How To Make Friends at School

Whether you’ve moved to a new school, have moved up from primary or have found yourself in a different class from all your mates, striking up a conversation with people you don’t know can be difficult. Don’t worry, lots of us struggle to talk to new people but meeting new people at school doesn’t have to be scary! Have a look at some of our ideas to help you start building new friendships at school.

Use Conversation Starters To Get Chatting

Conversation between two pupils. "Do you have a pen I could borrow?" "Sure. Here you go." "Thanks, what school did you go to?" "East High. What about you?"

If you’re just starting High School or someone new has started at your school, why not ask them what school they went to before?

Spend Time With Your Friend’s Friends

A pupil introducing another to a group of friends. "I'm meeting some boys I know from football in the canteen at lunchtime. You should come with me", Jack thinks to himself "I won't know anyone". "Hey guys, this is Jack." "Hi Jack", "Did you see the match last night Jack?" "We're playing in the park later, would you like to come?" "Sure, that would be great" says Jack

Hanging out with friends of friends can be a great way to meet new people. It's always less awkward if you have someone to introduce you and something to talk about.

Speak to Someone Who Is on Their Own

A pupil in the canteen thinks, "I don't know anyone, I don't know where to sit." They approach someone sitting alone, "Can I sit here?" "Yeah, sure." "It's so warm today" "I know! How come it's always sunny when we're back at school?"

Not only will you be helping someone else who might be in a similar situation to you, but it usually feels easier to approach one person instead of a large group.

Look for Common Interests

A pupil spots another's badge and thinks "I love that girl's One Direction badge".  "Your badge is great. I like One Direction too". "Thanks, who is your favourite member?"

Having something in common with someone won't automatically make you best friends, but people tend to open up about things they're passionate about.

Be Approachable

Pupil standing in class looking at boy sitting alone with headphones in and a girl waving at them. They think, "Where should I sit?" "Oh I don't want to disturb him, I'll sit with that girl instead". The boy with headphones thinks "I wish someone would sit next to me" while the other two strike up a conversation.

It's far easier to approach someone who looks like they want to talk to you. Barriers such as wearing earphones and negative body language might put people off.

Ask Open Questions

Open questions are questions that can have a number of responses, whereas closed questions are questions which are limited to a few set answers. When chatting to people try to use open questions to encourage discussion and if you get asked a question try to respond in a way that suggests you're happy to continue a conversation.

Pupils chatting to each other in two different scenario's. In the first conversation, one asks "Did you have a good summer?" and the other responds "Yeah" which is the end of the conversation. In the other, they ask "How was your summer?" which starts a more open conversation between them.