Just like baking cookies or playing soccer, making friends is a skill. And the more you practice, the easier it gets. Check out these tips on making and keeping friends.
MEETING NEW FRIENDS
School, the playground, the library, and even the local toy store are great places to meet new friends. But it can feel weird to start up a conversation with someone you've never met before. Ask a parent or a sibling to pretend they're a new potential friend so that you can practice starting a conversation. Here are some ideas of things you could say.
• "I like your shoes."
• "That's a great book."
• "Have you seen (insert movie or TV show here)?"
• "Did you see that dog over there? He's hilarious."
Don't just practice asking one question—practice an entire conversation, thinking about how you'll keep the chatter going with other questions and things you might have in common.
The best part about a new friend is that you get to learn to see the world from another kid's point of view. So be open to making friends who might be different from you. People come in all shapes and sizes, and it's impossible to know what someone's like just by looking at them.
BEING A FRIEND
So now you have new friends. Yay, you! Keep that friend around by being an awesome friend back. Always remember that …
KEEPING A FRIEND
Friendships aren't always going to be perfect. Even adult friends have disagreements, but most of the time it's easy to get things back on track. Here are some things to try.
Cool off. If a conversation is heating up into a major disagreement, step away and take a few deep breaths. Be angry or upset might make you more likely to say something you can't take back. So take some time to just chill out.
Do a private play-by-play. Remind yourself exactly what happened. Where did it happen? Who was involved? What led up to it? Be honest about everything—this might help you figure out what you're really angry about so you can express yourself later.
Get some face time. Even if you don't think the fight was your fault, ask your friend to talk after you've both calmed down a bit. Do this in a private place, away from other people who might offer not-very-helpful advice.
Talk it out. OK, here's the hard part. First, apologize for your role in the disagreement, even if it's just a simple, "I'm sorry I got so mad." Ditch the eyerolls and the crossing-your-arms-over-your-chest poses, and calmly explain why you felt hurt or angry. Let your friend do the same, and listen to each other. Don't offer up excuses or get defensive, and avoid "You did this" statements so no one feels attacked. Then talk about how both of you can do things differently in the future.
Get over it! Hug things out (or, you know, just shake on it), then move beyond your disagreement. Don't hold a grudge, and don't bring things up later.