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GrabTheMeic: Finding It Hard To Make Friends

“Hi Meic,

I started a new school in September and as quite a shy person I’m finding it hard to make new friends. What can I do??” 

Jo, Aged 11 

__________

Hi Jo,  

Thanks for contacting us here at Meic. What you are feeling is completely natural and most young people (even the outgoing ones) would experience some feelings of anxiety over starting a new school, with new people.  

There are a few things you can do to help make the transition a little smoother for yourself. It might be good to start as you mean to go on by making the effort to try and talk to new people. This might feel a little daunting particularly as you mention that you are naturally quite shy, but it doesn’t have to feel this way and you can take it in bite sized chunks.  

For example, set yourself mini goals, such as introducing yourself to a different classmate each day. Think of some good questions that you could ask in order to find out a little bit more about who you are sitting next to. Not only will help to see who you have things in common with and who shares your interests which provide good basis for a friendship but others like to have questions asked about them too. 

Looking for people who have similar interests is a great approach as you will automatically have things to talk about when you next see them which makes the process a lot more comfortable. Also if you do hit it off you will have lots of things to do together. 

There will be people who share your interests at break time and lunch time too. Downtime such as lunch and break can be difficult as a newbie, however once you have made those connections in class it will be easier to find people to spend time with, it’s not a problem if you need to ask them if it’s okay.  

Try not to focus in on one friend because this could make things really difficult for you in the long run, when that friend is out of school for the day for example. Try to branch out and maintain a few friendships, you will find that you will be able to broaden your own interests this way too. 

If you’re still a bit unsure about starting conversations and taking those first steps, what about joining some groups or clubs? These would provide a comfortable space to enjoy your shared interests with other young people in your school.  

This can apply out of school too, try and join some extra-curricular activities or even a Youth Group outside of school. Doing something like this can help improve your social skills and you never know there could be a few of your classmates there which would immediately give you a common interest for when you return to school. 

Try and maintain contact with friends from your old school. If there are people from your old school that you are sad to leave behind, moving to a new school doesn’t have to be the end, make the effort to keeping those friendships going as you can still spend time with each other outside of school. 

Most importantly be yourself and remember it is likely that you are not the only one feeling this way at this time of year, someone else will be in the same boat! 

Good luck!

Meic