How to Not to Be Shy at a New School

Starting at a new school is difficult for many people, not just for those who are shy. Yet, being shy can make it hard to feel that it's okay to reach out to others you don't know. However, if you view this as a great opportunity rather than something to be afraid of, you have the chance to learn a lot about many people, some of whom are likely to become your new friends. Start your new school with the right attitude and an expectation that things will turn out just fine for you.


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    Be well prepared. Remove any worries that you might have about the first day by being ready for the day. Have all of the books and stationery organized the week before, know your classrooms and the school layout (visit the week before if possible) and have all of your clothes washed and ready for the week ahead. By being well prepared, you can help yourself to feel in control of the things you can be in control of, and this can reduce feelings of anxiety.
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    Concentrate on good presentation. Iron your clothes, match them well and have clean and tidy shoes. Groom yourself nicely, to have neat hair and a clean face. When you present yourself neatly, people make good assumptions and it gives you a boost of confidence.
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    Aim to be confident, even if you're feeling nervous. Think about the good things ahead, such as making new friends, getting assigned new subjects and learning amazing new things. There will also be clubs, after-school activities, sports and school team activities for you to become a part of, allowing you to meet new people who might turn into new friends.
    • It's okay to feel nervous. This is normal and it's something that every person experiences when doing something new. Try to balance the nerves with some excitement about what is ahead for you in the new school session.
    • Breathe deeply and slowly to help control any butterflies you experience at school during those first days.
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    Remind yourself that you'll soon be very familiar with the school, perhaps within a week. It doesn't take long to get to know where everything is and to learn your new timetable. It may seem like a big deal to begin with but it can help to visualize the following week and weeks after, when you'll be very familiar with all of the places and it'll feel like a normal routine. Visualizing this can help you to feel more comfortable about the beginning.
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    Act your natural self. Try to stay relaxed and comfortable. The first days at a new school are about being observant, neutral and respectful. Be friendly to everyone, just saying hello and smiling kindly a lot. Nobody knows you yet, so it's fine for you to avoid lengthy or in-depth conversations and just stick to the standard pleasantries of introducing yourself and saying hello.
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    Introduce yourself to other people. Don't wait for others to do this first. Many other people are shy too, and even if you feel really shy, it's a gesture of respect and kindness to reach out and just say hello. Remember that you're not being asked to give a speech or even have a long conversation, just to say hello for now, and to tell people who you are.
    • Don't be afraid to mention that you feel shy if the time feels right. Other people may have the same feelings as you, and many people may be understanding. You could say something like: "I am a little nervous about starting at a new school and I feel a bit shy. I don't mean to be this quiet but it's a lot for me to take in. I am looking forward to getting to know everyone and the routine soon."
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    Speak clearly. Look at the person in the eye when speaking. If you avoid eye contact, you can make the other person feel uncomfortable. By speaking clearly and being willing to make eye contact, then you give yourself a good chance of being listened to and of making some connections with others.
    • Don't wait for people to come to you. Instead, go up to them and ask if you can join in. If you wait, chances are that many people will get set firmly in their group early on and won't approach you.
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    Know what to say ahead of meeting people. Half the battle with shyness is worrying about what to say to other people. This can be dealt with even before you go back to school by thinking about what things to talk to others about and coming up with a quick rundown of who you are and what things you like to do. Other things to consider when you talk to others include:
    • Ask what their favorite band is. Discuss a movie or the weather. All that basic stuff.
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    • Use humor. Are you funny? The best way to win others over is either to make them laugh, or be nice.
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    • Make sure to laugh at other people's jokes, it helps them to feel appreciated and helps you each to feel comfortable.
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    Take your time to make good friends. Getting to know others slowly is a good way of ensuring that the people you think might become new friends are definitely people you'll be comfortable around. Remember that everyone is like you, wanting to make friends.
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    Talk to your teacher about your shyness if it impacts your classwork or interactions within class. Your teacher will be able to suggest some activities and techniques to help you to feel more comfortable and at ease.


  • Smile a lot. Try to never frown or scowl.
  • Remember details and make sure to catch others' names the very first time you meet.
  • Get used to this. You'll need these skills when you're older, such as when you start a new job or are having a job interview.
  • First impressions are important, you'll only get one!
  • Don't be silent. Be chatty but listen in class. It is important to show your true personality on the first day. So be yourself, though it might seem like a cliché.
  • Be excited about group work in class. It's a chance to talk a little about yourself, your interests and to learn about other people and their interests.


  • Sometimes you'll have the misfortune to come up against the school bully or someone who is just feeling mean or in a bad mood. Don't let this get you down; this person is probably well known as a spoilsport by others. If they tease you for being shy, either ignore them, or say something like: "Shy people are the coolest people when you get to know them", to put the challenge out there for that person to get to know you before judging you.
  • If you are still very nervous after a week or if you got off to a bad start and find people are being mean to you, talk to a trusted adult for advice and help.

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Categories: Back to School