Friends are one of the true pleasures in life. They help make school enjoyable and weekends adventurous. They listen to your problems and make you laugh. They celebrate when you do something awesome, and give you a shoulder when you need someone to lean on.
If you’ve moved to a new school or you’re struggling to make friends, here are some tips that can help.
Practice your conversation skills
Making friends starts with talking to people and finding someone you can connect with. Conversation skills improve the more you use them, so try to challenge yourself to speak with two people every single day. Think up topics beforehand if you like. It may seem awkward at first, but you’ll get better with time. Starting the conversation is the most difficult part, so once you master that, you’ll be sweet!
Listen more than you talk
Research shows that people love talking about themselves, so being the listener can be an important step. If you want to make friends, you’ve got to learn to ask lots of questions. Ask them about things they seem passionate about, or for advice on the best places or eat or new music to listen to. Practice good listening, by focusing on them, not fidgeting, making eye contact, and making it clear they can trust you by explicitly saying you’ll keep the conversation private.
Remember names and greet people
When you pass a new acquaintance in the halls or at your next event, say hi to them and use their name. A person’s brain lights up upon hearing their own name, and this makes them more likely to pay attention to you and remember your interaction in a positive way.
A good way to meet people with the potential to become friends is to join clubs, sports teams, youth groups, and other extracurricular activities that interest you. You already have a built-in topic of conversation and a shared interest.
Develop your confidence and inner strength
The more you work on improving your own confidence and being your own best friend, the more appealing you are as a friend prospect to others. People are attracted to those who are sure of themselves and have a positive outlook on life. Be yourself and feel good about it, and your new friends will follow.
Good friends are worth waiting for
With some people, you click immediately, but with others it can take time to develop trust and rapport in a friendship. Cut yourself some slack – you don’t have to become popular in a week just because it happens in movies. Good friendships are priceless, and they’re worth taking time to nurture and grow.
As a student, you can experience tremendous pressure to perform and excel. From exams and music lessons, to the sports field and beyond, pressure to succeed can come from many directions.
If you’re feeling pressure from an external source that’s making you feel anxious or concerned, it’s important you acknowledge that and find ways to manage it. Here are our tips for dealing with pressure.
Where can pressure to perform come from?
Pressure and expectations come from many different places, usually by people who care about you and want you to succeed. Parents, friends, teachers, coaches, relatives, teammates, and even you yourself can cause stress and anxiety that can cause problems in your life.
What can you do?
If pressure is causing you to worry and affecting your study, you should take action. We recommend:
Pressure from outside can take the fun out of your favourite activities and make studying even more difficult. If you’re being pressured, talk to someone you trust and take steps to relieve the pressure, before you burst.
Over 450 Auckland high school students showed up for workshops held by their fellow pupils to learn how to minimise exam stress.
The lunchtime workshops, held at Rangitoto College and Albany Senior High School, were put on for Year 11-13 students by Hearing Everyday Youth (HEY), also known as the Upper Harbour Youth Caucus. Activities included games, prizes and a ‘meditation station’ where students could take a timeout from their busy study schedule.
Upper Harbour Youth Caucus chairperson Bismah Mahmood says that with NCEA exams approaching this is one of the most stressful times of the year for high school students.
“It was the last week of school, so everything was really hectic and you could tell that students were getting a little bit stressed out. We just wanted to give them a place and time to relax.”
In a 2016 survey commissioned by Youthline, stress was deemed to be the most pressing issue facing young people. Mahmood, who is a Year 12 student at Rangitoto College, says that it’s a concern she’s had to learn to deal with herself.
“When I stress out, I can't think properly. I find that I won't do well in whatever I'm doing. Even simple things I won't be doing properly. When I take my time and properly de-stress, I find that I get a much better outcome and I spend less time actually doing the work at hand.”
The Youth Caucus also used the workshops as an opportunity to get input from students about other issues they’re facing at the moment. Key concerns that were raised included mental health and parental pressure to do well at school.
Youthline youth worker Stevie Hamiora, who helped to facilitate the workshops, says that it was a great opportunity to reach many new young people who needed help.
“This caucus is filled with unique wonderful young people who are very in touch with the community and purpose to empower other young people in their community. We look forward to many more successful events to come.”
Join us throughout November on the Youthline blog, where we’ll be exploring some healthy ways to deal with stress and anxiety, and taking a look at what students can do to keep calm during exams.
How is term 4 here already?
Here we go, last term of the year and then freedom! Just a few hurdles to jump first, like all your final assignments, exams, grades, passing...yikes! It can all feel like a lot, but you got this. We've got some tips on coping with the feelings of anxiety that can creep up and feel overwhelming.
1. Reset your physical response
Calming your body lets it know there is no actual danger and so it doesn't need to move into a stress response.
2. Reset your thoughts
As the body and the mind work closely together, if your mind is racing, it will calm down when your body gets calm and vice versa.
3. Talk to someone about how you are feeling
Often getting some support and understanding, or even just a hug or some company can really help. Think about who is in your life who you can hang out with and cares about you.
4. Seek professional support
If your anxiety is feeling unmanageable, you feel like you need new strategies to deal with it or it's getting in the way of living your life how you would like, then talking to a professional can be really useful.