Have you ever been the new girl somewhere? Whether it’s the new girl at school, in a ward, in an apartment complex, or a job, being new isn’t easy. I’ve been the new girl a lot lately over the past few years, and this experience has reminded me of a few things.
- New girls always appreciate when someone notices they are new
The day we moved into our new ward there was a Relief Society activity. I thought this would be a great way to get to know some people, and I was sure that right when I walked in the door people would say, “Hey, I don’t recognize you, are you new? Come sit with us!” But… they didn’t. Maybe there were a lot of other new girls there that night or maybe I just looked like I knew what I was doing, but hardly anyone even made eye contact with me. I remember immediately regretting my decision to come, but saw an empty seat at a table full of girls and quickly sat down. Still, nobody said anything but I knew if I wanted to make friends it was up to me, so I started learning everyone’s names and getting to know them and suddenly that table seemed like the greatest table in the room. It turned out there were other new girls at that table as well, and one of us just needed to get the conversation started! That night I made friends that are still my friends to this day, and I’m so grateful that I took the initiative to learn about them rather than waiting for them to learn about me.
- Remembering someone’s name is the first step to friendship
I get it, remembering people’s names can be challenging — BUT IT’S POSSIBLE! I don’t believe in “I’m not good with names” because if you really want to remember someone’s name, you can. If you forget the person’s name right after they say it, ask them to repeat it, then when you get the chance write it down in your phone with a few details you learned about the person. I’ve been going to the same gym for about eight months now, and it’s kind of awkward because I see the same people over and over, yet I don’t know anyone’s names and they don’t know mine so we just awkwardly smile at each other. A few weeks ago I was so over this weird awkwardness so I started asking people their names. I would just say, “Hey, it seems like we’re in a lot of the same classes, what’s your name?” Now when I go into class I have a handful of friends that I chat with and it feels so much more like home!
- There’s always room for one more at the table
Because I know what it’s like to be the new girl, I try my best to take a moment before sitting down somewhere and look for the girl who I either don’t recognize or who looks a little alone and bring her into the circle. Adding one more to your group doesn’t make a huge difference for you or everyone else, but for that one person it means more than you know. So whether you’re the new girl or you’re the girl who’s got group of friends she feels comfortable with, make sure to look for opportunities to bond with others, because if we wait for others to initiate friendships, we’re missing out on a much more abundant life.