How to Fit In

Two Parts:Learning about a GroupBeing Social

People are naturally social creatures. It is normal to want to fit in with others because from an evolutionary standpoint, it is what has helped us survive over the years.[1] If you've moved to a new school or just constantly find yourself being the odd-person out, don't be hard on yourself; making friends is a difficult task for people of all ages. At times you find it especially hard to fit in, remember these tips to help you become more socially accepted.

Part 1
Learning about a Group

  1. Image titled Fit In Step 1
    Identify the group that you want to fit in with. Most likely this will be the popular "in"-crowd, but think of specific words that describe the group.[2] This will help you better visualize and organize the things you will need to do to fit in.
    • Use this template: The popular kids are __________. They are best described as __________. They are good at __________, and they like to __________ in their spare time. This sentence may look like this: "The popular kids are football players and cheerleaders. They are best described as energetic, active, physical, and attractive. They are good at playing sports and socializing with others, and they like to party in their spare time."
    • Or, your template may look like this: "The popular kids are choir members and acting students. They are best described as intellectual, funny, charismatic, and quiet. They are good at putting on a show, entertaining others, and making people laugh, and they like to watch movies in their spare time."
    • Popular groups vary from school to school. At your school, athletes may be the most popular. At another school, the environmentally aware may be the most popular. Don't just assume that popular people all behave and show interest in the same things.
  2. Image titled Fit In Step 2
    Be mindful of the social norms at your school. Your desired group is likely appealing because they have strayed from certain behaviors and interests that may not be the most popular among your peers.
    • The target group may be Vegan, and in your school, being "cool" may mean not eating animals or animal products.
    • You will have to decide if the norms the group abides by are things you are actually willing to sacrifice or pursue. Maybe you love eating T-bone steaks and scrambled eggs too much to try to follow that norm.
  3. Image titled Fit In Step 3
    Observe your group to find out what they value most. Look for favorite band T-shirts, instruments, or sports equipment they carry. Eavesdrop a little and find out what topics they discuss most.
    • Be careful while listening to conversations; you don't want to be too apparent, otherwise you may be branded as nosy.
    • You most likely won't have to follow every social norm to gain acceptance. For instance, your group may be Vegan, but being Justin Bieber fans may be the most important aspect of the group's identity.
  4. Image titled Fit In Step 4
    Do physical things which show that you have similar values. For example, if your group is big on school plays, buy a ticket to a performance and greet them if you see them there.
    • If your group loves reading Harry Potter, bring a Harry Potter book to school and read it in class. If they like wearing specific colors, try wearing those colors too. Similarity tends to be the first stepping stone on the path to developing friendship.
    • Imitation is very important when it comes to being likable. This doesn't mean being a robot or clone, but showing others that you aren't so different. Mimicking is actually something that a lot of people do naturally, and people tend to act more favorably to those who copy them.[3]
    • Be honest in your actions and interactions. If doing something feels wrong to you, don't do it to fit in. Remember there are multiple things that people value, and a particular norm or interest may not be that important to the group.
  5. Image titled Fit In Step 5
    Introduce yourself to the group with confidence. Now that you have a rough idea of the group's interests and characteristics, try to make them aware of your presence in a self-assured, non-timid manner.
    • Remember, confidence doesn't mean abrasiveness. Try not to be too forceful or assertive when making acquaintances. This may be off-putting to more reserved individuals.
    • On the other hand, try not to be too shy or bashful if approaching extroverted, socially outgoing people. In this instance, introducing yourself in an enthusiastic, slightly loud manner may do the trick.
    • Instead of approaching the whole group at once, try to catch an individual from the group instead. You could try saying this: "Hi! My name is Cody. I think you and I might have English together 2nd period. You're Astor, right? Yeah, I really like Mr. Morgan's anatomy class too."
  6. Image titled Fit In Step 6
    Join a sports team or club that your group is a part of. Spend some time with group members outside of the classroom and in more casual settings where your personality can really shine through.
    • Try out for the cheerleading squad or join the homecoming committee. Find an organized but laid back event where you can socialize and joke around with your peers.
    • Fitting in isn't just about showing similar interests, but bonding. If you can, find an activity that requires group problem solving and teamwork (sports are especially ideal). People tend to bond easily to others who are united in a common goal.[4]

Part 2
Being Social

  1. Image titled Fit In Step 7
    Tell jokes and smile a lot. Smiles are the universal sign of acceptance and tend to be contagious.[5]
    • Joking is very important in social circles. Smiling and laughing is a universal trait among all people, regardless of their interests.[6]
    • Humor hasn't just been proven to make oneself feel good, it has also been shown to spark positive feelings in others. People prefer others who make them feel good.[7]
    • Using self-deprecating humor is a great way of showing others that you don't take yourself so seriously. Say things like, "I'm so stupid, I tried to do my own hair this morning and I ended up looking like Cruella Deville." Being able to laugh at yourself puts others at ease with themselves.
    • Try to avoid humor that mocks or disparages others unless it is done in a playful atmosphere. Playing "the dozens"[8] with your friends can sometimes be a bonding experience so long as the focus is on humor and not on hurting feelings. Avoid playing insult-based games with peers whom you are not very familiar with, as this can come off as plain rude and offensive.
  2. Image titled Fit In Step 8
    Give sincere compliments to members in your group. Saying flattering things to people tends to make them like you more.
    • Make sure that your compliments are genuine. Saying random, insincere compliments can actually have an opposite effect and make people feel insulted.[9]
    • For example, instead of saying something generic like, "Hey Deb, you're hair is so beautiful," try saying, "Hey Deb, I really love how soft and healthy your hair looks. You have no split ends!"
    • Avoid over-complimenting a person. This is similar to being insincere in that it can make a person feel as though you are complimenting for shallow reasons.
  3. Image titled Fit In Step 9
    Keep the focus on the members of the group. It's okay to talk about yourself once in a while, but for the most part, people love when others make them the center of attention.[10]
    • This is different than putting people on the spot in public. Don't randomly shine the spotlight on members of your group in front of others, as this could be embarrassing or insulting to quieter individuals. Instead, shift discussion to the other person when talking or interacting exclusively.
    • Saying empathetic statements is a good way to shift focus onto others. Saying things like, "I understand how you feel," or "So you liked the concert last night?" are good conversation prompts to get others talking about themselves.[11]
    • Pepper in some personal info and opinions in between empathetic statements. This helps establish similarity and shows the other person you are actually listening.
  4. Image titled Fit In Step 10
    Nod, repeat words back, and use others' names frequently. These are all reassuring behaviors that make others feel comfortable in your presence.
    • Nodding is another behavior that others tend to imitate. Studies have shown that nodding while listening to something makes you more likely to agree with it.[12] If you nod while you talk to others, chances are they will nod back and agree with what you are saying.
    • Repeat words back in paraphrases, not word-for-word. Paraphrasing what others have just told you shows that you are actively listening to them, but repeating things word-for-word can come off like "parroting" and can insult the other person.[13]
    • Names are central to our identity, and hearing our names makes us feel validated as people. As a result, people are more likely to like you for saying their names.[14]
  5. Image titled Fit In Step 11
    Disagree politely, but don't tell others they are wrong. You will often have differing views on certain issues, but there are proper ways to convey your disagreement. Saying someone is wrong is often unnecessary and can be deeply insulting.
    • Instead of saying "James, you are wrong for favoring capital punishment," ask "Why do you believe in capital punishment?" Listen to what they have to say, then seek to understand why they feel that way. Ask, "Why do you believe that? Why do you feel it's right?" Identify a common ground you share with them and then use that as a starting point to explain your position.[15] For example: "I hate crime too, and I think punishments are warranted, but..."
    • This is known as the "Ransberger Pivot," and it works because it increases the chances of persuading others by sharing common ground first.[16] Instead of flat-out disagreeing, you can correct others without them losing face.
  6. Image titled Fit In Step 12
    Stand out. Now that you have gained acceptance by your peers, define yourself in a way that is unique but still in line with your group's identity.
    • Just because you want to fit in doesn't mean you can't excel. If you're the starting point guard on the junior varsity basketball team, wear your letterman jacket with pride. People are drawn to others who are talented but humble. Show pride but don't be cocky.
    • Being different is just as natural as wanting to fit in. Trying to satisfy one by ignoring the other will most likely have bad consequences, so find a good balance for yourself. Embrace what makes you different as well as what makes you similar.


  • Decide your type of attitude like "cool" "friendly" or " funny".
  • Hold your head high.
  • Be yourself.
  • Email and call them.


  • Don't be afraid. That is the worst thing you can do is be afraid and not be confident in yourself.
  • Don't be overbearing and shadow them. That means don't copy, follow, and try too hard with them. You shouldn't have to. And they don't like when people copy and follow them.
  • Don't be shy around them.
  • Don't start any relationships with lies. They will eventually find out what you were lying about and become upset with you.
  • If you won't be yourself, there will be a big mess.
  • Don't try to impress them, they will catch on sooner or later and it will make them not want to be your friend.
  • If you try too hard, they won't be your friend.
  • Don't always try to dress cool. Dress in clothes you feel comfortable in; if you don't even like the clothes, don't wear them!
  • Don't get discouraged if you make an embarrassing move.
  • If they are snotty, it will be a lot harder for you to become their friend.

Sources and Citations

Show more... (13)

Article Info

Categories: Making Friends