Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7)
Have you asked the Lord for His help in making new friends? If you’re anything like me, you’re a ball of nerves when school starts. Making friends on the first day sometimes seemed impossible for me, and it took a while to get used to introducing myself and getting to know other teens. Honestly, my favorite part of the summer ending was shopping and overpacking my backpack with enough school supplies to last the entire year (I still overprepare). Some of my least favorite things were wondering if I’d get lost trying to find my class and who I would sit next to during lunch.
I moved around a lot, so being the new girl was something I learned to handle pretty well. Once I got into my teens, my family settled down more, so I also came to know the excitement and anticipation of seeing your friends again and going over class schedules to see if you’d be in science class with your BFF.
Whether you’re the new kid in middle school, you’re going back to the same school you’ve attended your entire life or you’re starting college, I have some valuable tips to make sure your first day of school helps to set up your friendships for the rest of the year.
- If you know the campus like the back of your hand, show compassion to other students who look lost or may be sitting alone before the morning bell rings. You can start off by complimenting her outfit and lead into asking how her day is going. I’ve been on the other side of this, and extending friendship to a classmate who doesn’t know anyone is like handing a life jacket to a person who is drowning. I’m sure you’d want the same done to you.
And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. (Luke 6:31)
- Keep an eye out for other students who have interests and personalities similar to yours. For instance, you may have the same leopard-print cross-body bag as the girl sitting next to you. You may love numbers more than you like people, so survey your math classroom for anyone else who might seem just as excited as you are to get their textbook. Take initiative to invite her to sit with you at lunch so that you can get to know her better. You may find there are even more things you have in common.
- Let’s face it—it’s considered cool and funny to be the class clown or the rowdy girl in class who gets tons of attention. However, school is a place to learn. Choose friends who have great values, and don’t get caught up in joining a popularity contest. Unless my teacher assigned seats, I would purposely sit in the front row, free from distractions. Most like-minded students will do the same, so feel free to start conversations with them before instruction starts or just after it ends.
Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. (Proverbs 13:20)
- Make sure you are still open to God’s will and not too distracted or nervous that you are blocking out His voice. The Holy Spirit can move you to approach someone out of the blue. You might find your new best friend is the girl you are washing your hands next to in the restroom after lunch. Or someone waiting at the same bus stop as you. These are great moments to engage because you’ll most likely have more time to talk.
Do you have any other advice to add about making meaningful friendships starting on the first day of school? For those of you who already started school, did you make any great friends yet?