A reader asks ‘how can I become friends with a girl’. Read this expert advice on how you can make new friends whatever gender they are.
I’m currently 16 and have a small group of friends. I’m perfectly fine with that as I feel that I can trust them. However I go to an all boys school and haven’t really had experience with befriending a girl since primary school. I want to have a go at befriending some girls so that I will feel comfortable with that later on. But I don’t know how to, without looking like a creep. I’ve seen your post about chatting up someone without being a creep, but that’s not what I’m after. How can I become friends with a girl without it looking like I’m trying to make a move or looking like a creep? Thank you in advance for your help.
Hi there. Thanks for your great question.
I think the best way to become friends with a girl is to think about how you can meet new people generally. If you cast your net more broadly then you might find some girls to be friends with. Think about what it is you can offer a new friend and what you would like them to offer you. What do you want from a new friendship and how close do you want it to be. To find these people use friends of friends and be honest and up front about what you want. Also use your interests and hobbies to find new people to hang out with. Perhaps also get involved in politics – young people are very political at the moment. Also, be brave.
Difficult because there’s no script
I think it can be harder to find a friend to hang out with than finding someone to date. For a start, there are no real scripts for how friendships are meant to start. It feels like they just magically happen with the people around you. There’s loads of help for people to find a romantic partner, but there’s very little to help people make friends.
It might help you to think about how your current friendships started. Who spoke to whom first? Which was the first friendship? Did you ever talk about what you wanted from friendships?
What do you want from friendship
You are asking how you can actively and intentionally find people to be friends with. So this is probably different from how your other friendships started. Doing it this way is good because you are being intentional – it’s a thing you want to happen. It’s also good because when you are being intentional you can be more consensual.
Read about how to do relationships
So a good thing to start with is to think about what you want from a friendship. What can you offer someone. What would you like them to offer you. Would you like to hang out in real life or are you up for a more online/texting thing. Are you offering inner circle friendship, ie as close to you as the other friendships you have in your life.
Even though you aren’t interested in this as a romantic relationship, you might find my article about how to do online dating useful. It’s got this section which encourages you to think about what kind of person you are and what kind of things you want from another person.
Careful about objectifying them
You’re really specific about wanting to become friends with a girl. Which I can understand because you’re surrounded by boys all day. However I think you should be careful about meeting someone just because they are a girl. If someone came to me and asked to be friends just because I’m a bloke, I think I’d be a bit offended. I would feel like I wasn’t really being treated as a person and as just a resource for another person to get information from.
Also please don’t become friends with a girl to learn the cheat codes on how to date them. Not cool. Also whilst girls might receive the same messages from society about how to be girls, all girls are different. You may well find more similarities with girls you meet than some boys you already know.
It doesn’t sound like you’re doing that, but it would be sad if you were. Also it wouldn’t be a great start to a relationship. You also wouldn’t want to be friends with someone just because they were a different race, or class, or (dis)ability either would you? So be interested in new people generally.
Meet new people generally
You have a small tight group of friends, which is lovely, but it can also get a bit boring if you keep having the same conversations over and over again. I mean, you know this because you want to meet new people. So focus on meeting other people generally. Cast your net into places where there are more girls around and see whether any of them might like a friendship with you. Meeting new people of any gender always leads to meeting other people and eventually some of these people might be girls. Or women.
Friends of friends
You could start with your network of friends. Be honest and say ‘look, I’m up for meeting some new people to be friends with. I love my friends but I’m also interested in meeting some new people who aren’t a clone of me.’ It might mean you having to be a bit brave, because people are not very kind about this kind of thing.
If you can do this I think it might be a winner. Say who you are, who you’d like to meet, what kind of friendship you’d be interested in. Ask your friends if they know anyone. Stick it on a facebook post, or instagram, or myspace or bebo. I know that might sound daft, but I think that a lot of people would think that you’d be a very cool person for doing it. Our actions can tell a lot about us and if you could do that then you could meet some people who are right up your street.
Maybe you could even set up a friend speed dating party. Or just a regular party. Do you already have social events like this and are there ways where you can explicitly say ‘I’d like to meet new people for friends.’
Find an interest, be interesting, be interested
Go back to thinking about yourself for a bit. What are your interests? Are you into gaming, or TV/film, or sport. If you’re all school work and no play it can make you less interesting. Also you are less likely to meet new people. So if you don’t already, find an interest and be more interesting. Then if you meet people online or IRL, be interested in what they have to say.
Ask questions, listen to what they have to say. Don’t criticise them or take the piss or put them down. A thing I really like when I meet new people is when they listen to what I say and appear enthusiastic. I really like it when people are a ‘yes and’ person rather than a ‘no but’ person. Being able to keep a conversation going really is a skill that we learn. That doesn’t mean that you fake being interested. But go into conversations with an open mind about whether you will be interested. If you shut things off straight away you are closing off your chances of meeting new friends.
Get involved in something
As well as having interests you could also get involved in movements. I don’t know whether you are aware of this but politics is pretty interesting at the moment. Even though you are too young to vote you could get involved in politics and perhaps campaign for a party who will bring in votes for 16 and 17 year olds.
Maybe you’ve been doing the schools climate strike? When you get involved in movements you meet people and when you meet people you can chat. It’s not cool to be involved in a movement only to become friends with a girl. But I think most people would say that meeting people is an important part of getting involved in politics.
Your question has the kernel of the answer in it and you have probably thought about some of this stuff before. So if I’m just encouraging you to try then that’s okay, but do try though. There are going to be thousands and thousands of people who are interested in being friends with you. Especially if you are able to be the brave, honest and kind person that can ask for these kinds of relationships. Good luck!
If you’d like to chat about this article do comment below (young people first though please). I moderate all comments before they are published. I also have a Facebook group where you could chat about BISH with me and other young people. It’s not very chatty at the moment though, so help! Also if you would like to give me feedback about BISH you can do that here. Thanks!
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© Justin Hancock, 2023
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Justin Hancock has been a trained sex and relationships educator since 1999. In that time he’s taught and given advice about sex and relationships with thousands of young people in person and millions online. He’s a member of the World Association for Sexual Health.