How to make friends and keep them

People can have lots of different kinds of friendships. You may have one close friend or a few very close friends, and friends who are connected to you through specific activities or places (e.g. camp, school, sports teams or a job). You may have friends who you are very close to and who you spend a lot of time with or friends who you see only a few times a year. No matter what form your friendships take, they are an important part of life.

During adolescence, you’ll probably want to spend more and more time with your friends. The friendships you make during this time become very important for developing your sense of identity and self-confidence.

How To Make Friends

The hardest part of making friends is usually making initial contact. Generally, it’s easiest to meet people somewhere that you spend a lot of time – like at school or in your community.

School – because teenagers spend most of their time at school this is an excellent place to meet people.

Some places to meet people at school are:

  • In class
  •  In the cafeteria
  • Through extra-curricular activities like clubs or sports

Community – What are your interests? Do you enjoy sports, theatre, music, poetry, books, volunteering, or other things? Many of these things are offered in your community and lots of them are free. Check your local newspaper to see what’s going on in your community that you’re interested in.
The reason that these are good places to meet people is that the easiest way to meet people is through common interests.

It’s important to remember that friendships don’t always happen overnight. They take time. So what can you do after the initial “hello” to help build a friendship? Here are some ideas that may be helpful:

  • Talk about a common interest/assignment etc.
  • Ask the person to go for a walk, for lunch or for coffee
  • Share a piece of exciting news
  • Offer your help, or ask for help on something you are working on

How To Meet Friends Online

Some people meet friends on the Internet. While this can be a good place to chat with people, it’s not always a safe place to meet new people for friendships. There are many online safety concerns when chatting online. Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing who you are chatting with when you’re online. This is why it’s important not to give out any identifying information about yourself. This includes:

  • Your address
  • Your phone number
  • Your school
  • Your passwords

If someone you are chatting online is asking you for personal information, please tell an adult like a parent, teacher, or principal. Online data protection is important for your safety. Unfortunately, there are many online predators on the internet, be sure to take the necessary steps to protect yourself. If you are a parent, protect your kids from online predators.

Learn more about internet safety and internet protection.

How To Keep Friends

Once you’ve started a friendship, you’ll need to think about maintaining it. Relationships take work.

Even when a friendship is strong, it’s still important to check in every once in a while in order to not take the friendship for granted.

Some suggestions for keeping friendships strong include:

  • Keeping the lines of communication open
  • Trusting your friend and being trustworthy
  • Being honest
  • Trying to accept differences
  • Listening and sharing
  • Taking equal responsibility for the relationship
  • Respecting each other’s space
  • Spending time alone
  • Learning conflict resolution