Q&A: Questions and Answers


Answers are intended for help and perspective, not as pronouncements of Church doctrine.

I am a shy person. When I’m at school, I’m very quiet, but at home I can’t stop talking. I can make my family smile and laugh, but I need more of a social life. How do I develop good friendships?

New Era

Everyone has moments of shyness when your heart seems to beat too fast and your voice doesn’t seem to work right. Those feelings can make you miserable and can keep you from participating in the ways that you would like to. But with courage and practice and the help of your Heavenly Father, you can overcome your feelings of shyness that keep you from making good friends.

Be yourself. People will tell you to relax and be yourself. What that means, in fact, is to be just the kind of person you are at home in the safety of your family group. Don’t try to be someone else. Those who are sincere are usually the best kind of friends.

Have courage. It’s hard to be the first to say hello or to ask someone new a question, but you need to practice being brave. Yes, that’s right, practice. Anything you practice gets easier. Start slowly. Give yourself small goals. For example, set a goal to say hello to the person sitting behind you in class. You don’t have to say anything else. Just say hello every day. Then set a goal to thank your Sunday School teacher for the lesson. As you accomplish these goals, look for other opportunities to speak to people. It will become easier.

Give others a chance. Give other people a chance to know you better. If they make an effort to talk to you or say hello, make it as easy as possible. If you are in a group, and someone casually asks you to go with the group, don’t hang back thinking that they don’t really mean you. Make it easy to include you.

Have more than one friend. You may be wishing for one close, best friend. But those types of friendships develop over time. Members of a group can be good friends. If you start to become friends with one person, don’t be too clingy or get upset if that person does things with other people and doesn’t always include you. All your life you will have friends of various kinds, some more casual than others. All good friendships are worth having. Don’t be jealous and get angry all the time. You may be close with one person for only a short time, and you may find out that it’s best for you to just be casual friends.

Be positive. Even though you may hear others complaining about things and talking about their problems, it is always so much better to be pleasant. Don’t be negative. Look for the good in every situation. Try to talk positively. There is no such thing as being too nice or too good. It will win you the best kind of friends.

Be prayerful. Your Heavenly Father knows you, and he knows your weaknesses. Turn to him in prayer. He can help you turn your weakness into strength (see Ether 12:27).

Readers

I learned that just smiling and saying hi to everyone can get you started on a friendship. I started to talk with everyone at school like I do with my family. One day when a new girl moved in, I immediately started smiling and talking to her. At first she was shy, but later we developed a wonderful friendship. Now she is my best friend.

Bethany Elliott, 14 South Jordan, Utah

One thing that helped me was asking my Heavenly Father to help me be like the Savior and be friendly to others. I assure you that if you ask your Heavenly Father to help you, he will.

Jeff Nicholas, 16 Round Rock, Texas

Good friendships are a blessing, so start by praying. Pray that you will have more self-confidence. Then smile a lot and be the kind of friend that you want to have. When you are comfortable being yourself, you will be happier and others will want to be around you because happiness is contagious.

Bettijo Boushley, 17 Glendale, Arizona

I have the same problem. You just have to get the courage to ask people questions and get to know them. It was hard at first, but now it is getting easier to talk to people.

Sara Allen, 14 Advance, Indiana

Don’t worry about being friends with everyone. A handful of fond friends means more than hundreds of acquaintances. People always like people who are themselves.

Emily Lopez, 14 Cullman, Alabama

In high school, I was loved at home but very quiet and lonely at school. What I did to build friendships was to get out of my quiet comfort zone, and also I got involved in school activities, band, drama, and other programs. When I got involved, my social life grew and I had a better time at school and at home.

Elder Owen B. Thompson, 19 Jamaica Kingston Mission

Speak always with kind and uplifting words. Seek opportunities to become somebody’s friend. You’ll find some fun and wholesome friends in no time. You may even pray to find a good circle of friends. But remember, it takes effort!

Elleny Olsen, 14 Las Vegas, Nevada

If you have a good attitude and show that you care about others, they will like you. It’s important to have a good sense of humor. Be fun to be with and be able to laugh at yourself.

Nat Spindler, 15 North Las Vegas, Nevada

To develop a good friendship takes time and effort. Try to be a good example to everyone because someone is always watching. People will soon notice your good spirit and want to be your friend.

Taneal Raven, 16 Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

[photo] Photography by Welden Andersen. Posed by models.

[illustration] Enoch, who became a great prophet, at first felt that all the people hated him (see Moses 6:31). But the Lord told him he had a work to do, and Enoch obeyed. You may not be called as a prophet, but when you accept that your Heavenly Father loves you as much as any of his other children, it will help you be more confident among your peers. (Painting City of Zion Being Taken to Heaven by Del Parson.)