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27 DEC 2021
You may remember how playdates went back when your son or daughter was in elementary school: you would see which parent picked up your child’s friend from school, reach out to them, and arrange a day when both children could get together and play. As your child became older, it became natural for these events to become more spontaneous, or for your child to take the initiative and ask the friend themselves – be it for an afternoon of video games or something bigger such as a sleepover. Most of these friendships were found in the classroom or on the playground, but as your child grows older, their social situation changes as well.
One of our recent blogs addresses the ways in which elementary school is different from middle school, and as such, it is natural for the social scene to change as well. With that in mind, how does one make friends in middle school?
5 Ways to Make Friends in Middle School:
1) Pursue your hobbies with groups of people – Exploring hobbies and interests is a major component of the Crimson Rise program. By having students join clubs related to their hobbies, be it chess, coding, or basketball, not only will students be able to develop their skill to help start building their university application portfolio, but it’s also a fabulous chance to make friends! Young people naturally gravitate towards others with shared interests, so this is an easy way to meet like-minded people for your son or daughter.
2) Expand the network you already have – If your adult friends or neighbors have children in a similar age to your child, have them meet each other! They may strike a common chord and become friends and if not, the experience of meeting other people still helps your child build confidence and social skills. Also encourage your child to ask your friends about their friends, whether it’s from clubs, previous schools, etc. For example, if you child wants to go see a movie with a friend, have them ask their friend if they know anybody else who would enjoy seeing the same movie. That way, a small group of middle schoolers can go together, then have a relaxed social activity (such as getting ice cream) after the movie to discuss it together and get to know each other.
3) Take part in events – Large social scenes have been associated with the youth for generations past, but generation Z has the unique challenge of COVID-19 changing the ways in which they can socialize. However, having your child meet friends through events is still possible, just on a slightly smaller scale. School sports games or dances (should your local COVID-19 regulations deem them safe) have always been a key place for this to happen, but community events, museum exhibitions, religious festivities, etc all can also serve a similar purpose. Additionally, this can take part in virtual events – whether it is online gaming with friends, TikTok streams, or even the Crimson Rise Community Events which we hold on the first Friday and Saturday of each month. In these events, students enrolled in the Crimson Rise program can meet others who take part in the program even if they are in a different part of the world. It’s a great way for students to meet fellow bright, ambitious youngsters who share their goal of getting into an elite university!
4) Be approachable – Humans are naturally wired to be more attracted to people who have positive body language! Gently remind your child to always make eye-contact with people and smile. Body language such as crossing one’s arms, looking down all the time, or avoiding eye-contact makes one look closed-off and unapproachable – thus making it harder to make friends. If you appear friendly, people will be naturally drawn to you – it’s simple psychology!
5) Make the first move - Encourage your son or daughter to express themselves! If they see a classmate carrying a backpack they like, picking up a conversation with a phrase such as “Cool backpack, where’d you get it?” could be the start of something new. Additionally, inviting friends to study together in the library, asking a person who is sitting alone in the school cafeteria if they would like company, volunteering to help a student who seems lost in the hallways... all of these are excellent ways in which your child could make friends just by being brave and making the first step. If your child is on the shy side, discussing these with them ahead of time would be a good idea. Talk about the school social scene with them one afternoon and see how they can find their place in it by taking initiative.
By having an approachable image, taking initiative, finding events and clubs which interest your child, and utilizing the network which you and your family already have, it is possible for your child to make more friends in middle school. Just remember, friendships need to be maintained and tended in order for them to last over the years so if your child connects with a friend, encourage them to keep that bond as long as the friendship is healthy. As the saying goes, “friendship is like a garden, the more you tend it – the more it grows!”
Your friendly neighbourhood Rise blogger,
Learn more about Crimson Rise’s strategic mentorship, academic support, and extracurricular coaching for young students, and request a free consultation on your child’s journey!