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18 Tips for Making Friends

With the return to face-to-face teaching and the pupils returning to school, we are mindful that there are some who are feeling incredibly anxious. We have produced ‘18 Tips for Making Friends’ which we would like to share.

  1. Be active, not passive. You need to get out there and make the moves! You cannot expect friends to come to you automatically.
  2. Smile! Studies show that you tend to like people who you think like you and the amount of times you smile in a conversation had a direct impact on how friendly people think you are.
  3. Look welcoming. Consider your body language. Does your face look warm and welcoming? And your body? Or are you defending your body with crossed arms and head and shoulders down? Think puppy that wants its tummy tickled!!!
  4. Have confidence! Stand tall, shoulders up, back straight, walking confidently. Give out positive vibes. Confidence breeds and attracts confidence. This isn’t the same as arrogance. There is nothing wrong with you. Believe it. Express it.
  5. Listen. You don’t have to talk much. Most people love people who actively want to listen to them. Look at the person. Give them your full attention.
  6. Initiate. Start conversations. What did you do at the weekend? What do you think of the new time-table/school dinners/how much home-work we’re getting? Maybe ask what someone thinks about something that’s happened in the news. It doesn’t have to be clever!
  7. Be reliable and available. If someone offers to meet up with you, never let them down. And you need to be willing to do stuff out of school, even if it means making quite an effort.
  8. Confide. If you never tell anyone anything personal about yourself, you’re not displaying trust – and people love to be trusted. Also, you’re not showing any vulnerability – it’s like you think you’ve got everything sorted – which really isn’t very appealing. If you confide in others, they will then be far more likely to confide in you.
  9. Shut up! It’s not all about you! You do not have to provide all the conversation! Do not bore on about anything. Register the expression on people’s faces – are they interested? Really? Or just being polite? Stop before you bore them.
  10. Be prepared to laugh at yourself. If you come over all the time like you think you’re God’s Gift to Humankind, it’s pretty off-putting. Showing a bit of humility and laughing at your own imperfections, is much more appealing.
  11. Show a readiness to be pleased. People love making others laugh, informing them about things they don’t know and generally making them happy – so be willing to laugh, to listen to what others want to tell you and to be pleased by what others do or say. It’s a real turn off to have people diss your jokes or look bored or criticise what you have to say – so avoid any of that!
  12. Follow others’ conversational leads. If someone wants to talk about something, let them! Encourage them, even if you’re not particularly interested. This will help them to feel friendly towards you and you never know – you might find out something interesting!
  13. Do not be quick to judge. Give people plenty of slack. No one is perfect. Don’t write them off as a friend because they irritate you a bit!
  14. Be loyal. You like someone? Then stick up for them! Never slag them off. Never join in with bullying.
  15. Participate. You need to join in with stuff, sometimes stuff you don’t particularly enjoy. You can stick to your principles eg. You might not want to slag off girls or get so drunk you puke up – but you do need to be willing to go to parties! If all you really like is playing computer games in your bedroom and you want real life friends, you’re going to have to broaden your interests!
  16. Have fun, dammit! Lighten up! Look for the joy in life! You don’t have to be class joker or a complete clown, but if you’re always Eeyore in your gloomy place, it’s not very attractive. Talking about positive things is far more likely to encourage people to warm to you than being negative and whiney!
  17. Be flexible. Try different things! We all have our own preferences, but if we’re trying to make friends, we’ll need a bit of flex. So this guy invites you to a comics fair at the NEC. You’ve never read a comic in your life. Go! You’ll build the friendship and you might even get into comics!
  18. Don’t be afraid to dump a friend. If you’re finding that what looked like a promising friendship is actually really bad news, don’t be afraid to get out of it. None of our friends is going to be perfect and frankly, if anyone wants to be your friend, that’s a sign that you’re getting things right – but we need to do what nourishes us, not what drains us. If you’re new best friend makes you feel dreadful, keep looking! No need to be rude but gradually let things cool down.