BFF or NRF (Not Really Friends)? A Girls Guide to Happy Friendships, By Jessica Speer (Book Excerpt)

Chapter 9: Making New Friends

Sophie’s Story—Always the New Kid

“My mom has a job that makes our family move almost every year. I’ve been to four schools already. Just when I get used to a new town, new school, and new friends, I have to start over.

I get really worried each time I start a new school. I wonder how hard it’ll be to meet new friends. I wonder if the kids at my new school will like me. But even though my stomach’s all tied in knots, I try to smile and be friendly. I figure nobody wants to be friends with a grump. The first few days are kind of lonely and awkward, but then it gets better and I meet some new friends.”

At some time or another, everyone needs to make new friends. Possibly your best friend moves away, or you realize a close friendship is unhealthy. Starting over and finding new friends can feel scary, so here are some tips to help:

  • Know what kind of friend you want to have and be that kind of friend.
  • Be friendly, confident, and positive.
  • Smile, say hello, and ask questions to get to know kids—people are naturally drawn to positive, confident people, so let your true self shine!
  • Do more of what you enjoy to meet people.
  • Take a class, join a sports team, or hangout at the library.

What to Say When You Meet Someone New

Say you join a team and don’t know anyone, or you’re at a party and only know the host—how do you start a conversation with someone you don’t know? Follow these steps and you’ll be meeting new kids in no time!

  • Say “hello” and smile.
  • Ask some questions. (How long have you been playing soccer? How do you know the birthday girl?)
  • Share about you.

Making New Friends: What Would You Do

Read each scenario below and write what you’d do in that situation to make a new friend. Remember, people are draw to positive, friendly people, so smile and say hi! And most kids love to share about themselves, so asking questions is a great way to start a conversation.

New Kid on the Team: You start a new sport and don’t know anyone on the team. All the other kids seem to know each other really well.

Time for a New Friend: You realize that your best friendship is unhealthy, and you need to take a break for a while. It’s time to make a new friend.

Birthday Party Awkward Moment: Your mom drops you off at a birthday party and the only person you know is the birthday girl, but she’s really busy.

No Friends in Class: It’s the first day of school and you end up in a class with a bunch of kids you don’t know.

Super-Duper Important: Everyone has to start over and make new friends at times. Use this time to think about what qualities you like in friends and what qualities friends like in you. Explore your interests, join a team, or take a class to meet new friends too.


Chapter 10: Taking Care of Yourself During Rough Patches

Friendships are wonderful, but they can also be hard. Even the best friendships have rough patches. How do you take care of yourself when you’re feeling blue?

Daphne’s Story—Hidden Feelings

“My family’s really cheerful, which is mostly awesome. But when I was feeling sad or frustrated, like when school’s really hard, I didn’t know what to do. I thought bad feelings were bad and that I shouldn’t be having them. So I hid my feelings from my family and pretended everything was okay. But eventually the feelings would burst out and surprise everyone.” 

When we’re hurt or sick, we know to apply a band aid, visit a doctor, or rest. But, when we feel big emotions—like sadness, anger, or loneliness—we forget to take care of ourselves. Taking care of our emotional health is just as important as taking care of our physical health. Remember, all emotions are okay, even the uncomfortable ones.

Here are some ways girls take care of themselves when they’re feeling low:

  • I talk to my aunt. She’s really good at listening and making me feel better. (Miranda)
  • I write in my journal. When I write my feelings down, it helps me to sort them out. (Kali)
  • I take my dog for a walk and get some exercise. (Lucy)
  • I relax in my room and put on my favorite songs. (Claire)
  • I draw or do an art project. Being creative makes me feel calm and gives me time to think. (AJ)

Daphne’s Story—Hidden Feelings, Continued…

“Last year, a lady visited my class and talked about emotions. She talked about all types of feelings and explained that every emotion is okay, even the tough ones. She helped us think of ways to manage tough emotions in a healthy way. So now, when I notice I’m bottling up my feelings, I write in my journal instead. This helps me get the feelings out and start to feel better.”

Create Your Own “Taking Care of Me” Ritual

What makes you feel better when you’re feeling down? Creating a ritual to take care of your emotional health helps in tough times. A ritual is a set of activities done in a certain way. Possibly talking with a trusted adult and then taking a bubble bath will help you begin to feel better? Or maybe going for a walk and then writing in your journal?

What ritual would help you take care of yourself when you’re feeling low?


About Jessica: Jessica Speer’s book, BFF or NRF (Not Really Friends)? A Girls Guide to Happy Friendships grew out of her friendship program that strengthens social awareness and helps kids learn to navigate common struggles. She has a master’s degree in social sciences and explores social-emotional topics in ways that connect with pre-teens and teens. Packed with fun quizzes, colorful illustrations, and stories about girls just like you, BFF or NRF (Not Really Friends)? A Girls Guide to Happy Friendships is the ultimate interactive guidebook to help readers learn the ins and outs of friendship. For more information, visit

Copyright 2021 By Familius Publishing

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