Back in my years of elementary and middle school, friends were the most important thing in life. I wouldn’t dream of signing up for an activity without one of my friends, and when I did, it seemed I never had as much fun as I did with my school friends.
One particular experience that comes to mind when thinking of this, is dance. When I was in second grade, a friend of mine invited me to come dance with her at her studio. It was initially pretty fun, but a few years later she no longer danced while I continued. Don’t get me wrong, I loved performing at the recitals, but in general the last 4 years of my dance career weren’t that fun. I had no friends, and I was terrible at trying to make new friends. I was a super shy and quiet girl, and almost all the other girls went to the same school and had tight knit groups already formed.
This accounted for quite a few crappy nights at dance rehearsal, spent alone even though I was completely surrounded by others. Eventually this among a few other things, such as the fact that I couldn’t do a pirouette to save my life, led me to quit dance. This experience made me think that extracurricular activities are only fun unless you do them with friends.
In middle school I began playing the flute, and realized it was something I really loved to do, but right before my freshman year of high school, all my friends in band decided to quit. I had no idea what to do. I didn’t really want to go into high school band with no friends. On the other hand, I didn’t want to give up band and playing flute. This brings us to where I was forced to revisit the idea of being involved in an activity in which I had no friends in.
Now, if you can imagine, this was very hard for me. Making new friends can be stressful for anyone, but it’s even worse if you are extremely shy! Pushing through those first few weeks of band, and all the awkwardness that comes along with meeting new people, however, was completely worth it. I was able to make several new friends who I shared a common interest of band with. In fact, a few of them happen to be some of my best friends!
Next time you have an opportunity to do something, do it because YOU want to. Of course, doing a new thing is easier when you already have people with you that you know; but how will you ever meet new people who could potentially be really awesome? Don’t do activities because your friends are doing them. Take the risk and meet new people that share enthusiasm for something you enjoy! It’s one of the best ways to make new friends!