Why does making new friends feel so daunting and difficult for some of us?
Relationships are a critical aspect of personal wellbeing. When they are fulfilling, they help our wellbeing. When they are not genuine or positive, they significantly decrease our wellbeing. So our relationships are SO important. We need to pay attention to them, help them grow, and notice their health.
Here are a few tips we’ve learned over the years from our personal lives and from working on teamwork and interpersonal relationships with young people all over Australia. Read on to make some wonderful new friends!
What do you have in Common? What do you share?
Often, we look at people and notice differences. How they look different, laugh differently, or seem more or less confident than us. Differences don’t connect us though. Commonalities do. So find the things you have in common with people. You’d be surprised at the things you find, and at the people you strike up beautiful friendships with.
So how do you find things in common? Ask questions! I have a list that I keep on my phone or in my mind in case I get stuck. Questions like:
- What did you do last holidays?
- What makes you happy at the moment?
- What’s been something funny that’s happened to you?
- Do you have any pets?
- What is something you’re really interested in or passionate about?
We believe everyone has something in common, we just need to look long enough!
SHOW you are friendly!
Of course you’re friendly. But are you showing it?
Sometimes when we’re nervous or distracted, our body language or words can come across negatively to people. When you’re trying to make a new friend, make sure you are using your friendliest most open body language and words. Smile, uncross your arms, face them, look at them. This will help them to be more open to you too!
People want to know and hear you more than you might think!
No matter how old or young, or important or unimportant, or whatever else, we are all connected. So even if you feel out of your depth trying to connect with someone, keep trying.
Assume that they want to connect, rather than they don’t. In the end, we are all just human beings. And you don’t really have much to lose, but so much to gain from a connection with them! So talk to them like you’re already friends, confidently and normally. It takes courage, but it makes the friendship process so much easier.
The quality of our relationships has a significant impact on our wellbeing. We offer digital modules on relationships to give your young person the skills they need to build these impactful and important friendships. Take a look at our self-paced interactive courses to learn more: Digital for Parents