5 New Year’s Resolutions for a Better Social Life

With the new year just around the corner, it’s time to start making resolutions! Will you pledge to keep your room clean? Study more? Finally get your locker organized? These are all common resolutions, and good ones too. But if you’re looking to give your social life a boost, there are a few additional resolutions you should consider.

We all know that it takes effort to build a strong social circle. Sometimes, it takes stepping out of your comfort zone, or breaking a bad habit. The arrival of the new year is the perfect time to make little changes that can have a big impact on your social life. And these resolutions are the perfect place to start:

Get Involved: Join a club or team. Sign up to volunteer. Take a class outside of school. The first step to making friends is meeting awesome people, so get out there and get involved. Make sure you’re signing up for something that you’re passionate about. This will put you in touch with people who have similar interests. That means you’ll have stuff to talk about right off the bat. And weekly meetings/practices will give you plenty of opportunities to discover more common ground.

Have more Conversations:
The funny thing about friendships is that they can form in places you don’t expect, like the on the bus or in the cafeteria. You never know who you’re going to hit it off with. People can surprise you, but first, you need to talk to them. Start by noticing the things you have in common with the people around you. Use these things as talking points. Ask questions, and pay attention to the answers. The more people you talk to, the more chances you will have to connect with a great friend.

Go with the Flow: Maintaining a successful social life takes flexibility. You can’t expect your friends to always do what you want. You’ve got to be willing to make compromises. Try to appreciate the differences between you and your friends. Be open to learning/trying new things. This is especially helpful when you’re making plans with a group. You may not love every activity the group chooses, but you should give it a try anyway. You might have more fun than you expect. And if you don’t, you’ll still be spending time with friends, and they’ll appreciate that you made an effort to enjoy it!

Learn to Resolve Conflicts: Disagreements happen. People get offended. Misunderstandings occur even between the best of friends. It doesn’t have to lead to major drama, and damage your relationships. Make it your goal to nip conflicts in the bud this year. Keep in mind that it’s more important to preserve a friendship than it is to win an argument, or get the last word. If there’s a rift between you and your friends, make the effort to have a conversation about the problem. Hear your friends out when they share their perspectives. Be respectful and considerate when you share your own. And remember, it’s always important to apologize when you’ve hurt someone’s feelings. The better you are at keeping the drama to a minimum, the stronger your friendships will be in the long run.

Commit to Being Yourself: It can be tempting to blend with the people around you. You might be welcomed into a given social circle, if you pretend to share the group’s interests, hobbies, and senses of humor. But it’s important to remember that you cannot form real friendships, if you are not being yourself. A true friend knows what makes you unique, and appreciates you for who you are. A true friend is someone you can trust; someone who cares about the things you care about. It is impossible to find a true friend if you don’t let anyone get to know the real you. Opening up can be scary at first, but finding your perfect social group is totally worth it!

Sometimes, making changes can be scary. It might hard to think about venturing out of your comfort zone, joining a new club, talking to a classmate, or opening up about your passions and interests. But these are all important keys to building friendships that last, and enjoying a healthy, happy social life. The good news is that by deciding to make these resolutions- and stick to them-you’re already a little closer to building great friendships in 2017!

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Isa Marrs is the Founder and Executive Director of the Where I Can Be Me® social skills program. She is a board-certified speech-language pathologist who specializes in pragmatic language (social skills) disorders in children. Read More