When you start high school you might be feeling both excited and nervous — everything is new and different. Thoughts of having to make new friends might be one of the things that trigger the excited or nervous feelings. But you're not alone. Remember you are going to school with a group of students your own age, who are all new as well.
Friendships are important for your social and emotional wellbeing and development. Having good friends helps you to be more confident and happy, and can help you perform better at school. Good friendships require give and take and your friendships may change as you get older.
Making new friends at high school
Making new friends can be daunting but it can also be really rewarding. Here are some tips to make new friends and have as much fun in high school as you did in your primary school.
Take a deep breath and find your voice. Smile, and ask someone their name, if they've seen a new movie or if they like a sport or activity. Sit in the middle of the classroom and surround yourself with as many new friends as possible.
Try and make friends with more than one circle of friends. Don't change who you are to fit in or please other people. Many people can tell if you aren't being genuine — don't try too hard to fit in. There isn't another person like you, so remember that and embrace your uniqueness.
Don't be afraid to approach people, introduce yourself and start a conversation about something you have in common. Ask a question or even give a compliment or two. Don't forget to remember peoples names, and be a good listener.
By joining an after school or lunchtime activity you like, you meet a whole group of people who will have at least one thing in common with you! Smile, join in and introduce yourself.
Enjoy your new friends
Do something small but nice for them, like save a seat or congratulate them on an achievement. If you can, try and meet up with your friends outside of school and really get to know them. Just remember to always be yourself.
Be a good friend
Being a good friend is about trusting someone and being able to be trusted in return. It's about give and take — seeing another person's point of view or taking their feelings into account are just some of the things that can make friendships even stronger.
Resolving conflicts and ending friendships
All people will go through tough times and sometimes friendships can break down. If you find yourself needing to mend those conflicts, here are some positive steps that can help you:
- start conversations, agreeing to take turns and being fair
- sharing and asking for what you or your friend want or need
- expressing feelings and apologising to others
- asking questions, listening to and accepting others
- cooperating and negotiating
- being respectful
- refusing to join others' negative behaviours.
Sometimes, a friendship will end because you grow apart, have new interests, or you cannot resolve an issue together. There can be pain and grief involved in friendship separations, so its important to handle the situation with care and be kind to yourself and the other person. Don't hesitate to seek support if you need.
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