Being a newbie
Tips for settling in to a new school, youth group, or anywhere else!
If you’ve ever been new at school, at church, at work or anywhere really, you’ll know how difficult it can be. Settling in is definitely easier when you join something where everyone else is also new. But where people already have history together, you have to accept that you are the one who will have to fit in with them.
How is this possible? There is no magic solution. The answers are only found in time, initiative and humility.
How Susanna made new friends
After years of living in Africa as a missionary kid, Susanna moved back to her home country and felt very overwhelmed.
She wrote: “Very quickly I learned that in order to meet people, make new friends and learn the ropes, I had to initiate the conversation and talk about things they were interested in. It actually ended up being not so bad. I got involved in small groups at school. I joined the swimming team and the choir and spent time in both these groups getting to know kids that I had things in common with. I ate lunch with these people, sat in class and rode the bus with them.”
Susanna had to work hard to make common experiences to share with others. She had to get out there and spend time with people. She took the initiative to get herself to groups and take part. And she had to be persistent. The bonds would not have been formed in the first week or even the first month.
Why it took Kelly a long time to settle in
Settling in well depends on you doing your part and the people around you being friendly. Sometimes this works really well. But at other times it just will not happen. When Kelly joined a new church and looked for a Bible study group, she was put in a group with people who had been friends together for at least 10 years. While they were polite, they were not interested in being close. After persisting for quite a long time, Kelly found a new group which suited her better.
Tips for being a newbie
If you're settling in to a new place and looking to find friends, then these tips might help:
- Accept that you will have uncomfortable feelings and sit through them. They will eventually go.
- Take risks and be brave.
- Accept invitations to be social.
- Initiate outings, like organising a trip to the movies with people you've just met.
- Go to youth group every week for three terms before you decide to either give up or stay.
- Pray for friendships.
- Try your best to be friendly.
For some extra encouragement, read 2 Timothy 1:7 & 2 Timothy 4:12. Timothy was apparently a shy guy who felt too young for the people around him. How would these verses have helped him? How could they help you when you feel new and alone?