Author: August Clarke
Are you finding yourself alone on Saturday nights? Uncomfortable in a new environment of unfamiliar faces? Or simply looking for some new company to liven up your week?
While making new friends and expanding your social circle is – mentally and emotionally – one of the most rewarding things a person can do, it can be intimidating to go about doing so! Everyone needs a solid support system – a group of people you trust and whose company you enjoy – but sometimes taking the first step in forming a new relationship with someone seems just plain impossible, especially when everyone seems to already have defined friend groups. That being said, the true barrier to making new friends is often psychological, and there are ways to get around it.
You may be wondering . . .
How do I approach asking someone to hang out?
Reaching out to someone you’ve been talking to for awhile but have never quite taken the next step in asking them to hang out can be scary! The possibility of rejection is a difficult obstacle to push past, but it’s important to remember that – despite how awkward or embarrassed you may feel – the other person will most likely be flattered that you were thinking of them! Odds are, if you enjoy their company, they enjoy yours, too and will be happy that you made the first move.
Sometimes we don’t know our peers all that well until we start spending more time with them outside of school. If you are a shy person or are concerned you will run into some awkward silences, you can try inviting them to something that doesn’t require as much talking – like a movie or concert – first. These types of events act as a great icebreaker. After, it will be easier to invite them to other things.
If you are a shy person or are concerned you will run into some awkward silences, you can try inviting them to something that doesn’t require as much talking – like a movie or concert – first.
Still intimidated? Group settings are usually easier! Inviting one of your latest acquaintances to a party or another event where there will be other people present takes a lot of the pressure off you to hold a continuous conversation. As you get to know your friend better, it will be easier to invite them to one-on-one activities but until then, group settings are a less daunting option to consider.
Why is it a good idea to expand my friend group?
You may already have a solid group of people that you think are cool and have similar interests to you – and that’s great! But it is important to remember that no person is two-dimensional. We all have different interests, hobbies, skills. As you move through each stage of your life, you will likely notice some of your values and hobbies shifting and expanding. Different people bring out different sides of us – it’s good to have friends for different aspects of your life!
Having a diverse circle of friends you can turn to for different things keeps you are well-rounded and, at the very least, ensures you are never bored.
On top of that, people are busy! It is always a good idea to have a decent-sized pool of people you can call up when you’re looking to get together. This doesn’t mean you have to be best friends with everyone, but expanding your social circle to include a few more people can’t be a bad thing.
Where can I meet people?
Some good places to look for new friends are in your various classes, clubs, sports teams, at your church, or at work (to name a few). One of the best ways to meet new people is through your current friends! Many of the friends I have made in the past few years were introduced to me by people I already hang out with. Merging your individual “squads” is a great way for you and your friends to expand your social circle. And, odds are, if you already are mutual friends with someone, it is likely you will have a lot in common already!
My personal experience with moving through Junior High and then onto High School is that, as people mature, everyone gets a little less concerned with sticking to their long-defined cliques and are significantly more open-minded when it comes to socializing with new people.
It’s okay to branch out! There are bound to be countless people out there who are looking for someone new to hang out with, just like you.