When you are younger making friends is usually like a piece of cake. When you start your first day of school, whether it is preschool or kindergarten, you meet a lot of new people that you don’t know but still, you instantly connect with them. Not everyone is like this though, there are some children who may be a little scared or frightened by the sound of new people so they might just keep to themselves, this is called social anxiety. There are also those who, when they are younger they can make friends so easily, but as they get older they find themselves in the situation where they don’t connect easily with people, even if they really try.
Those who tend to struggle to make friends are usually those who are shy, socially awkward, and those who may suffer from depression. Do you feel that any of these describe you? Believe it or not, being shy or socially awkward is actually pretty common., so don’t worry, you are not alone.
I myself am a little socially awkward, but I still tend to make friends fairly easily. I feel that my biggest struggle though, is making conversation with those around me that I don’t feel comfortable with. I never know how to talk to others that I don’t know so well. I see others who struggle much like I do, but some who struggle just a little bit worse. They sit at lunch by themselves and don’t really talk to anyone. In their eyes they probably think that those of us around them think of them as outcasts or maybe they don’t feel like they will be able to make friends. So it is on us to help those who may struggle by making conversation. You never know, it may make their day. It may even make them feel confident enough to try talking to others.
It was Mya’s first day of middle school, she had just moved into a new house and now was attending a new school where she doesn’t know anyone. When she was in elementary school she had so many friends, but when she moved she left all of them behind. Mya made a new friend named Saige within the first few weeks of school, and they were unbreakable.
Throughout their few years of middle school Saige had a lot of other friends, so she usually got invited to go to other kids hangouts, but Mya on the other hand didn’t know how to connect with all of Saige’s friends so she usually got excluded. There were times that Mya went to some of the hangouts, but Saiges friends weren’t too friendly with her. Mya felt as if she was always left out because Saige would skip out on her plans with Mya and instead would hang out with her other friends and Saige wouldn’t even invite her. Mya was the type of person who would constantly forgive Saige for always ditching her because she thought of her as one of her only friends. Saige was the type of person to come and go, come and go, and come and go. Saige would sometimes basically walk out of Mya’s life for a few weeks and then walk back in when it was convenient for her, and Mya would let her.
When middle school had ended, Mya and Saige were great friends and were doing almost everything together again. Half way through the summer though, Saige stopped texting Mya and they didn’t talk whatsoever for the rest of the summer.
When it came time to start Mya’s first day of high school, she didn’t have a single friend. She tried to make new friends but she felt it was too hard. No one would talk to her when she talked to them, and no one would pick her as a partner when it was time, and she felt like such an outcast. Mya ended up eating lunch by herself all the time, and always walked the halls all alone. Not being able to make friends took a big toll on her and it made her feel depressed and not worthy enough, but she still just went on with her days…
Mya realized that not making friends was not good for her and it kept lowering her self esteem. Mya didn’t want to feel down about herself all of the time over this anymore so she looked around for other students who didn’t have many friends like her and she tried making conversation with them. It turned out well for her, and she made new friends all on her own.
- Be positive
- Don’t judge others
- Talk to strangers
- Be genuine
- Make the initiative
- Use a compliment
- Remark on the surroundings or occasion
- Ask an open-ended question, something that requires more than a yes or no answer
- Use small talk