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10 Ways to Meet New People – A Message for Teens

How to meet new people and feel confident.

 Hongqi Zhang/Depositphotos
Source: Hongqi Zhang/Depositphotos

It's not easy moving to a new town, especially when you don’t know anyone. As awkward as it may seem, the only way you're going to get to know others is by taking chances and meeting people. Even if you are nervous, look and play the part of being confident. Wearing the mask of confidence can go a long way in helping you step outside of your comfort zone and making new friends. To meet new people, you may even have to "fake it till you make it,” but you can do it—you just have to believe in yourself.

When it comes to communication, few of us have a natural knack, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn to be effective in expressing ourselves with others. If you're an introvert, meeting people will take more work and time because you will need to step outside your box and put on an extrovert mask. While this can feel uncomfortable and draining at first, the more you play the outgoing part the easier it will become. Think of it like this: When you get a new pair of shoes, it takes a little time to break them in so they become comfortable. The same is true conforming to a new environment. It's going to take time to relax, adjust and get comfortable.

Below are 10 things to help you break out of your shell and meet new people. Just remember that new situations take time, work, and patience.

  1. Challenge yourself to start a conversation with two new people a day for one week. Sure, it may seem weird at first, but the more you do it the more natural it will become. If you can’t think of things on the spot to talk about, then think about some questions to ask beforehand. Feeling prepared will help you keep your nerves calm, plus you'll appear more confident and poised. You can even practice what you'd say by having pretend conversations in front of a mirror. With some practice, those awkward conversations will begin to become second nature. Once you've mastered how to initiate a conversation, you’ve tackled the most difficult part of meeting someone new.
  2. Begin your conversation by introducing yourself and asking a question. Ask questions like “What do you do for fun around here?” or “What kind of music do you listen to?” Just be careful not to bombard your new acquaintance with too many questions, as that can be annoying and counterproductive.
  3. Be patient. Ask a question and listen to the response. For the most part, people love to talk about themselves and they love a captive audience. So, if you show interest in what they are saying, you’ve already earned brownie points. Not to mention, you will find out whether you have things in common with them and if you want to invest more time in establishing a friendship.
  4. Greet your new acquaintances each time you see them. Smile and say “hi” or have a friendly exchange as you are walking alongside them. Relationships, especially new ones, need a lot of encouragement and nourishment. Once you establish a connection, you will want to keep it alive and well by spending some time with your new-found friend.
  5.  Dinis Tolipov/Depositphotos
    Source: Dinis Tolipov/Depositphotos

    Develop inner strength. If steps 1-4 seem impossible, then you may need to build some inner strength. This inner strength comes in the form of self-empowerment. Self-empowerment is having the ability to do what is best for you. It means believing in yourself and having confidence. Remember to be yourself. When you feel good about who you are, you can accomplish the unimaginable.

  6. Build yourself up with affirmations. An affirmation is a declaration of what you know to be true. It’s a positive statement that reflects how you want to think about yourself, a situation, or a desired outcome. For example, tell yourself “I am likable,” “I will make a lot of friends,” and, “I am fun to be around.” Write down some of your own affirmations and practice them on a regular basis until you believe and showcase what you tell yourself.
  7. Let time be your friend. Don't feel rushed to jump into friendships, just because you want to establish some form of normalcy. If you take time and invest in quality friendships, it will pay off in the end.
  8. Hold your head high. Some days are going to be better than others, so be sure to cut yourself some slack. One day you may not click with the people you meet, but the next day you may like everyone you speak with. On the flip side, you may meet people you think you like, but later find out they aren't "all that" and you don’t have a thing in common. Meeting new people isn't a race; it's a journey.
  9. Get involved. One of the best places to meet people is through extracurricular activities, whether it's a sport, club, or youth group function. Find an activity that you enjoy and you’ll already have something in common with the people who go there.
  10. Take time to celebrate your victories. Don't brush off the time and investment you are putting into meeting new people. Pat yourself on the back for all of your hard work. You deserve it.
 Dinis Tolipov/Depositphotos
Source: Dinis Tolipov/Depositphotos

Relationships take a lot of nurturing, time, work, and commitment. Think of relationships like planting a seed. When you plant a flower seed, it's not going to sprout and grow overnight—and neither is a friendship. Just as a flower needs attention, nutrients, and care to flourish, so do relationships. Your goal is to sow as many seeds as possible and watch to see what takes root. Who knows, you may end up with one amazing friendship garden.

Once people get to know you, you'll start to form connections. And guess what connections lead to? Friendships.

More from Raychelle Cassada Lohmann Ph.D.
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More from Raychelle Cassada Lohmann Ph.D.
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