Socially Awkward? Don't Stress! Here's 7 Activities to Get to Know a New Friend

Relationships

The thought of socializing is anxiety-inducing for many teens. This can be due to a handful of different reasons, ranging from being shy to being hesitant to try new things. For as long as I can remember, I have been an introvert. When I was three years old, I hid behind my mom at social gatherings. When I was eight years old, I tried my best to avoid social interactions, as they caused me too much angst and worry. While I am still not a social butterfly, I am able to approach social situations with a confident mindset. These activities have helped me achieve comfort and ease in social settings, especially when I am meeting someone new.

1. Explore your town

If you and your friend are having a tough time coming up with an idea about what to do, consider exploring your town. There is most likely a restaurant you have been curious to try or stores that catch your eye. Whether you and your friend decide to get ice cream at a local shop or peruse the items in a nearby bookstore, taking some time to carefully walk through your town or city is an activity that can allow you both to learn more about each other while having fun.

2. Go to a park

Parks can be a great place to get to know a new friend. You have a handful of different options, including having a picnic, playing a sport together, or even simply sitting on a blanket and chatting. When an activity involves something to engage with, there is no reason to fret if the discussion dies. Additionally, the activities you can take part in at parks make it easy to start conversations. For instance, you and your friend can talk about the food you each brought to a picnic. There are lots of opportunities for enjoyable talking.

3. Get creative in the kitchen

From making a simple dinner to baking a complicated recipe, getting creative in the kitchen is an activity that makes hours feel like minutes. First, decide what you and your friend are going to cook or bake. Then, spend time finding the best recipe, before jumping into cooking or baking. In the past, I made cookies and other desserts with my friends. To many, merely sitting and talking can be very intimidating and frightening. But, with an activity like cooking or baking, there is less pressure to come up with topics to talk about.

4. Grab some coffee

This is certainly one of the most typical and simple activities, but it is a wonderful way to get to know someone. The conversation will flow effortlessly. You will spend time discussing what drinks you are planning on ordering, along with what you both think of your drinks once you taste them. Not only will grabbing some coffee or another drink spark casual conversation, but this activity will also relieve the stress you may have over your and your friend's plan. If you are both having a great time, you can stay and order more drinks. However, if you are not, it is easy to leave and pick something else to do.

5. Watch your favorite television show or movie

Most people love sitting comfortably, snacking on some popcorn, and watching a television show or movie. You can invite your friend out to a movie theater or host them at your own house. Either way, you and your friend will have fun devouring your favorite candy and snacks while a show or movie plays in front of you.

6. Go shopping

Is there a mall close by that you have been waiting to visit? Is there a popular, busy street with unique and interesting stores? I tend to take part in this activity most often when I am with a friend. Aside from there being so much to do, you and your friend have the ability to engage in meaningful conversations. From getting frozen yogurt to trying on clothes, taking a trip to a mall or shopping center will make the time you and your friend spend together fly by faster than you would think.

7. Have a games night

Having a games night is by far the most flexible and versatile activity there is. If you and your friend are not able to meet in person, you can play some virtual games together. Games allow you and your friend to have some friendly competition while getting to know each other's personalities. By working together and sharing the experience, you and your friend can easily improve your friendship.

These seven activities will make social situations feel enjoyable, rather than exhausting and draining. If you associate socializing with negative emotions, know that you are not alone. Most teens will at some period feel the same way. However, it is important to push yourself outside your comfort zone, as this is the key to growing and developing as a person. Feeling uncomfortable is not necessarily something bad or something you should shy away from. Think of socializing as strengthening a muscle. When you try building muscle, it may hurt or cause you physical discomfort. However, this means that you are activating it, and soon, you will see a noticeable result. Every time you push yourself in social situations, you will realize that socializing only becomes easier.

Sophene Avedissian
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Sophene Avedissian is a freshman at Westridge School for Girls. She is the author of Stand Tall, a book that highlights women's rights issues, an editor for Polyphony Lit, and a Los Angeles Times High School Insider. During her free time, Sophene enjoys reading, playing soccer, and spending time with family and friends.