Thursday, December 9, 2010

Top 10 Ways Christian Teens Can Make Friends

Are you new to the neighborhood or just moved to a new school? Have your old friends moved away and you wonder how to make new friends? Just because you are a Christian teen doesn't mean making friends is any easier. Making a friend means taking a risk and putting yourself out there to be social and friendly. Here are some ways that Christian teens can make themselves available to find people to hang out with:

1. Know Who You Want to Be Friends With

Before you start trying to make friends, think about who you actually want to be your friends. What types of people do you want to associate with? While most Christian teens like to hang out with other Christian teens, it does not mean all your friends have to be Christian. Just remember that you want your friends to share some of your values and morals. You also want your friends to be uplifting and not drag you down into bad habits or behaviors.

2. Get Involved in Activities

The easiest way to make friends is to get involved in activities at school or in your youth group. It allows you to meet people that share your interests. Find some clubs or a local youth group that is active. As you continue to attend the activities you will find yourself drawn to certain people as friends.

3. Introduce Yourself

A lot of Christian teens don't know how to make the first step in making friends. Sitting in a corner at an event or not saying a word in a club meeting doesn't draw people to you. This is a hard step to take, and a quick prayer beforehand can help. God is a great provider of courage. It is hard to walk up to a person to introduce yourself. If you are really nervous, make the introduction quick and don't expect to much. As people begin to know you are around they will start to include you in conversations.

4. Get Some Help

Youth pastors and leaders area great help in making friends. Many youth pastors are willing to meet with you before you join a youth group and can help introduce you to other Christian teens that share your interests. They may also be able to point you toward student ministries that fit your gifts so you can meet people. This may prevent you from having to take that first introductory step yourself, so it takes some of the pressure off.

5. Work on Your Conversation Skills

How well do you communicate with people? Try practicing conversation skills before you go to youth group or club meetings. Think of some fun topics to discuss and the different ways you can contribute to a conversation. You may feel silly having a conversation with yourself, but you will grow in your communication skills if you do.

6. Be a Good Listener

Listening is a great tool in making new friends. Listening means hearing what a person is saying, while offering support and feedback. Nodding and repeating back what the person just told you makes a person feel like you are being supportive. For example, if a potential friend tells you that he is nervous about playing in the upcoming football game because he just recovered from a sprained ankle, you might say, "It sounds like your ankle sprain was pretty bad. What has the coach been doing to get you ready?" You acknowledge everything he told you and also asked a question that keeps the conversation going.

7. Use Open Ended Questions

Questions are an important part of getting to know people, but you need to ask the right type of questions to keep the conversation going. Using open ended questions are a great tool for finding friends. Open ended questions make people answer with more than a "yes" or "no." Use questions that begin with "who," "what," "when," "where," "why," and "how."

8. Use Good Body Language

Body language can be a pretty unconscious thing, but it is a big deal in making friends. How you stand or sit tells people how open you are to being approached. Avoid "closed" body language like crossed arms or legs. When you are standing around face out toward the group and smile. Also, standing too close to someone can make the other person feel uncomfortable, so keep a two to three foot distance as you speak. Avoid fidgeting and playing with your hair. Maintain eye contact. Your body language tells the other person how you feel about your conversation, so practice showing the right messages with your body.

9. Be Positive

A positive attitude goes a long way in making friends. Most people don't like a sourpuss. There are things that can be rather depressing and other things that make you angry, but try to avoid starting a conversation about those things. If they do come up, voice your anger or sadness in an appropriate manner. Try to be supportive of others without being to saccharine sweet - people can see through the false sweetness easily.

10. Throw a Party

If you have a group of people you are just getting to know and want to get to know them better, why not throw a party? A get-together can be a great way for Christian teens to mingle, have great conversation, and make friends. Parties are also a great way to kick off a new semester so that people can get to know the new students in the mix.

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