‘Small talk’ expert shares tips on making friends in new school year

“No matter if you are in high school or college, everyone’s a little nervous on the first day of classes. It’s natural, especially if you are new to the school,” says Don Gabor, “small talk” expert and author of the updated and newly revised book, How to Start a Conversation and Make Friends.
The trick to getting over those awkward silent moments is to be the first to break the ice and start a conversation. “As the saying goes,” Gabor points out, “it’s not what you say– it’s how you say it. Once the conversation gets going, then both of you will feel more at ease and open to getting to know one another better.”
Here are several more tips for making and keeping friends.

10 steps for making and keeping friends
1. Be the first to say hello and introduce yourself.
2. Ask a question, make a light comment, or offer a sincere compliment.
3. Listen and ask follow-up questions about what interests you.
4. Reveal information so a new friend knows your interests.
5. Talk about common interests and experiences.
6. Spend time together in school studying, eating lunch, or playing a sporting activity.
7. Introduce a new friend to some of your other friends.
8. Work on a school project together.
9. Spend time together outside of school.
10. Talk via email, on social networks, the telephone and face-to-face as much as possible.

10 tips to win friends for life
F = Find friends who share your interests.
R = Respect your friend’s feelings and opinions.
I = Invite a new friend to join you and your other friends in fun activities.
E = Encourage friendly conversation and openness.
N = Never reveal a friend’s secret– to anyone!
D = Don’t drop old friends for new friends.
S = Stand up for your friend if someone else puts him or her down.
H = Have patience with your friends.
I = Increase the amount of time you spend together.
P = Patch up little spats before they turn into major arguments.

Don Gabor was the 2010-2011 president of the New York City chapter of the National Speakers Association.

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