Friday, 20 April 2012

Top 5 Tips for Making Friends


If there's one complaint about homeschooling that I hear more than any other, it is that homeschool students get less socialization than students at public schools. At rock bottom, that analysis is spot on--someone who is educated at home has a great chance of meeting fewer people during the school day than someone who is plunged into a morass of hundreds of peers for 6.7 hours 5 days a week. 


What it comes down to is that if you're homeschooled then you have to work a little harder to make friends. 
Three of my most precious friends! This photo was taken
at my cousin's (on the far left) wedding.
This is something I've definitely struggled with. I live out in the country on the outskirts of a small town (think less than 700 people), my parents are not social butterflies, we attend a tiny church, and I'm not part of a regular homeschool group. 


You can see why my circle of friends might be small.


However--and this is a big however--unless your parents have locked you in your bedroom with nothing but textbooks and a violin, you have no excuse for not having friends. If I can do it, anyone can!


Now this doesn't mean that you have to have at least three hundred people you're not related to called "friends" (check out Proverbs 18:24). At one time I was in a little theater production, working with strangers several days a week, and I realized that I didn't really want to be friends with all of them. I "clicked" with a few, however, and we still keep in touch. Sometimes a deep, small circle is better than a great big shallow one, but, you don't necessarily have to have one or the other. Here are my top 5 tips for anyone who wants to make some new friends:

  1. Pray. Several years ago I was a little girl with only two or three people I could call friends--and one lived in California. I distinctly remember praying with all my heart that God would send a friend to me, a kindred spirit to laugh and grow up with. And you know what? A couple of months later I was blessed with that lovely lady second from the left in the photo above. What a gift!
  2. Expose yourself. You'll never make friends if you never meet anyone. When doing a little research online I discovered one homeschool girl who makes friends at fencing practice, soccer practice, poetry club, drama club, chess club, art classes, kayaking, music classes, dances at the community center, conventions, camps, events at the library, volunteering, and more! There are so many opportunities to get out there and see a few new faces.
  3. Be friendly. This might sound a bit obvious, but if you're naturally shy and reserved like me, you know how hard it can be to interact with strangers. However, I know that if I don't act welcoming, put people at ease, and--perhaps most importantly--share some of myself, I'm never going to get anywhere with a stranger. For you more outgoing types, be sure not to be overwhelming! Always treat others as you'd like to be treated :)
  4. Follow up. If you need a reason to be on Facebook, this is probably it. As soon as you get home from chess club, connect with that nice redheaded girl and invite her to join you in a fun activity (ice skating, anyone?). Of course you don't have to have Facebook to do this, a telephone, email, or gasp face-to-face contact will suffice. You can't expect a stranger to remember you just because of your great personality, so make an effort and keep reaching out.
  5. Don't give up. Maybe you've tried to start up conversations or correspondence with strangers, but it simply goes nowhere. Perhaps you have a lot of shallow relationships, but no one you feel you really know and trust. Don't throw in the towel yet! It may take years to foster an acquaintance into a bosom buddy, but keep praying, keep seeking, and keep being a friend to everyone you meet. The Lord Jesus is the dearest friend you will ever know, so follow him and see if he doesn't bring more friends to walk beside you! 


2 comments:

  1. Lovley post Abigail! Thank you so much for all the wonderful tips. Keep up the good work.

    Blessings,
    Leah Nicolette

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Leah! I really appreciate it :)

      Delete

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