How to Make Friends Like a 6th Grader

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My son is a planner. At nine years old, he already has his future planned out. He narrowed down his future car to three make / models, he decided on his career and side job, and has even decided which state he will live in.  

So when he asked me what to do if none of his friends went to his middle school, I was surprised because I thought he would have at least planned all interactions throughout his second year of college.  

He was worried that he would not know anyone at his new school and he didn’t want to be the only one without a friend. After he asked me how to make friends when he gets to sixth grade, I shamefully admitted that I didn’t even know how to make sure friends as an adult.

Once we started talking, I realized that the way to make friends in sixth grade can pretty much be applied to adulthood.  

Here’s our list of how to make friends like a sixth grader:

  1. Single out a Loner. I told him to look for someone who was also standing by themselves and to introduce himself. Chances are, he is not the only one who wants to make a friend. This may or may not work as an adult. Most times, I try to be alone. With three kids, any chance at alone time is desirable so I may or may not be interested in talking to a random mom if she sat down next to me and started talking.
  2. Find someone with like interests. One of the easiest ways to make friends is to talk about things that you like and hope that the other person also likes them. I told him to look for other boys who were doing some of the things that he enjoyed and tried to talk to them about those things. This is probably one of the easiest ways to make friends as an adult. At schools or parks, you can easily spark up a conversation with another mom about how your kids are your whole life or, more realistically, how great life would be with a day without kids.
  3. Join a club/sports team. As someone new to middle school, my son could join a sports team or club and would develop an instant connection with others who are also new to the team. This is also an easy way of making friends as an adult. By joining a club or team, you can develop a friendship with the other members, especially those who joined at the same time as you.
  4. Blend in. Middle school can get awkward fast. The safest way of making friends is to not actively try to make friends. Instead, just hang with the crowd and try to join surrounding conversations. As an adult, sometimes you just have to fake it until you make it. If you see a group of people, blend in with the crowd and attempt to start a one-on-one conversation with someone.

What tips do you have for making friends as a sixth grader … or as an adult?

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