Tips & Info
Tips & Info

Making Great Friendships

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Making friends…

The beginning of a new year can be an exciting time. Maybe you are:

  • Starting a new school
  • Moving to a new class
  • Starting a new sport or activity

Some kids find doing new things easy, while other kids worry about how things will go, especially when it comes to making new friends.

What is friendship?

A friend is someone you:

  • Like to spend time with
  • Have fun with
  • Feel safe with

Having friends around can make even boring activities more exciting! What are the things you look for in a friend? Are you the kind of person that likes to be friends with lots and lots of people? Or are you someone who likes to have just a few close friends?

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Choosing friends…

Before you make new friends the first thing to do is to decide who you would like to be friends with! Most people enjoy having friends who like to do the same kinds of things that they do. That doesn’t mean you have to be exactly like each other, just that some of your interests are the same.

Like if you really enjoy playing ball games at lunch time, you will probably want to have friends who enjoy doing that too, so you can play together. Think about the things you like to do and talk about them with the kids in your class. Chances are you will soon find someone who likes to do those things too.

The quickest way to make friends is to smile!

When you smile, other kids feel like you are friendly and easy to talk to. Don’t forget that they might be feeling nervous about making friends too, so when you smile it helps them to feel more comfortable.

Want to start a conversation with someone?  Say something nice about them.

A great way to start a conversation with someone is to say something nice about them.  You could comment on how fast they can run, or how nice their hair is, it doesn’t really matter what! Think about how it makes you feel when someone says something nice to you – doesn’t it make you want to keep talking to them?

Be interested 

Asking questions is a great way to get to know someone, and also to let them know that you are interested in them. You could ask stuff like:

  • What is their favourite TV show?
  • How many brothers and sisters do they have?
  • What sport do they play?

Can you think of any other questions you could ask?

Give it a go…

Some kids feel a bit shy and find it difficult to just walk up to other kids and start talking. What’s it like for you? Is it easy to chat to people or do you find it hard?

If you find it a bit hard, perhaps you could try asking questions when you are waiting in line to go into class, or maybe if you are sitting eating your lunch next to someone. Can you think of any other places that might make it easier to start a conversation?

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Be a friend…

Even if you are new at your school or in your class and you don’t really know anybody, you can still act like a friend! By showing an interest in what other kids are doing, and by being kind and friendly you are being the sort of person that other kids will want to hang out with, and it probably won’t be long until you have friends of your own.

“Hey, want to hang out at my place?”

A great way to build friendships AT school is to do things with kids OUT of school! Inviting someone to your house to play is a great way to make your friendship closer. Often having just one friend at a time over to play is easiest, especially when you are just starting out with new friends.

Do you think that this is something you would be allowed to do? Who would you ask to find out? And can you think who you would like to invite home to play?

Don’t give up…

Even if you aren’t lucky at first, it’s important to keep trying. It may be that the kids you are trying to make friends with are just shy (in which case you may have to be a bit patient) or it may be that you need to find a different group of kids to get friendly with.

We talk with lots of people about making friends. Here are some of the things that kids have told us about what makes a good friend:

  • Having fun together
  • Respecting differences
  • Feeling safe to talk
  • Offering help or encouragement
  • Sharing
  • Figuring out how to sort out problems
Talking about what's happening can really help.


This topic was reviewed in October 2014.

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