School is starting soon. It’s not so much a reminder as it is an inevitable fact. Like all good things, summer must draw to a close, and we must return to the daily grind. I recently was talking to an adult friend of mine who missed the summer days, where he could just sleep in and not have a care in the world. Summer is a time that very few people can cherish after graduating from school. However, on the other end of the spectrum, some of my friends were so bored out of their mind this summer that they can’t wait for school to start. Not everyone enjoys vegetating for 2 months.
While we all know what homework is like, albeit reluctant towards resuming the responsibility of doing it, making friends is a whole another story. Sure, we’ll catch up with the friends we haven’t kept in contact with during the summer, but starting new friendships with people you’ve seen but never truly met is no easy task. It take a lot of courage to just walk up to what essentially amounts to a stranger and ask them how their summer went. In fact, ask in the wrong fashion, and you may seem condescending and unlikable. But making new friends shouldn’t be that hard, should it?
The easiest friends to make are the friends of your friends. Your friend can easily break the ice with an introduction, and your quickly underway to making your first new friend of the school year. Find something you’re both interested in. Many people play, or at least are familiar with MOBA’s, with League of Legends heading the pack. Gaming aside, you could talk about favorite movies, books, even food could be an interesting topic. If you can talk about a shared interest, acquaintances will become friends in no time.
However, making friends with people who you have no connections with is a fair bit more difficult. Making friends is all about confidence, and a lot of issues stem from not having enough confidence. Thoughts of rejection, not actual rejection, are probably the biggest roadblocks to making friends. While thoughts like “What if they don’t like me?” are commonplace and understandable, they are taking up valuable space where you can show the best parts of you. Take the initiative, and try to reach out to new people. If you come off as confident, people tend to view you in a more favorable light. It’s a lot easier to be timid, but, like the saying goes, you get what you put in. But don’t go sprinting off the to side of overconfidence either. Arrogance ruins many a working relationship. Try to find just the right amount of confidence.
Where’s just the right amount? The phrase sounds incredibly vague, and to be honest, I still don’t know. Confidence is crucial to building friendships. It heightens your charisma and makes people want to be around you. But as stated above, when you overstep the boundaries of healthy confidence, it quickly begins to be more detrimental than beneficial. Confidence must be tempered by humbleness. It sounds cliche, but the best way to find out the confidence level where you come off as the most likable is to just be you.
And that addresses the final point I want to make. Don’t be fake. Plastering a smile on your face when you secretly cannot stand what you’re doing should only be reserved for politicians. If you want to be friends with someone, don’t pretend to make them like you. Laughing at all their jokes and pandering to their every need is one way to become “friends,” but those people are far from friends. Build a foundation on top of trust, not deceit.
When a new school year rolls around, most people just settle into the same patterns from the previous year. But living an interesting life means meeting new people, making new friends, learning about parts of the school you haven’t heard of before. My school has a few thousand kids. And each of them has a story. They more than likely all don’t want to study pre-med or business. Getting to know more people may change your perspective on the future. And with college just around the corner, I know I want to explore the options.