Making friends can be anxiety-provoking at any age but particularly challenging for kids. Yet, social interactions are unavoidable for kids, whether at school, in sports, or in extracurricular activities. However, heading into social situations blind can be daunting, especially when you haven’t had success in the past and don’t know how to handle social situations. Fortunately, there are ways that kids can make it easier to get through and even thrive in social situations!
Developing Social Skills to Make Friends
Really, it comes down to social skills. Social skills are just SKILLS that can be taught, learned, and even mastered in time. Relationships follow patterns. Therefore, we need to follow organized steps to form relationships one step at a time. There is a formula for doing this, something which our social skills class at Family Connections Therapy introduces to group members.
Start A Conversation
First, we need to identify good ways to start a conversation with someone we don’t know. The biggest thing to remember here is to start as general as possible. Conversations are a two-way interaction. Therefore, it’s important to begin generally and let the conversation develop naturally rather than forcing someone to talk specifically about a specific topic that may not interest them. There are several ways to begin a conversation, including typical greetings, compliments, or noting something you have in common, such as a teacher.
Starting a conversation is one thing, but moving through a conversation is something else entirely. Conversations shift naturally the longer they go along, so it’s important to move between topics as they arise. A big part of this is developing the ability to actively listen to what the other person is saying. By doing so, you can respond directly to what they are saying and ask them questions to keep the conversation moving.
Turning Acquaintances into Friends
After we’ve made some acquaintances and feel things are moving in a positive direction in those relationships, we want to take those relationships to the next level. This involves turning them into real friendships that can extend outside the classroom, club, or sports team. Kids often struggle with this step. For example, inviting someone to do something on the weekend can be scary, as you are putting yourself out there in a way you’re not used to. However, there are strategies for this that can take some of the pressure off and increase our chances of success. For example, asking someone what they are doing over the weekend before presenting them with an idea is key because it significantly limits the possibility of rejection. It also gives you a smooth transition into asking if they want to do something with you.
Developing Social Skills Involves Practice
This all seems like a lot to remember. On top of that, all of these things are easier said than done. Therefore, practice is key! Our social skills course utilizes a lot of role-play. Role play serves two main functions. One, it allows participants to practice and receive feedback from others, noting what they are doing well and what they could adjust in the future. In addition, it offers participants to present feedback to others, as taking an outside perspective can also influence how you could improve.
Join A Social Skills Class in San Diego, CA
Just because the past has been difficult doesn’t mean it has to always be. With support from peers and a therapist you, or your child, can develop social skills that make creating friends in school easier. So take a step toward self-improvement and join a social skills group today!
- Contact us to speak with one of our caring staff members
- Sign up for your first social skills course at Family Connections Therapy
- Start making friends with ease!
Other Counseling Services We Offer in San Diego, CA
At Family Connections Therapy we offer several mental health options for children, teens, adults, families, and couples. Including therapy for ADHD and play therapy. In addition to LGBTQIA+ and transgender therapy for kids and teens. While for adults, we offer depression treatment, and more! Our compassionate therapists also offer reunification therapy and parenting classes for peripheral parents. These counseling services are offered in person and through online therapy in California.