HOw to make new friends at Summer School

Being in a brand new environment and not knowing anyone can be daunting, but each and every year summer school presents a unique opportunity, an opportunity to make friends outside of your circle and to forge new friendships with people you may not have done so before.

The beauty of making the transition from your school to summer school is that there is a chance to find ‘your people’. You are no longer under the influence of a social hierarchy and cliques of regular school and have a completely blank friendship slate in which to write on.

Summer school is a wonderful way to prepare yourself for the social opportunities that lie ahead. At SBC we do all that we can to help you make new friends and to avoid anyone feeling isolated.

Here’s our list of top tips that might make finding new friends that little bit easier.

Wear a passion  

This blog could be three words long. Talk to people. But what do you talk about? And what if breaking the ice isn’t normally within your nature? A fast track to starting conversations is to wear something which gives you a starting point you’re comfortable with.  

If you love football, then why not wear your team’s shirt?

If you love Billie Eilish, Harry Styles, Imagine Dragons, and so on… then why not wear a band t-shirt?

If you have a jacket with patches and badges showing all of the things that you’re passionate about, which give a glimpse of where you’re from, what you love, then wear it.

Essentially, wearing a passion can help remove all inhibition and awkwardness and it’s an invitation to start a conversation, a conversation you’d feel enthusiastic about, and it’s also a great way to draw people in with the same interests as you.

Ask questions about the other person

Conversations aren’t just one sided and part of building friendships is getting to know the other person. In making a positive first impression and to get off on the right foot, always show interest by asking questions back. This will help you find common interests and will naturally keep the conversation flowing. If you don’t know much about your friends interests it’s a great way to find out more and learn something new!

Secondly, ask open questions. If you ask a closed question that they can answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to then the conversation might fall flat. Try asking an open question that requires more explanation using words like ‘what’, ‘why’ and ‘how’.

If you hear a name, then use it.

Like teachers, you have to learn how to memorise many names quickly, and there’s an easy way to do it. Once you’ve asked someone’s name, commit it to memory by dropping it in a conversation here and there to retain it. This also helps make the conversation more personable and your new friend will be happy that you are actively listening to what they have to say. 

At summer school you’re going to hear a lot of names which are completely new. Never feel embarrassed by not getting the pronunciation right from the start. By asking someone to repeat, and to tentatively repeat a name back, is showing that you’re making an effort and that’s a super way to show that you’re genuine.          

So, if you hear someone’s name then repeat it in conversation. Give it a go.

Walk over and say just say hi

Don’t worry about approaching people because you want them to be your friend. If you see someone who interests you, then be brave and say hi. If there is something that has drawn you to that person that you like then why not give them a compliment. It can feel great to receive a compliment and may help put the other person at ease. Maybe you like their style, you think they are great at a particular sport or have a great sense of humor. Let them know! It’s a nice way to break the ice and then put our other tips into practice.

Use positive body language

Non-verbal communication is just as important as verbal. Showing that you are relaxed and approachable is another key way to make new friendships. If your shoulders are shrugged and arms crossed you won’t look approachable to your peers. Smile, make eye contact and nod to acknowledge when someone is talking are all great ways to show positive body language and active listening.

This will show people that you’re open to conversation and meeting new people without having to make the first move!

Don’t worry if it takes time

Trusting people and talking a little about yourself is not a natural thing for everyone. And that’s fine. Everyone’s different.

At summer school you can be the person you are now, without any preconceived ideas of who you were before.  

If back home you’re the kid who felt like an outsider or an outcast or feel that you haven’t been free to show as much of your true self as you’d like…well at summer school you can and it’s a special gift.

Summer school is a fantastic chance to explore different sides of who you are and the person you want to be.

Embracing the excitement of that when you meet new people, can be the best thing about summer school when you look back in years from now.

At SBC we have no doubt that if you’re feeling worried about meeting new people now, that by the end you’ll feel like a new person. Celebrating your graduation on the dance floor taking selfies and smiling from ear to ear with special new friends who not so long ago you didn’t know.

Why? Because that is the magic of summer school.

And you have absolutely nothing to worry about, and we can’t wait to see you there.