Making friends

Feeling like you don’t have many friends
can be lonely and upsetting.

My town is really small and it's hard to make friends. Help!It’s natural to want friends, but wanting them and knowing how to make them are two different things. So how do you make that first step to becoming someone’s friend?

Look around

Are there people your age in your neighbourhood?
Are there people at school who you’d like to get to know better? Think of the people who you already know—do you think you could be better friends with any of them? It might help to think of people who share some of your interests or activities, too.

Act interested

It might sound like a cliché, but a big part of making friends comes from being friendly and approachable. In other words, be the kind of friend you hope to have. Keep reading for some things you might consider that could make a difference!

Body language

Ask yourself: what is my body saying?

Take a look at this picture:

2 pictures, one of someone with body language projecting high self-esteem- head up, smiling, making eye contact, standing tall, one with body language projecting low self-esteem- looking down, eyes averted, slouched over

  • Which of them looks like they’d be interested in talking to you?
  • Which one of them would you most want to talk to?  Be friends with?

If you’re like most people, you probably thought that [person A] looks more approachable.  People who seem interested in the world around them tend to have specific body language: they keep their heads up, make eye contact with others, and smile at people to let them know they’d like to talk. 

If you’re shy this might not come naturally to you, so why not try something small first? Make an effort to hold your head high while you are walking down the hall, or try smiling at people who seem nice.

Follow this link for more info on how to improve self-esteem.


A lot of people make friends through extracurricular activities. Think of some activities that you already enjoy. Teams and clubs at school or in your community, volunteer positions, part-time jobs, and taking a class outside of school can be great ways to meet other people your age who share your interests.

Reach out

Reaching out to someone you’d like to be friends with can be awkward. Here are some ways to ease into it:

  • Say “hi” when you see the person
  • Make eye contact
  • Give the person a compliment – but only if you mean it and are comfortable doing so (when you’re fake, it shows!)
  • Send a note or a text
  • Show interest in their daily events (for example, by asking questions like “What did you get up to this weekend?” or “How was the movie last night?”)
  • Find some things that you have in common. This could help the conversation flow, and could also help to connect you.

The Next Step

The next step is asking the other person to do something together. A few ideas are:

  • Going to the movies
  • Shopping or hanging out at the mall
  • Walking home together after school
  • Sitting together at lunch

Being a friend

Remember that making good friends has a lot to do with how good of a friend you are. It might help you to make a list of the things you value in a friend, such as:

  • Being fun to talk to
  • Sticking up for me
  • Being loyal
  • Being there for me when things get rough
  • Making me laugh
  • Liking the same movies, music, hobbies as me
  • Being a good listener
  • Being able to have fun

After you make your list, read it over twice – once with a friend in mind, and then while thinking about yourself. What good qualities do you think you could bring to a friendship?
Are there any qualities you’d like to work on?

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Last Reviewed August 2013 by the Kids Help Phone Counselling Team

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Moment of truth Do you make friends quickly?