How to Make Friends at a New School


Having to change schools can be difficult. Everything’s different, and you don't know where to go for your own classes. Making new friends can be hard, too, because everyone else might already have their own cliques or friend groups. However, don't despair; you can integrate into your new environment! You’ll have an easier time making friends once you find your confidence, stay approachable and get involved.

Part 1
Finding Your Confidence

Finding Your Confidence on How to Make Friends at a New School

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Try not to be nervous. Remember that you’re not the only one looking for new friends. Depending on when you arrive at your new school, some cliques may have already formed, but there’ll be others just like you who are looking for new friends. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself.[1] You might have fewer friends at your new school than you did at your old school, and that’s ok. As life goes on, there are peaks and valleys in social popularity and it isn’t your fault.

Finding Your Confidence on How to Make Friends at a New School

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Never change who you are to try to fit in. If your friends don't accept you for you, they're not really friends. Most people belong with a certain clique simply because they are being themselves and their unique personalities and interests falls into that stereotype. For example, someone who is naturally athletic may become a jock in high school while someone who is naturally artistic will fit in with other artistic students.

Finding Your Confidence on How to Make Friends at a New School

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Clothes are a big part of image and self-confidence. Instead of trying to wear an outfit you think will impress people, focus on wearing clothes you like. They’ll give people an idea of your personality, but more importantly you’ll feel comfortable in your own skin.[2] If your school has a uniform, try and see if there are ways to make it fit your style. Many schools will give you a choice of outfits, or you can try and wear a pin that reflects your style.

Finding Your Confidence on How to Make Friends at a New School

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As you work to become more confident, it’s important to change your mindset. Instead of worrying about not finding friends, picture yourself succeeding and meeting new people. Recognize all the small successes along the way, such as talking to someone new and enjoying the conversation.[3]

Finding Your Confidence on How to Make Friends at a New School

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You’ll have an easier time making friends if you see yourself as a worthy friend. Write down some positive things about yourself, and keep the list somewhere handy so you can refer to it anytime you’re feeling less confident. A fun trick you can use for this is to think of your favorite celebrities. Write down qualities that both you and them possess; it’ll help you carry yourself more confidently.[4]

Part 2
Being Approachable

Being Approachable on How to Make Friends at a New School

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This goes a long way to making you seem more approachable. When you walk in the halls, don't hunch over your books or keep your eyes on the floor. Hold your head up and make eye contact with other people. If you see someone you know, give them a smile and say hi.[5]

Being Approachable on How to Make Friends at a New School

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Obviously you’ll want to introduce yourself and tell people a little bit about yourself. However, if you ask questions about people, they’ll feel like you’re more interested in them, which is a sign of a good friend. You can also ask questions to start a conversation, like "How's the cafeteria food around here?" or "How long have you gone to this school?" Use questions to compliment people as you start the conversation: "I love your shoes, where did you get them?"[6]

Being Approachable on How to Make Friends at a New School

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Save someone a seat. Say "hi" in the hall. Give congratulations for a job well done. Pay a compliment: "I love your shoes/backpack." It can work wonders.

Being Approachable on How to Make Friends at a New School

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Even if you try your best to be kind and approachable, not everyone will want to be your friend. They’ll have their own reasons; it can be as simple as not having common interests. If you get the feeling someone doesn’t want to be your friend, or they tell you outright, don’t try to pursue them. You can’t force them to be your friend.[7]

Part 3
Getting Involved

Getting Involved on How to Make Friends at a New School

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Anywhere, such as near your locker or at the water fountain, you can find someone that has things in common with you, all you need is to know how to approach them. Strike up a conversation, smile and compliment them, and, of course, introduce yourself and tell them where you came from! You never know where you can find a nice friend. Since you’re new, people are likely going to be curious about you and will be more open to talking with you. Take advantage of this.[8]

Getting Involved on How to Make Friends at a New School

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. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a club, the theatre group or a sports team. It’ll give you the chance to meet new people that you’ll see regularly, two things that encourage the formation of new friendships. On top of that, joining extra-curricular activities means you’ll find others who enjoy the things you do more easily. You can also use this opportunity to try new things you might not have wanted to do at your old school. A new school is a chance to reinvent yourself, so don’t be afraid to try new things![9]

Getting Involved on How to Make Friends at a New School

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You're probably not the only one and at the very least, you'll have one thing in common: you're both in an unfamiliar environment. Since being new is something that you all have in common, making new friends shouldn't be that hard. Talk about your old school, your new school, your opinions, grades, teachers, and you’re bound to find something in common.

Getting Involved on How to Make Friends at a New School

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You’ll be noticed more there than at the front or the back of the class. You’ll have an easier time making conversation with people, and are more likely to be paired up with a variety of people for group projects.

Getting Involved on How to Make Friends at a New School

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You might not necessarily make friends on your first day at your new school, and that’s ok. Building friendships takes time, and you need to find the right people as well. As long as you don’t give up, you’ll eventually find people you can call your friends.[10]