ICE 4 Life

Friendships

Friendships are an integral part of life. After all, where would we be without our wonderful friends who keep us laughing, listen to our sob stories, cheer us up when we are down, share our interests, spend time with us and so on.
But how do we make positive, healthy friendships? especially if you are shy and not forthcoming with starting conversations. Here is a guide to choosing and making new friends.


Choosing Friends

Before you make new friends, you might like to think about who you want to be your friends. Most people like to have friends who like the same kinds of things they do. But that doesn't mean they have to be exactly like you, as it is great to have differences. If you're really into sports, you might want friends who enjoy playing the same sports you do. And if you like computers, you might enjoy the company of other friends into the same kind of computer programs.

Think about what you enjoy doing and try chatting with others in your class about what you enjoy. You are bound to find at least one person who likes the same things as you. This is a starting point. Of course… an easier way is to join a club of your interest. Most schools have clubs at lunch and after school and this is one of the places you may find new friends with the same interests as you.

 

Making Friends

The fastest way to make a friend is to smile. The first thing people notice about another person is their smile. It tells them that you are friendly and easy to talk with. This may not be easy for you at first to smile. But, you can practice in the mirror. Look at yourself and smile. And then pull a frowning face. Ask yourself… Which one of these faces would attract a friend. Remember that all people have feelings and most people will avoid a scared, snarling or angry looking face.
Once you have mastered the smile the next thing to try is to start a conversation with someone. One of the easiest things to do is to say something nice about the other person. For example, you could compliment them on something they do well, or something nice they are wearing. Think how great you feel when someone says something nice to you.

All people like to know that they are liked, admired and respected. It is a known fact. We all like to feel (((( GOOD ))))!
Ask a perspective new friend questions about themselves. Who's their favourite band, what do they do after school, what’s their favourite film? Have they seen the latest film at the cinema? These are all good questions to start a conversation. It's a good way to get to know what they're like and whether you want them as a friend. More importantly it is a way of letting them know that you are interested in them.

When there are a group of people chatting, try to add something to the conversation. When someone asks you a question, try and have an answer for them. If you don't know who your favourite band is, or what you like doing, have a little think about it beforehand. Sit down one evening and think about what you like doing, what you are like as a person etc… If you don’t know about yourself, how can you possibly share something of yourself with another person. There's nothing that will stop a conversation quicker than a shrug for an answer.
If someone pays you a compliment and you are not very confident all you need to remember to do is say ‘Thank you’ and smile. There is nothing worse than giving someone a compliment and they shrug or grunt. It is the quickest way to stop further conversation.

There is a lovely saying. ‘If you want a friend - be a friend’. If you show an interest in others and are a kind and friendly person, you will make friends easily. Remember, everyone wants to be around people who are nice to them and make them feel happy and good about themselves.

Okay – So now you have chosen who you want to be your friend, you have started a conversation and all seems to be going well. You might want to consider what to do with them next… where do you go?

Inviting a friend over to your house after school is a great way to strengthen your friendship. If you and your friend like to play a certain console game you could get together after school and play for a couple of hours, invite them to stay for tea. Make sure that whatever you choose to do it is something you can do together. There is no point inviting your new friend round only for them to sit and watch you play a one-player game.


Other things you can try:

Arrange to go to the cinema to see the latest film
Play a 2-player game on the computer
Go for a walk together
If one of you has a dog, take the dog for a walk
Go to the local play park
Arrange to meet in the town at the weekend
Go swimming together
Go for a bike-ride together

... anything you can think of?


People of all ages want to fit in with the group they're hanging about with. Some ways in which they try to fit in is to wear the same brands of clothes, have the same mobile phone, like the same types of music, wear the same types of clothing… That's okay as long as it doesn’t turn into a competition to ‘keep up with the Jones’s’. Everyone wants to fit in, but it's better than you develop your own personal style that you can wear with confidence.


Look At Yourself in the mirror – You are wonderful


Stand in front of the mirror and really look at yourself. This can be hard to do, but try - it's important. That's YOU that you're looking at and it's going to be with you for a long time, so it helps if you accept yourself, like yourself, love who you are and are comfortable with yourself. Learning to like yourself is the starting point for accepting and believing that other people can like you. If you don’t like yourself how can you believe that others like you? See ‘affirmations’ for some tips on increasing your self-esteem.


Hygiene/Manners

Okay, so we have done the making friends, inviting them over, spending time with them… we have learned to like and accept ourselves but we forgot some other important stuff. It’s a simple fact is that if you smell bad and have not brushed your teeth, others will notice this. It may be that other people don’t want to be around you. No-one likes ‘the smelly kid.’ Taking a bath, shower or wash every day, and brushing your teeth twice a day makes a big difference to your hygiene.

Good luck and happy friendships ...