How to Make Friends and Prevent Bullying

Tips for bullied teens that feel they don’t have any friends


Friendships are important. Not only do friends provide you with someone to hang out with, laugh with and do things with, but they also can challenge you to become a better person. Friends also are good sounding boards when you face challenges in life and need someone to bounce ideas off of. Friends even add a protective factor when it comes to bullying.

In fact, bullies and mean girls are less likely to target people when they are with friends.

Additionally, friends can provide a sense of support and care if bullying does occur. So if you are feeling short on friends this year, take some steps to meet new people. Healthy friendships can go a long way in improving your overall wellbeing and quality of life. And they can take the sting out of bullying. Here are seven ways to make new friends.

Make a list of possible friends. Think about people you know from school, church, work and other outside activities. Are there any people in those groups that you would like to get to know better? You also can list people that you knew when you were younger but have drifted apart from as you have grown up. The goal is to create a list of possible friends to draw from when you want to go see a movie or try a new activity.

Meet new people. Sometimes it is a nice change of pace to meet new people. They don’t know all the old stereotypes and nicknames.

So you can start fresh. Plus, you meet people while doing something you enjoy. When this happens, you already have something in common with them. Once you are in a situation with prospective friends, start conversations and try to get to know them. Don’t assume you will make an instant connection with everyone, but instead view it as a place to start.

Get contact information. If you meet someone at a party, at camp or at a sporting event, ask for her contact information such as cell phone or e-mail. And if you are not comfortable doing that, connect on social media. Check out Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and other avenues. The point is to establish a way to connect with potential friends.

Invite people to do things. The biggest mistake people make is waiting on others to call or invite them to do something. If you want to make friends you have to be willing to take risks and reach out to others. Text them to say hi or to check in and see what they are doing. And most importantly invite them to do something. If there is a new movie coming out, ask them if they want to go. Or, invite a potential friend to go shopping, grab coffee or go to a sporting event. Remember, you have to start somewhere to make a friend. So take the initiative and see if the person has the type of qualities you are looking for in a friendship.

Build on the foundation of budding friendships.

In order for two people to become closer friends, they need to keep in touch and hang out fairly often. So when you find someone you connect with, make the effort. Send a text to see what they are doing. Invite them to hang out. The thing to remember is that building friendships takes time and effort. And if you are not willing to put in the time or the effort, you won’t reap the benefits of a close friendship.

Accept invitations to do things. Too many times, opportunities to make friends are missed because people turn down invitations to do things. While it is perfectly acceptable to decline an invitation to a party that you don’t want to attend, you do need to balance saying no with saying yes. If you say no all the time, eventually the person doing the inviting will stop asking because they just assume that you say no.

Be patient. Remember, making friends does not happen overnight. And not every person you meet will be compatible with you. The important thing is that you keep putting yourself out there. If you make the effort, you will eventually find a few friends you can count on.

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