It’s day one at a new school, and thanks to the holidays, but all you can think about is who you’re going to sit, or move around with. Trust us: Whether it’s secondary school, college, or even your first day at a new gig, it’s always the same. Being on your own can be totally freak-out worthy! But there are a few easy tricks for making friends that a) aren’t awkward, b) are actually things everyone who’s good at making friends does already, and c) will have you ruling your own crew in no time. Read on.
Questions Are Key
A universal truth: People like to talk about themselves. If you’re stuck for an opening line, ask that cool-looking girl in your class which school she finished from, or that cute guy if he’s done with his registration. Questions are ideal icebreakers because they let the other person do a little personal gabbing—and create an environment where they’ll ask you a question in return. Bingo: Conversation!
In the words of Woody Allen, 80 percent of success in life can be attributed to simply showing up. Psychological studies reveal that the same rule applies to forming friendships: By just exposing yourself to people and joining the club (whether that means soccer, debate, or music), you’re setting yourself up to connect. An added bonus? By making commitments to the kinds of activities you enjoy, you’re going to end up naturally hanging out with like-minded people.
Yes, Your Outfit Matters
If you’re in higher institution, being confident is a key part of making new friends, and the quickest way to inject a shot of self-confidence is by slipping into something that makes you feel comfortable in your own skin. Skip the super-trendy dress on day one and go with a look that really makes you feel like you. (Props if that is the super-trendy dress.) There’s enough to worry about when you’re starting something new without adding a style shift to the list: Just be yourself—in your absolute favourite ensemble, of course.
Remember: You’re Not the Only One Who’s Nervous
Sure, it might seem like cliques aren’t accepting new applications, but not only is that not true, there are also plenty of other people just like you looking to make new buds, whether they’re new themselves or not. Try not to be intimidated, and don’t let perceived social rules stand in your way. Fortune favours the brave when it comes to making new friends.
Be Super Approachable, Not Stand-Off-Ish
We know, we know, this one sounds a little somehow. But that’s definitely not a bad thing: Being approachable means that (you guessed it) you’re more likely to be approached.
Smiling is a great head start, in no small part because studies show that people who don’t smile tend to have a harder time forming relationships. So flash a smile, or if you feel awkward baring your pearly whites for no reason while you’re waiting for the next teacher to come in, just consciously think about putting on a pleasant expression. More often than not, we wear our inner worries on our faces without realising it. So you could think you look normal while you’re actually scowling, all of which is to say: Breathe. Relax. Smile. Good?
Not Everyone’s Going to Be Your Bestie, So Don’t Force It
Didn’t meet anyone who you think is going to turn out to be your lifelong bud during the first day? Don’t stress. Those people are hard to come by, no matter how long you’ve been a part of any particular community. But it’s not like you’ve wasted any time: Putting yourself out there and making those first-day connections are crucial steps.
Got any tips we left out? Tell us in the comments!