Deciding to participate in a teen tour is one of the most awesome, life-changing choices that you will ever make. It can also be intimidating to leave your friends and family behind as you embark on your new adventure, but that alone shows bravery in your willingness to try something all on your own.
Meeting a group of brand new people, especially when some of them might already know each other from back home, is never easy, but it doesn’t have to be difficult either. If you are feeling a bit nervous about meeting people on your teen tour, whether it’s your first or your fifth, then these tips will help you muster the courage to step outside of your comfort zone and make new friends every step of the way.
Most of the other teens on your tour are in the exact same boat as you. Even the people who seem the most confident might be afraid of meeting new people or being disliked. What you need to remember is that you are all there for the same reason – for travel and adventure and, get this, to make new friends. You already know that you at least have those common interests, so keep calm, carry on, and let the friend making begin!
“Now this is more like it! Who said traveling alone had to be scary?”
Make the First Move
It is not easy to put yourself out there. We totally get that, but someone has to make the first move, otherwise, how will you get to find out and talk about all of the awesome stuff that you have in common? Starting up a conversation, no matter how scary it might seem at first, will make your trip way more enjoyable. Your counselors are also awesome people to chat with if you are still nervous about talking with the other teens and they are also great at helping groups to break the ice and get to know each other. The boundless opportunities to start chatting with fellow teens will get easier and easier as your trip continues and trust us, you will be so happy that you made an effort to get to know your fellow teen travelers by the end of it!
“Take the plunge and ask someone to join you!”
Give a Compliment
If you’re not sure what to say to another teen when you first meet them, noticing something that you like about them and sharing it with him or her is a great way to start a conversation. Always be sure to be honest and genuine when you give a compliment. Even if you’re complimenting something very small – like the person’s nail polish or their passport cover – it’s likely to be appreciated. Plus, it feels pretty great if you get a compliment back!
“Love your outfit! Can I borrow that fan sometime?”
Be a Good Listener and Ask Questions
Everyone likes to know that they are being heard and that their ideas are appreciated. By being a good listener, you let other teens know that you value what they have to say as well as who they are as people. It’s also important to make eye contact as well as to ask questions about what they are saying. This is a great way to get to know people better and for them to get to know you as well.
“Check out that mountain scenery! Have you ever been in the Alps before?”
As cliché as this sounds, it is oh, so true. Everyone worries about not being liked or people thinking that they are weird, but so what? You will be surprised to find out just how many other teens are going through the exact same thing! Be yourself, speak your mind, do your thing, and you are bound to attract kindred spirits. If someone doesn’t like you for you, that’s okay. Not everyone is going to be best friends, though we have to remain respectful of others, whether during our trip or during the rest of the year. Be the way that you were born to be!
“Nothing says step out of your comfort zone and be yourself better than a good old fashioned mud bath!”
Just when you thought it couldn’t get more cliché! But hey, sometimes using clichés works the best, and we know that’s a fact when it comes to laughter. Don’t hold back when it comes to your sense of humor, especially when it comes to experiencing a very foreign situation and making the most of it by being able to laugh about it. Laughter is a key ingredient to successful friendships and successful teen trips and should always be welcomed with open arms.
“I don’t even know what we are laughing about, but she’s taking a picture so let’s keep it up!”
Develop and Continue Your Friendships
The friends who you make during your teen tour will share an experience with you that few others at home will ever understand. It is important to maintain these friendships long after your trip has come to an end, especially when you find yourself reminiscing about your travels and you need to talk to someone who “gets it.” While you might only get to spend a few short weeks with your new friends, if you make an effort, your bonds will last well beyond the summer and some will even continue for the rest of your lives.
“Let’s promise to be friends forever.”