Making Friends

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I think we could agree that all girls want to have friends. Some have a hard time making friends but for others it's easy.

Some of the best advice my daughter got from a family friend when she started a new school was this- YOU decide who your friends are going to be.

Don't rush. Wait and see how people are, then choose friends who are good. You don't have to be friends with whoever "picks you" first. You want to choose friends with good qualities, and you can't know that right away. Take your time. It's okay if you sit alone the first day at lunch. Or if you change tables the second day. You're you, and you're deciding what you want.

Starting a new school (or a new club or lesson) is a scary thing for anyone. Helping your daughter realize that everyone feels scared is key, that it's normal. In uncomfortable new situations, look for someone who looks nice, or someone else who is alone, and ask them a question. "Hey are you new too?" "Do you know where the lunchroom is?" "Do you have anyone to sit with?" "First days are brutal, can I sit with you?"

If your daughter is wanting to make some new friends but is shy, have her role play with you how to get to know someone. Help her think up some topics or questions to ask the friend. Complimenting someone is always nice. Offer help. Ask their opinion. Ask if they've seen a certain movie.

Sometimes shy girls are mistaken for stuck up if they never talk to anyone. Reminding her to smile occasionally or reach out with a simple conversation is often all it takes.

If her attempt is not met well by the hoped for friend, remind her that that person may not be the friend she was looking for, and to try again with someone else. But to be patient. It's better to wait for a good friend than to hurry up and end up in a crowd of not so nice girls, just because you were desperate to fit in somewhere.

If your daughter is not the new one, remind her to watch for those who are and to help them feel welcome and to fit in. To be the one who goes out of your way to be nice and helpful to a new person.

Often, not by malice, girls just live in their own world, doing their thing, and don't think to reach out to someone who may not fit in or know people. Teach your daughter empathy, thinking beyond themselves, to see those around them.

She may just meet a new friend in the process!

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