For many girls and guys the start of this school year means starting over in a new community. That may include leaving behind good friends and a town you loved. Even if you didn’t love everything about your old school, you may not have wanted to move. In the middle of dealing with those emotions, you now have to get used to living in a new place. Once you locate the new school (Thank you, GPS!) you’ve got to get used to new teachers and a new schedule without getting totally lost on your way to class. On top of all this is the major challenge of figuring out where you fit in with hundreds of kids you don’t know.
If you are the New Kid in school, this blog is for you. (It’s part of my upcoming The Girls Q&A Book on Friendship, illustrated by the infinitely talented Erica De Chavez) If you’re not the New Kid, read on anyway. Then, hopefully you’ll be on the look-out for anyone at school (new or old) who needs a friend.
Q: My family just moved to a new state. I had to leave all of my friends. Now I’m at a new school. How do I make new friends?
A: Welcome to your new school! You’re probably excited and a little sad because you left some friends behind when you moved. Being in a new school without friends is like watching a movie without popcorn. Making new friends will help you feel more at home in your new home. But how do you make friends? Here are some tips:
1. Be friendly. That means act like someone who wants friends. Smile. Say, “Hi, I’m ____. What’s your name?” That lets kids know what a nice girl you are.
2. Be a good listener. Ask kids what your new school is like and listen to what they say. When people ask you questions, don’t brag (“I was the most popular girl at my old school.”) or make stuff up (“My old school had flying unicorns the students could ride on.”)
3. Ask to be included. This takes courage, so you may need some slow deep breaths before you say, “Hi. Can I play?”
4. Find a buddy. Be on the lookout for at least one girl who seems like she could become a good friend for you. Then follow the directions for #1.
Good luck and have a great school year!
UPDATE October 3, 2014: The Girls Q&A Book on Friendship: 50 Ways to Fix a Friendship Without the DRAMA is now available in print and on Kindle (the ebook can be read on any device, your mobile phone, tablet, or computer with the free Kindle reader app). Visit GirlsQandA.com for an excerpt, reviews, and to order your copy.