Don’t you hate it when you’re the newbie? Whether it be a new school, work environment, church, or those initial hangouts with friends of a friend, getting to know a new group can be awkward. I take that back, it’s always awkward. Whether it starts off that way, or I make it that way, there’s always a little awkwardness sprinkled in for me. Eventually, I find my place, but until then I’m floundering trying to hurry and get there.
We’ve all been the newcomer at some point and have had that uneasy feeling of trying to figure out how we fit in. For me, it’s typically a far cry from movies where the new girl is the cool girl and everyone is immediately interested in getting to know her…Yeah…does that happen to anyone in real life? Ever? Bueller?…Bueller?….
Often times, we become established in a group and the sticky start is nothing but a faint memory. We forget what it was like to be the new one, so we’re sloppy when it comes to welcoming in someone new. Many times we unintentionally say or do things that make them feel excluded or outright invisible. However, since I completely despise the new, out-of-place feeling SO much and have experienced it countless times (probably all due to my own insecurities), I think I’ve turned into a semi-pro when it comes to making sure others don’t feel that way…at least not on an amplified level. I’m making this out to be way more dramatic than it typically is, but man…sometimes when you’re suddenly part of a new group that feels more like a clique than potential friends, it can leave you feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and wondering how you could ever possibly feel comfortable around them. So, I’m here to inspire you to pay attention to those uncomfortable newcomers and make them feel welcomed to your friend group, office, workout class…whatever!
How to Make Newcomers Feel Welcomed
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen someone blow off a new person all because they don’t think about making them feel like part of a group, don’t know how, or simply (and sadly) don’t care about making them feel welcomed. If you can relate but aren’t exactly sure how to be that comfort a newcomer is typically desperate for, I’ve put together 10 simple tips on how to make others feel welcomed in the group you’re already familiar with.
This is by far the best and easiest way to make someone feel welcomed. Since smiling is contagious, they’ll smile, too, and will immediately be put at ease while thinking,
“Ah, a friendly face. Thank God.”
Look at y’all…already becoming friends and bonding from a distance. SO SWEET.
You just made a great first impression!
2.) Introduce Yoself!
Look, when you see someone new, don’t just sit back and wait ‘til they come to you. Remember how uncomfortable it is being the newcomer and go introduce yourself!
Also! When you get their name, repeat it and try to use it at least once in conversation. This not only helps you remember their name, but it shows that you a.) are paying attention to them and b.) actually care to know it!
3.) Ask Questions
We all love talking about ourselves, so be sure to ask open-ended questions that’ll help you get to know the new person and will allow them to relax more quickly.
Listen to their answers and ask a few follow-up questions. They’ll loosen up in no time.
4.) Keep Eye Contact
Keep eye contact, but don’t be creepy about it lol Ya know, don’t stare them down, but keep enough that they know you’re listening and are interested in what they have to say.
Although I’m guilty of it, I hate it when I’m talking to someone and I see them looking all around. Even if they’re innocently distracted and are truly listening to me, it appears like they aren’t and I immediately feel like I’m uninteresting or am boring them. (Totally aware of my weirdo, overanalyzing tendencies!)
So, keep a respectful amount of eye contact and do your best to let them know you care.
5.) Give a Compliment
It’s generally pretty easy to give someone a compliment, so go for it! Whether you brag on something they’re wearing or their accent, orrrr really anything! Just be sincere. If you literally don’t like anything they’re wearing, or can’t think of anything to say that’s genuine, don’t say anything. Saying you like something just to say it is a TOTAL Regina George move.
6.) Lend an Invitation
Invite them to lunch, to get coffee, to sit with you…whatever it may be. Although it might infringe on your plans of the juicy conversations you were going to have with someone at lunch, consider holding off on that discussion for a bit longer and invite the newbie to tag along! It’s SUCH a kind gesture and will be greatly appreciated.
7.) Avoid Gossip
One sure-fire way to make me wanna run from people I just met is when they start talking smack about others right away. Talking about others makes you seem untrustworthy and rude. Definitely not starting off on the right foot with that one. Avoid gossip at all costs. If they ask for your opinion on someone, just stay as neutral as you can…at least until you get to know them a little better.
8.) Be Inclusive
When you’re in a group with a new person, be inclusive! If you notice everyone talking about something the newcomer can’t have an input on, try to get everyone to tell the story to the new person, or explain the topic to them. This way, they’re included.
Countless times I’ve heard established groups tell a newbie, “You’re so quiet!” Buuut how can they say much if they have no idea what everyone else is discussing?
Try to direct the conversation in a way that’s inclusive, maybe ask them a related question, or try to change the group subject altogether. And when you’re speaking or telling a story, be sure to make eye contact with everyone in the group so that everyone feels acknowledged and included in the conversation.
So many times a lack of inclusiveness is how people feel left out and frustrated. Everyone is talking about something they can’t relate to and no one seems to care, so they just continue to suffocate in awkwardness.
9.) Be Relatable
In any way you can, relate to the newcomer! Relating is a great way to make a newcomer feel at ease. The most obvious way to be relatable is to just talk about how you know how much it can suck being the new person and that they’ll find their place in no time.
10.) Don’t Crowd Them
As much as I love a welcome committee to greet me at the door and escort me around to make sure I feel included…not everyone is like that. Don’t feel like you’ve got to babysit the new person. They may very well feel overwhelmed and want to blend into the background to observe for a while.
Make sure they know you’re there if they need a friend, though.
It’s such a relief when someone snags your title of the ‘newbie,’ but don’t let it go to your head and leave your replacement to fend for themselves. Many times in a group setting, it’s so easy for us to get caught up in our conversations to even realize there’s someone new, much less put forth effort to make sure they feel welcome. You know you’ll be a newcomer again someday, so make the effort and be the friendly face that newcomer is without a doubt searching for.
mp3February 9, 2021
Incredible points. Sound arguments. Keep up the amazing work. Mimi Reinold Lionel