Make Friends at a New School

Going to a new school can be difficult. Everything seems so weird, and you don't even know where to go for your own classes. Making new friends can be hard, too, because everyone else already has their own cliques or friend groups. However, don't despair: you can integrate into your new environment! To make friends at a new school, you'll need to build up your confidence, approach people in a positive manner, and get involved with the social environment of your school. Once you meet people who seem open to friendship, work on nurturing those relationships by spending time with them.


Finding your confidence

  1. Take a deep breath. You shouldn't be nervous - you're going to a new school, not to a torture chamber. Remember that in your new school you will find kids your age. You're going to meet people who like you there.
  2. Be yourself. 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 or someone who naturally artistic or emotional may become part of the emo crowd.
  3. Be hygienic. No one likes a whiff of body odor or bad breath that could knock someone over. Shower daily, wear deodorant, brush your teeth, and wash your hair. Designer clothes aren't necessary, but look neat, whatever you wear. Good grooming can make you seem cleaner and more approachable.
    • Mints are a great way to keep your breath fresh throughout the day, but good teeth cleaning should be all you really need.

Having a positive approach

  1. Be kind to the people you meet at your new school. Make sure to be nice to people of all cultures and backgrounds. If you think that you will say something that will make them feel sad, do not say anything and just nod your head if they talk to you. Also, remember to be as kind and as helpful as possible!
  2. Be inviting. A smile goes a long way. When you walk in the halls, don't hunch over your books or keep your eyes on the floor. Stick your chin up and make eye contact with other people. If you see someone you know, give a smile or say hi. Introduce yourself. Tell them your name and where you're from. Ask a question: "How's the cafeteria food around here?" Chat about the new school: "How long have you gone to this school?" or even a compliment "I love your shoes, where did you get them?"
  3. Make the first move. Anywhere, in the bathroom, 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.
  4. Remember people's names. You like it when people use your name, and other people do, too. Moreover, people can get annoyed if you don't remember their name. Ask them gently if they have a nickname. You'd be surprised where this can come in handy.
  5. Do Something New nice for someone. 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 make wonders.

Getting involved

  1. Join after school activities you like. Choir or theater or hang around for a French club meeting, etc. Even if you don't know anyone there, you'll all share a common interest, and you can experience with different personalities from yours that have the same interest!
  2. Look for other people who are new to the school. 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. The good news is, if you are starting at a new school in start up year, almost everyone is new! 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, etc.
  3. Don't sit at the back of the class where other people don't notice you! Try to sit in the middle where you're around everyone and can make conversation.

Detecting the cliques

  1. Figure out who the "mean girls" or the "hot-headed jocks" are. These are the people that you might want to avoid for a while. Don't be mean to them and don't completely avoid them, because who knows, they may be nice people! Also stay away from the types that are in gangs and do criminal activities. You need to be yourself. Be strong. And don't try to please everyone around you if it doesn't please you.

Enjoying your new friendships

  1. Finally, meet up with your new friends outside of school once you get to know them. This is an important step in making true friends who you can rely on. Just be yourself and don't let anyone change that.


  • Quality over quantity. Don't automatically assume that the more friends you'll have, the happier you'll be. A few close friends can lead to richer relationships than a large but impersonal group.
  • Be approachable. Don't be afraid to start conversations with people you have sat next to in your classes.
  • Talk to a lot of different people so you get to know a mix of people from different groups and backgrounds.
  • Don't worry if you don't make friends on the first day! You still have 10 months to make friends—besides, it's better to take a bit of time to choose your friends.
  • Don't draw too much attention to yourself. It may backfire - you might embarrass yourself.
  • If you're naturally shy, try to seem open to others by keeping your head high and smiling. Don't stare at the floor when walking, look at the people around you. Greet others. Push your boundaries every day.
  • Don't get too cliquey with one person! Be friends with everyone till you get to know everyone a little better and then you can decide which to keep close.
  • Don't push into a group, gradually introduce yourself. Hopefully they'll let you in!
  • Try to find a common interests with the person you would like to be friends with.
  • After you are friends with someone, try to get to know their friends.
  • Don't be judgmental or rude to others, even if they are rude to you.
  • Be nice to people, even if you don't like them at first glance.
  • Your guidance counselors and teachers will be more than happy to introduce you to other students in your class.
  • If you aren't making many friends try sitting at different tables for lunch or join different sporting activities. Talk to as many people as possible to find out their interests and find common ground. Always be willing to try new things and live outside your comfort zone.
  • Don't be afraid, if you want to be someone's friend and that person doesn't want to, don't worry, that is a bad and hateful person. Search for another one, I'm sure you'll find it!
  • If you don't have the courage to ask someone to do something over the weekend, just go to a basketball or football game and hang out there. Then they'll know you're fun to hang out with and maybe even invite you to another event.
  • If you think that something you are going to say might even in the slightest way offend another person then don't even say it at all. Remember the golden rule, treat others how you would want to be treated!
  • If you're really having trouble or are feeling depressed, then get some help. A little bit of counseling can make you feel ten times better and can improve your self confidence and social skills.
  • If you forget someone's name, ask again and don't be anxious or afraid. After, ask for their last name too if you want. Don't ask for their middle name, it'll make you sound like a stalker.
  • Don't worry about it or feel like you need to try too hard. At most schools, the kids will be open to new students. Some may even feel a sense of responsibility to make the new kid feel welcome, especially those who know what it's like to change schools.
  • Don't listen to gossip or rumors about other people. Get to know them yourself and learn who they really are, not what others think of them.
  • Humor is golden. Tell jokes to others but don't look like you're trying too hard. Make sure your jokes are funny, but not mean and/or degrading to others. That's not the way you should make friends.
  • If someone is being bullied, stand up for them! It might help for others to know that you can be trusted, and they might stand up for you one day too!


  • Don't try too hard. This really falls under the category of changing yourself in order to seem more attractive to others. Don't fake interest, or cling on to people you want to be friends with. Be natural and friendly, but don't overdo it.
  • Don't show off a lot, because many people don't like boasters. Be a normal kid, and when you get a friend you can talk about your interests! If you happen to be an intelligent person who naturally participates in class, don't hinder yourself merely for the sake of others. Likewise, if you have talents in other areas, such as music or physical activities, by no means should you hold yourself back.
  • When you get a friend don't boss them around, because they would not like someone else telling them what to do.
  • When you get a friend, don't monopolize the conversation. If it is obvious that they would like to steer clear of a certain topic, then respect that!
  • Be careful, you don't want to make someone mad by going up and talking to them. If it looks like they are in a bad mood, it'd be a good idea to stay away! Even if you are the caring type that likes to help those on distress, people don't usually like perfect strangers asking them personal questions, sorry.
  • Keep your family and old friends close. Maybe even try to make some friends out of school so that you have someone to talk to.

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