4 Tips for Making Friends at a New School

By: Madison Manuel, 12th grade student
Being the new kid at school isn’t easy; it can be filled with much fear and anxiety. As we prepare to celebrate International Day of Friendship (July 30), Madison Manuel, a rising 12th grade student at CCA shares her personal experience of navigating relationships as a new student and offers practical advice for anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation.

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I transferred to Calvary Christian Academy’s (CCA) Fort Lauderdale campus in January of my sixth grade year. It was frightening being “the new kid” in the middle of the year because everyone already knew each other and had created friend groups by the time I had arrived. However, one thing that helped me quickly acclimate and feel like I belonged to my new school family was being paired with a New Student Encourager.

A New Student Encourager is a student who volunteers to help new students adjust to CCA. My student encourager was one of the sweetest people I have ever met; she walked me to my classes, ate lunch with me, and was the person I hung out with all the time during my first two months at CCA. But that all came to an end when she moved out of state, and I found myself all alone again. I did not know what to do because I felt like I didn’t know how to make friends.

Then one day at lunch, a girl walked up to me and invited me to sit with her and her friends. I got to the table, and as soon as I sat down, the girls complimented me and asked me questions about myself. During our talk, I found out that two of them rode the same bus as me, and another girl had a class with me.

This ultimately led to me talking to these girls whenever I saw them, getting to know them better, and eating lunch with them every day for the rest of the year. Six years later, that same group of girls happens to be my best friends and the people I eat lunch with every day!

As someone who knows what it’s like to be “the new kid,” I know the feeling of going to a new school and having to make new friends. Although it was extremely hard in the beginning, the process has taught me valuable lessons about making friends. Whether you or your child will be attending a new school this fall, here are some tips that may help you build a supportive community of friends:

  • Accept the Invitation
    Oftentimes, when in new spaces, new students are too scared to meet people, so they end up by themselves; I know that was the case for me. If you ever find yourself in this predicament, don’t be afraid to accept invitations from others. Had I never accepted the invitation from the girl asking me to sit at her lunch table, I would have never met my best friends.

  • Inquire About Others
    In the process of making friends, kids don’t always know what to talk about, so they sit there in silence. When meeting new people, don’t be afraid to ask questions; here a few good ones to ask:

    • Do you play any sports or instruments?
    • Who is your favorite singer or actor?
    • What is your favorite TV show?
    • What is your favorite subject/class?
    • Do you have any siblings or pets?

    Simple questions can go a long way and can help spark great conversations. If you’re nervous about meeting new people, practice asking questions like the ones above to someone you are comfortable with (like a parent or sibling). This can help alleviate anxiety surrounding new social situations.

  • Stay True to Yourself
    Being “a new kid” often comes with the dilemma of whether you should be authentic or portray yourself in a different light in order to make friends. In those moments, it’s important to remember who God has made you to be and choose authenticity. In today’s society, children can unfortunately get bullied for being themselves and not blending in with the crowd, but I’m thankful that bullying is taken very seriously at CCA, so students don’t have to be fearful of being themselves. They’re taught that their worth is found not in people’s opinions, but in who they are in Christ.

  • Invest in Community
    You can be intentional about pouring into the people God has placed in your life by being supportive and a good listener. When we provide a space for others to feel seen and heard, it makes it possible for friendships to deepen and flourish. A great place to practice this is in small groups like the ones Upper School students at CCA have the opportunity to participate in on a weekly basis.

    I happen to be in a small group with my best friends and two new girls we invited into our group. Because we’ve been intentional to open up and be good listeners, the people in my small group have become more than just my friends; they have become family.

    “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” –Psalm 133:1


Our friends influence who we are and how we go through life. That is why God designed us to bond with others. It is important to find friends that shape us in a positive manner and point us to Jesus. If you or your child do not know where to start when it comes to making friends, I encourage you to first cast all your worries and anxieties onto God; He will provide. One way to do that is by praying one of these prayers below.

  • Meeting New People Prayer
    by ConnectUs.org
    🙏 God, I ask for Your guidance as I seek people I can build new friendships with. Lead me to sincere individuals who also genuinely desire to establish good, meaningful, and lasting relationships. Guide me to new friendships that will help me grow as a person and become a better and responsible individual who is respectful of others and concerned for their needs, In your name, I pray, Amen.

  • Becoming a Good Friend Prayer
    by ConnectUs.org
    🙏 Heavenly Father, You have taught us to always treat others fairly, treating them exactly the same way we want to be treated. As I develop these friendships, teach me to be sincere. Do not allow me to treat others lightly and may I never take advantage of them. Help me become the kind of friend that those dear to me need. Teach me to be considerate of their needs, sympathetic to their feelings, and supportive of their endeavors. Amen.

Madison Manuel is a rising 12th grade student who has attended CCA’s Fort Lauderdale campus since 6th grade. Madison has been involved in CCA’s cheer program since her freshman year and is currently a varsity cheerleader. She enjoys writing and spending time with her peers. Her future career goal is to become a magazine journalist. After graduation, she hopes to major in Journalism and Communications.

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