How do I find Christian friends in public high school?

Nickname/Alias: cb

Subject: finding friends in a public school

Message: Hi. I'm a 7th day Adventist going to a public high school. I don't have that many friends and it's just hard going through school with not many people to talk to. I'd like to talk to people form my church but I only see them once a week. I'm Filipino with strict parents and I am an only child. It's so hard to express myself and make friends and I just feel like i'm really misunderstood. Some people at school call me weird for not going to parties on the weekends because I have church. I want to have christian friends.... I just don't know where to look. I feel really alone but I know God has a plan. Any advice for me?

It can be hard to make friends—especially the kind of friends who really get you, accepts you for who you are, enjoys hanging and laughing and talking and is there for you when you need someone to talk to. But it’s something every one of us longs for. There are probably a lot of other kids at your school feeling just like you. Wanting friends who accept them, but feeling really alone and misunderstood.

You may not go to parties on the weekends, so look for opportunities during the week. Does your school have clubs or teams that interest you? Join one. You’ll meet and work with people who are interested in the same thing you are—so a good place to find friends who have similar interests. Sharing an activity together, especially an ongoing activity can help naturally build friendships.

I know it’s hard, but reach out to people. Say hello. Smile at people. Compliment them—honestly, not fake. Invite someone to do something with you. It can be as simple as having lunch with you, working on homework together or doing something you enjoy doing—like going for a run, creating a craft, or some other activity that you enjoy. Hanging out while involved in something makes it less awkward and hard to make conversation. It will naturally come. I know it’s hard to be the one to walk up to someone new and ask them to do something—what if they say no? But really, what if they do? How hard would it be? Could you just smile and walk away? Maybe they’re just waiting for someone to reach out to them, too.

Are there ways to get together with friends from church during the week? Maybe try connecting with other young people at church through text or Snapchat or messaging as a first step. Then try planning an activity together. Invite them to your house for pizza and a movie.

There are all levels of friendships. Acquaintance friends who you know and say hey to, but don’t really know much about. Good friends who you hang out with and talk to at school or church. Best friends who are there no matter what and really know and care about you. Value the friendships that you do have. Make sure to put time and energy into them. A couple of close friends who get you is better than having lots of friends that you don’t really know.

And this may sound like a “church” answer, but pray about it. Really. God cares about you and wants you to have friendships. He created us with a need for connecting with others. He created the idea of family and friends. And He calls us friend. He wants to be your friend. That’s not the same as having a friend to talk to and hang out with, but you can tell Him everything that matters to you. Talk to Him about your desire for friendships and ask Him to help you. He can give you the courage to reach out to others. And He can send people your way.

So figure out where and how you can meet new people who are interested in things you enjoy. Join a group/club/team. Be the first one to start a conversation—just a simple one, like “Hi, I love that sweater!” Smile at people. Trust God to give you courage to reach out.

Erica Jones