Updated: Oct 4, 2020
You’re not alone because there was a stage in my life when I was timid to make new friends.
I was confident, bright, well-liked by my peer group and my teachers – but I was an introvert and struggled with perceptions of what a perfect world around me should be.
I wanted to do right and be fair and tried to find fairness in everything around me, which is extremely tough. I would go from one friend group to another; I would struggle integrating beyond a couple of years, primarily because I needed a way to connect with my soul. My beliefs through everyday activities and girls my age wanted fun.
My sense of fun has been different. I find cooking and baking to be fun. I find gardening to be fun. I have never spent weekends getting drunk in pubs. I like to read and write, yet you can imagine when you are a teenager, that’s not what your friends are looking for. They want to be hanging around with boys, going shopping, and having ‘real’ fun.
I did feel quite left out. I guess the point I’m trying to make is that being popular doesn’t mean you have friends. You can have people around you who care for you but still feel alone.
How do you make friends, how do you stop the fear of being judged and accept having just one or two genuine friends who care for you no matter where they are is ok.
Thus far, my journey in life has shown me that it's ok to go through a couple of years with really close associates. What’s more important is to hold onto your beliefs and your values and be fair and kind. You will find true friends eventually. And once you do, life will be very different.
As an ex-pat family, my children struggled with keeping friends as well. Every couple of years, their friends would move back to their home countries, and they would have to find “new” friends. They had to move school 4 times, and mind you; my elder daughter is only 15 years old; some years, they found things adamant. They felt left out and discriminated against. I knew I had to keep them positive, respectful of the values we nurture in our house – being kind, being helpful, not discriminating on skin color or accent. And it wasn’t easy, but they found ways of reaching out to new groups within their cohort. They joined clubs like reading club and drama club after school. Music and sports got them engaged in school teams. They eventually started being part of groups that got narrowed to a few friends to BFFs.
We all have different personalities, and it’s hard if you are not a true socialite, but don’t let that stop you from being a positive, hard-working, kind, and compassionate person. Keep a goal in mind for each year; it can be as simple as reading a book every week or playing your favorite sport daily to a more complex I will try and raise awareness around climate change in the environment club. A goal helps you find a purpose in life, which eventually helps you find friends because of your positive demeanor and outlook.
Try and reflect on your goal for the year. When you commit to working towards it, you will feel motivated and confident, and before you know, you will start getting surrounded by children who enjoy similar activities. It’ll only be a matter of time before you make friends.