Inside: Use this role playing to meet new friends printable to help kids practice different ways to break the ice and meet a potential new friend.
I took my kids to the park and I started to panic because I couldn’t find my youngest.
But I shouldn’t have worried.
She was only in search of a new friend and had already found one and they were playing together on the other side of the playground.
My youngest daughter makes friends wherever we go.
A trip to the beach? She finds a friend.
A vacation? She finds a friend.
A trip to the park? She finds a friend.
We have a long-standing family joke my youngest daughter can make friends with a rock.
But my other daughter? She often held back and struggled to make friends because it never came naturally to her the way it did with my youngest daughter.
But one thing that helped her was practicing to meet new friends with role playing.
How Role Playing Can Help Meet New Friends
For some kids, it can feel easy to walk up to someone and strike up a conversation.
But for everyone else, they can feel anxious to talk to someone new you don’t know yet.
It can feel overwhelming to walk into a room or a playground and not feel comfortable because you don’t know anyone.
But if you practice ahead of time with your kids and give them the words to interact with peers in a positive way, they’ll feel more at ease when talking with peers in real life.
When we practice anything enough times, from a baseball swing to meeting a new friend, it feels more natural in the moment when it matters.
We then of course have to teach them what makes a true, good friend and that not everyone we meet will become our best friend.
Because true, good friends are essential to our mental health.
When we find someone who likes us for us, friends help us feel like we belong, they bully-proof us, and they give us self-confidence.
How to Use the Role Playing to Meet New Friends
1. Use these role playing suggestions with your kids, a few at a time. Download and print it out (download below).
2. Each time you practice, practice with one suggestion of how to meet a new friend: ask to join in, offer to include others, look for similarities, be vulnerable and open, ask about them, or give a compliment.
Remind them they “could” say these lines, rather than they “should” say these lines to empower them in the moment. When we give them options so they choose the line that feels the most natural to them, they’ll have more confidence.
3. Start by going first and suggesting you “play” them, a person who will try to meet a new friend. Model how to use a strong voice so other people can hear you without mumbling.
4. After they see how it’s done and gain some confidence by watching you, you can switch roles and they can practice a few of the lines.
5. The next time you practice, choose a different way to meet a new friend and try new lines.
6. Remind them to try these lines in a natural way when they see someone new they’d like to meet. Not all of the lines will feel good to them or like a good fit, but they can choose any of the lines they had practiced to get them started.
Ask to Join In:
Hi, I’m ______. Can I join you?
Hi, I’m _____. Can I sit here?
Can I play?
Offer to Include Others:
Do you want to sit here?
You can be my partner.
Would you like to play with me?
Look for Similarities:
I love ____ too. Can we play together?
____ is my favorite ____team, too.
I like your _____. I have a similar one.
Be Vulnerable and Open:
I don’t really know anyone, can I sit here?
I’m new here. Can I join you?
I don’t have a partner. Can I be your partner?
Ask About Them (Ask open-ended questions, not yes/no questions):
What’s your favorite _____?
What do you do for fun?
What books do you like to read/games do you like to play?
Give a Compliment:
I like your _____.
You’re really good at _____.
Great job at _____.
The best time to use this role playing to meet new friends:
These role playing lines are a good start, but to give them a better chance of working, there are a few key points kids also need to know about making friends and meeting people:
1. Try to meet a new friend and strike up a conversation when there’s just one kid. Trying to join a group of kids, a pair of kids, or a trio of kids is much, much trickier.
2. Choose a kid to meet who smiles at you or smiles at other people. Reach out to the kind kids.
3. If they’re not sure who to strike up a conversation with, in private, ask the teacher who they think would be a good match for a friendship. Teachers know who the kind kids are and can offer a suggestion. This is invaluable if you’re new to the school.
4. Find someone you know and ask them to bring you into the group to get to know more people. It’s easier to join an already established group of friends if you know at least one person in the group.
5. If it doesn’t work out, that’s okay because not everyone you meet with will become your friend.
Making new friends and meeting new people can feel hard and overwhelming.
But all it takes is one small conversation, one compliment, one question, or one connection to potentially meet a new friend.
And that feels exciting.
Because new friends, whether you’re only friends just for the day at the park or friends for the rest of your life, are invaluable.