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The Student News Site of West Covina High School

WCHS Insight

The Student News Site of West Covina High School

WCHS Insight

How to make more friends and expand your social circle

Paolina Ayala, age 13, sits with her head in her palms thinking about how to create more friends, envious of other kids in large friend groups.
Valentina Ayala
Paolina Ayala, age 13, sits with her head in her palms thinking about how to create more friends, envious of other kids in large friend groups.

Many people, especially in their teenage years, find being social and making friends difficult. During my first two years of high school, I found it difficult to even ask the person next to me for a pencil. Making friends and talking to new people was the equivalent of tiptoeing in a swamp of sleeping alligators to me, scary! 

Since then, thanks to some of these tips, I’ve grown and I have many friends who love and care for me. Talking to people now is a walk in the park. Here are some quick tips, conversation starters, and advice on how to talk to more people with ease.

Be yourself. You may have heard that at least once, maybe even a million times somewhere and at some point, it can get irritating hearing so consistently but it’s one of the most important things you can do while talking to somebody new.

Trying to be someone you’re not won’t help you meet people that will make a difference in your life. It’ll stress you out and you won’t be able to make a connection. By being yourself, you’ll meet people just like you, who have similar interests and that makes you happy. If they’re true friends, they won’t judge you for being yourself and showing your true colors. This is your life, and YOU run it. It’s hard, but try your best  to focus on YOUR needs and wants. It’s important to take other people into consideration as well and be mindful about what you say, but constantly worrying about what other people think, or people-pleasing is harmful and exhausting to your health.

First impressions aren’t always everything. It’s okay if your first interaction with a new person doesn’t go as planned, many times it won’t. Life is full of unpredictable surprises, but it’s better to take a chance and talk to people, rather than not talking to them at all. You’ll have more opportunities to talk to them again in the future. Don’t forget to be respectful.

Many people have experienced the struggle of meeting new people so they will understand and recognize that you have no intentions of malice, especially those who have struggled too. There is nobody there to judge you. 

IMPORTANT REMINDER: If a person or a group is not making you happy and you feel that they’re not good for you, don’t stay with them. Regardless of how long you’ve known them, or why you’re staying with them, they are burdening you and it’s not good for you at all. You WILL find new people to be friends with who won’t hurt you. Everyone deserves happiness. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries and communicate what you feel is wrong. Speak out. If they don’t listen, then they aren’t people you should keep in your life.  

“Well, where in the world would I meet people to be friends with?”

There are people all around us who would be more than willing to be our friend if we talked to them. I suggest starting off small, for example a seat partner or somebody in one of your classes. 

You can ask a seat partner about  a current assignment, regardless of if you know how to do it; it gets the conversation going. If they know how to complete it, let them guide you through it and thank them after. Ask their opinion on the topic; tell them they’re good at it. Let them know they helped and you can ask follow up questions about their classes, their most challenging class and their favorites, teachers they love or don’t particularly like, and you can share your views on those topics  too. 

If they aren’t sure how to complete the assignment you’re asking for help on, you can talk about how that subject or the current topic is challenging, and again, ask their opinions on it. You both can learn it together and help each other through it. 

If you’re feeling brave, you can also compliment people fixing up their hair or makeup in the restroom or even washing their hands. It’s these little things that can really brighten up somebody’s day and even consider being your friend. Again, be respectful. You can compliment a physical item of theirs such as their backpack or a keychain. You can also compliment their hair or their outfit. 

Here are some quick conversation starters that I still use to this day:

  • Hey! I was wondering if you knew how to do ___? This assignment is so confusing.
  • I really like your ____! I see you around sometimes and I thought you were cool, I’m___, what’s your name? 
  • Random, but what’s your opinion on___? I think it’s ___. 
  • Hi! What’s your name? I think you’re pretty cool! 

You can also ask if they have Instagram or if you can have their number so you guys can keep in touch and continue talking.

Some basics you can talk about/ask to keep the conversation going:

  • What other classes do you have/are you taking? 
  • What are your hobbies?
  • What’s something that made you smile today?
  • What are you planning on doing after school?

Talking to people you don’t know in the halls or in the restrooms also helps strengthen your social skills. It’s like a workout, but for your brain! The more you do it, the easier it becomes. 

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