Not everyone finds meeting new people and making new friends easy, for some it can be a difficult and nerve-wracking experience. However, meeting new people can be really interesting; you can end up having great conversations, discovering new stuff and making good friends.
Ways to meet people
You might feel nervous or anxious at first, it’s normal to overthink about how you should act, what you should say and how people will think you, everyone feels like this at times.
However, it’s important to talk to somebody you trust if you feel like your feelings are affecting your ability to meet new people and make new friends.
Here are some tips for meeting new people:
- You can join an after school club.
- Visit your local youth centre.
- Sign up for a programme like the National Citizens Service or Duke of Edinburgh.
- Accept invitations when people ask you to do things – you never know who else might be there.
- Go to parties where you meet new people.
- Volunteer (check out your local charities or community events).
Meeting people online
The internet keeps us all connected and is a great place to interact and meet new people. This can be via social media, forums, online gaming, apps and more.
There are many ways to forge new friendships online but it’s important to know how to stay safe when using the internet.
- It can be very difficult to know exactly who you are talking to online, although someone may say they are a certain age, they could be lying.
- Always use privacy settings on social media websites to keep your content private.
- Only accept friend requests and invites from people that you know.
- Never give out personal details, such as your home address, phone number, school, university or workplace to anybody you don’t know online (or list them on your profile if they can be seen by people you don’t know).
- Never arrange to meet anyone you’ve befriended online unless someone goes with you and you meet in a public place. People you contact online are not always who they seem.
- If you’re being bullied online, tell someone you trust about it.
Some helpful tips for dealing with nerves
- When you’re nervous, it’s easy to get tongue-tied or say things you think sound stupid. Building your self-esteem and going easy on yourself can often calm your nerves.
- If you’re at an event with lots of new people, find the people you already know first to relax a bit before meeting others.
- If you don’t know anyone and are feeling a bit nervous, chat with a friend on the phone to feel a bit more comfortable.
Smile and make eye contact
You’re more likely to be friendly to someone who smiles at you, so try it yourself.
Opening yourself up to people can make them feel more comfortable and more likely to be friendly in response.
- It’s a good idea to ask the other person something about themselves to start things off. Try not to get too personal.
- The first time you meet it’s a good idea to stay clear of talking about religion, sex, politics or death.
- You could start by asking where they go to school/college, or if you’re at a party, ask someone how they know the person throwing the party.
- From this starting point, you can find more things to talk about. Listen to their answers and ask follow up questions. This lets people know you’re interested in what they’re saying.
It’s always impressive if you can remember someone’s name after meeting them for the first time, and helpful if you need to make introductions.
Tips on remembering names include:
- repeating the name immediately when you meet someone, and trying to use it as much as possible in conversation
- writing it down or save it on your phone (when you get a discreet chance)
- thinking of a famous person who has the same name
If you forget someone’s name, don’t panic.
Just be honest, admit you’re not great at remembering names, and ask them to repeat it for you again.
When you come across as relaxed and confident, it’s likely the person you’re meeting will also feel more relaxed.