pen

Something as simple as asking to borrow a pen or pencil can be the start of a friendship!

2. What Book Are You Reading?

Asking about what someone is reading is a great conversation starter and can help you learn a lot about that person. Perhaps you’ve got the same taste and are both total bookworms.

3. What Are You Studying?

This is less relevant in high school where students mostly take all the same courses, but in college it can be a great way to start a conversation.

4. Everyone Loves Compliments

We all like to be told how wonderful we are. Make someone feel good about themselves and they will surely want to get to know you.

How To Be More Friendly?

Some people are more friendly than others, and that’s perfectly fine! Here are some simple ways to be more friendly and learn how to make new friends in school.

1. Make Eye Contact & Smile

Smiling at others goes a long way. It shows that you are friendly and open to others. Making eye contact is also a way of showing that you aren’t afraid to be approached and that you will be inviting.

2. A Simple “Hi” Will Do

Just saying “hi” also goes a long way when learning how to make new friends at school. People will always appreciate it.

3. Be Aware Of Your Body Language

Our body language speaks much louder than we know, and gives off strong messages about ourselves to others, especially since we’re not talking and they can’t hear our thoughts. Be sure to avoid crossing your arms and sending the vibe that you’re closed off.

4. Be Encouraging

Even if you don’t know someone very well, if the opportunity arises, say something encouraging! It’s a great way to be friendly in a non-aggressive way.

5. Allow People Their Space

While it’s important to be friendly and put yourself out there, be sure not to overdo it and overwhelm someone. Most people still want to have their space respected.

6. Take The Lead — Don’t Wait!

Don’t wait around for people to come up to you and make the effort. Take the lead and go for it! You’re the only one stopping yourself from making new friends.

7. Ask People Questions About Themselves

Just like people appreciate receiving a compliment, they also like to be shown an interest in themselves. Ask engaging questions and show people that you are interested in getting to know them.

8. Practice Talking To Others

Even if you don’t think that this specific person is going to be your long-term friend, just take the opportunity to practice talking to them. The more practice we get, the more confident and skilled we become!

Understand What’s Limiting You

Sometimes, unfortunately, we are our own worst enemy and are the very thing that’s limiting us. By understanding that, we can break those barriers.

1. Find Time For Friends

You might say you want to make more friends, but if you don’t make the time for your friends then it can be very limiting. Make sure that you make it a priority and aren’t always putting other things before them.

2. Overcome Your Fears

We have our own fears for a variety of reasons. Make sure that any fears you may have aren’t limiting your ability to move forward and establish new connections. Perhaps you have a fear of rejection. Address those fears, accept them, and then start to overcome them.

3. Your Self-Esteem

Your self-esteem can be the biggest limiting factor to making new friends. If you think that you suffer from certain insecurities, start to work on them and believe in yourself. You have to love yourself in order for others to love you!

4. Build Confidence To Make New Friends

Confidence is a skill that is needed to make new friends. It’s a skill that can be practiced and improved endlessly. Here’s how.

5. Pep Talk!

Don’t be afraid to give yourself a pep talk! Convince yourself with words of encouragement that you are incredible and worthwhile. Anyone would be lucky to be your friend.

6. Bring A Hobby To The Table

If there’s something you’re passionate about, surely someone else would love to share that with you. You’re also probably pretty good at it too, aren’t you?

7. List Your Good Traits

Sometimes, unfortunately, we forget how wonderful we truly are. Take the time to list those traits and remember why anyone would be lucky to be your friend.

8. Practice What You’re Good At

Rather than focusing on what you can’t do, focus on what you can do. Focus on that and practice it endlessly. It will surely boost your confidence.

9. Think Positive

A positive attitude is the secret to success. Good thinking leads to good things, and it’s more powerful than you know.

10. Rethink Rejection

When it comes to making new friends in school, really, what’s the worst that can happen? You get rejected? So what? It’s time to rethink this fear.

11. Maintaining Friendships

It’s one thing to make new friends, but it’s another to keep those friendships!

12. Be A Good Listener

In order to keep friendships, it’s important to show your friends that you truly care about them, which can be done most importantly by being a good listener.

13. Attitude, Attitude, Attitude!

Everything in life is about attitude. If you’ve got the right attitude towards your friendships, if it’s a give and take, equal relationship and it’s something that you value and nurture, then it’s bound to last.

14. Slowly, But Surely

There’s no need to push friendships. Let them happen in their time if they are meant to be. Friendships are a process that can be developed slowly, but surely.

15. Enjoy and just have fun!

Friendships are about having fun. There’s no point in stressing out about them. Enjoy the ride, because at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about.

What Makes A Good Friend?

You can read all the tips in the world on how to make new friends at school, but when it comes down to it, we also want to keep these friends. And the best way to keep friends is to be a good friend.

It’s important to think about what makes a good friend. That question may seem complex, but by asking yourself what you want in a friend, you’ve already got all the answers. The way that they treat others and the respect they have for those around them says a lot about how they will probably treat you.