Sometimes it can be hard to know how to go about making a friend. It might seem that everyone else has friends and it is just you who doesn’t. Or if you have had a bad experience in the past it is easy to lose confidence and start thinking that you are never going to make another friend in the rest of your life. That’s never the case – it’s just a question of being brave and getting to know new people.
What is a friend?
Friends mean different things to different people, but most would agree that a friend is:
· someone you like and trust.
· someone you can do things with.
· someone you can rely on when things go wrong.
· someone who will stick up for you.
A good friend:
is interested in your life
· thinks about your feelings
· makes you feel good about yourself
· accepts you for who you are
· helps you out
A bad friend:
· talks about you behind your back
· tells lies
· doesn’t keep a secret
· criticises you
· makes you do things you don’t want to do
Steps for making friends
1. Look around school
The first thing you need to do is find people who you would like to be friends with. The most obvious place to start looking is at school. Is there someone in your class who you would like to get to know better? It doesn’t have to be the most popular person in the class – they are probably so wrapped up in the friends they already have that they may not be on the lookout for any others. Think about who has always seemed nice and friendly and who is unlikely to be nasty to you if you try to become friends.
2. Join a local club
Don’t despair if there doesn’t seem to be anyone in your class who you think you could be friends with. Try and think of other places where you could find friends. What do you like doing when you’re not at school? Maybe there is a club in your local area that you could join. Meeting other people who like doing the same things as you can be a great way to make friends.
Try to be as cheerful as possible. Smile at people whenever you can. Laugh at people’s jokes and offer to help people to do things. If you come across as kind and friendly people will have a good impression of you and will be keen to get to know you better.
4. Talk to people
Don’t be afraid to start a conversation with other people. This can be very nerve wracking, as it may be hard to think of what to say to someone you hardly know. The best thing to do is to show you are interested in them by asking a question or giving them a compliment. Think of something to ask in advance and practise your own answers – you don’t want to find yourself in a panic when they ask you something back!
5. Be sociable
Once you get to know someone, invite them to do something with you. This may be something at school, such as being your partner in a classroom activity or something out of school like coming round to your house.
Questions you could ask to try and get to know people
· what did you think of the homework last night?
· what football teams do you like?
· where did you get your trainers?
· what sort of music do you like?
· how did you get your hair to go like that?
· what have you got in your lunch box?
Questions can be about anything – the important thing is to try and ask something that has a longer answer than “yes” or “no”, so avoid asking things like “did you do your homework last night?”
Be open, honest and firm
Professor Helen Cowie is an expert on children’s friendships. She says:
· you only need one or two friends to be happy
· find something that you like doing such as sport or music
· be observant and look around your class for friends
· think about becoming friends with other people who may feel left out
· think of ways you can offer help to other people – it’s important to have a friend who will be trustworthy and reliable
· be a trustworthy and good friend yourself
· don’t hang on to people who don’t treat you well as you are likely to be hurt
· be open and honest with your friends
Tips for keeping friends
· listen to what your friends have to say
· don’t pass on secrets, even if they are really exciting
· if you do something wrong, don’t be afraid to say you are sorry
· if your friend makes a mistake, try to forgive them
· too many people lose friends over silly arguments
· don’t expect your friends to be just like you, accept them for who they are
· don’t abandon your friends just because someone better comes along
· try to keep your own interests as that way you will always have something to talk about