By: Nick Swafford
It’s a new school year, and some of you may be new to Heritage High. In that case, welcome. Everyone that’s ever been someplace new knows the feeling of utter hopelessness as they try to meet people and make new friends. Maybe you find someone who you want to be friends with, but don’t know how to approach them. Luckily, I have a few tips on how to introduce yourself.
First of all, you need to be around the person you want to meet. However don’t be overly stalker-ish. This is where things get a little tough–you have to speak to them. It’s crazy, I know. Some tricks for great openers when speaking to someone are to ask dumb and easy questions. For example, for that boy with the NASA sweatshirt who sits next to you in math class, just say, “I like your sweatshirt, are you interested in space?”. If you don’t want something situational, ask general questions, such as, “What classes do you have?” or “Are you doing anything this weekend?”
If you don’t feel comfortable voicing some of the questions you have, don’t worry! There are other methods, such as simply stating an opinion about something that both parties have experienced or are experiencing. If you are at football game and the wide receiver makes an impossible catch, comment to the person next to you, “Wow, that catch was insane!” Or if you’re watching a baseball game and the opposing team’s shortstop trips and falls, you could say something along the lines of “That must’ve hurt” If all else fails, you can always say, “Hi, I don’t think we’ve met yet, my name is…” This one line allows you to introduce yourself, and in return, the other person will most likely respond with their name. To avoid the awkwardness of this conversation, you need to ask another question to provoke further responses, such as “Are you in any clubs?” or “Do you play any sports?”
The key to continuing the conversation is to ask a “feeling question” or guide the topics to something opinion related. A feeling question is a question that makes the other person feel strong emotions. An example could be something like “What’s your favorite band?” or “What are your thoughts on Guardians of the Galaxy?” You may be thinking that these examples are silly or impractical, and you would be right. While these questions seem “surface level”, they are what spur further conversations and a feeling of general easiness, as opposed to starting off a conversation about politics.
If you make it this far without the other person walking away, or you decide that you aren’t actually their biggest fan, congratulations. If the conversation starts to become dry, just ask another question, make another statement, or simply make a joke. Humor is a surefire way to have people enjoy you; just don’t make the jokes at another’s expense. Please. In my personal experience, I’ve found that people enjoy self-depreciating humor. However, I wouldn’t recommend making these types of jokes too early on, as they might perceive you as too negative.
To clarify, these tips don’t ensure that you will make friends 100% of the time, but I hope this has showed you new ways to start socializing with someone. My final piece of advice is: don’t overthink it and don’t pre-plan a greeting, as those don’t end up well. Just have fun with it, and you will be fine. Good luck with your friend making endeavors.