Have you ever had a hard time making friends? Because I have.
When I was eight, I was the girl in my dance class who had no one to talk to. At ten, I was the weird girl in church who actually followed all the rules and didn’t know the famous pop artists. But things began to change. As I went to a new co-op, church, and started new activities, I met girls who reached out to me. It still touches me when one of my friends sees me sitting alone and practically forces me to sit with her, or when someone texts first.
Still, I felt lonely, and this is where the surprise came in. Last year, a girl from my church invited me over and we had a great time. However, later on, I ended up feeling third-wheeled by her and another girl. I barely even engaged in conversation with her for months, thinking she didn’t like me. But in December, our moms talked. Turns out she thought that I didn’t like her so she didn’t feel comfortable talking to me, all the while I didn’t feel comfortable talking to her because I thought she didn’t like me.
A few weeks ago she stayed two nights and we had a great time.
Just to be clear, I’m not posting this as a form of self-pity or to get attention. I’m talking about this because I know there are other girls in the same situation as I was, and I genuinely want to help them. So, here are three tips I’ve learned to help make and keep friendships:
1. Get Out of Your Own Head
That situation caused me to find out what I was missing when it came to making friendships and keeping them, thanks to my mom pushing me to just go to talk her. I just decided I was lesser-than, and because of that, I was missing out on an important aspect of life.
Don’t assume that people don’t want to talk to you. And while some people probably actually don’t, I’ve found that most people don’t look at you as negatively as you look at yourself. Head’s up: no one is going to care about your pimples and nobody remembers that one time you embarrassed yourself two years ago (and if they do, they probably don’t care).
Don’t be proud; be humble, but at the same time, don’t be negative. You’re making it worse for everyone.
2. Find Friends
Okay, that sounds pretty cheesy, but really, look for people you want to be friends with. Especially keep an eye out for other girls who seem lonely. Chances are, they’re not being seclusive; they’re as lonely as you (from an extrovert’s point of view).
Aside from that, look for girls who are kind, can encourage you in your faith, be a good influence, and are generally fun to be around.
3. Don’t be Afraid to Engage First
Don’t be afraid to be social! It’s okay to text first and start conversations. Don’t think too much about it. The more time you have to worry, the more you worry.
A couple summers ago, I read part of the book Growing Up Duggar and one piece of advice stood out to me: people like to talk about themselves. Ask questions about them and actually listen with interest and you’re at the start of a good relationship.
Again, we tend to overthink things, but it’s never as bad as you think.
In short, one major thing that could be holding you back from making friends is yourself. Don’t be afraid to just go and be friendly.
What about you? Do you ever have problems making friends? Have you ever been in a similar scenario? What’s one time you took a chance and it paid off?