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I'm 14 years old and I'm doing competitive ski racing.

This year, I moved up into an older ski group (U16). All my friends from the past year either quit ski racing to get a job, or they didn't move up to U16 and are still doing another year of U14.

So this year in my level there are 4 other guys. They are all really good friends and hang out together a lot. For the past few days I've been trying to hang out with them and become friends with them. Unfortunately I'm pretty bad at making friends and I'm a bit quieter. Because of this, they usually just tease me and don't want to hang out with me and usually just ditch me on the chair lift (I don't necessary blame them).

One of the guys is my age, and the other 3 are a year older than me. The only thing we have in common is ski racing, none of them go to my school or have other similar interests. They would be considered the "popular" guys and I'm the quiet kid/the not as popular guy.

The ski season is 6 months long, and on the average week we ski 3-4 long days, plus some times a night after school.

So I don't have much time to hang out with my good friends from school because I'm either skiing or trying to catch up with homework.

Also I don't do well with being alone for long periods of time, so if I have to up alone on the chairlift almost every time for multiple days a week, it will probably begin to drive me insane very quickly.

The Question

How can I try to become friends with the other 4 guys without seeming weird? And if I am completely unable to do this, how should I attempt to get through the next 6 months of isolation without going completely insane?

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    "there is me who is the quiet kid/looser" - I wouldn't recommend calling yourself a looser. It's just happened that you're more quiet kind of person. And there's no 'loose' part in this. Just a friendly notice :). – user2851843 Nov 13 '17 at 7:32
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    Quite unrelated but: Please don't do stupid stuff to gain their "respect". You'll regret it 100%. – Fildor Nov 13 '17 at 16:06
  • "quit ski racing to get a job" Wait, what? With being 14 or 15 years old? I am confused, which country is this were 15 year olds ditch school to get a job? – dirkk Nov 14 '17 at 23:05
  • @dirkk I should’ve of specified, it’s a weekend job. So they won’t be skipping school. – Matthew N Nov 14 '17 at 23:08
  • Step one, don't say or think things like "I'm pretty bad at making friends" or "I don't necessary blame them [for ditching me]". Even THINKING those things will put a negative 'aura' (or whatever you want to call it) around you, which many people can pick up on. Just keep telling yourself how great you are (because YOU ARE!), and be nice. – user3316 Nov 15 '17 at 22:24
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There's some good advice here already, but there are a couple things I would add.

  1. Approach one person at a time, not the whole group. If you can start a conversation with one guy (such as via a compliment + question, as cheshire suggests), then he can provide you with a good "in" for the rest of the group. If it goes well, he might even invite you to join them in some activity; even if he doesn't, the others will notice him talking with you and be more likely to talk with you also later. Trying to address all four of them simultaneously will be much less effective. Imagine walking up to the four of them and saying to no one in particular "Hey guys. Nice skiing back there! What did you think about that turn at the end?" You'll almost certainly get blank looks and/or monosyllabic replies. But if you approach one guy, make eye contact and smile, use his name, and then ask your question, he'll be much more likely to actually talk with you. Note that the best thing is if you can get one of them when they're not actively talking to anyone else --- if the four of them are all in the middle of a conversation, it will be hard for you to break into it even if you do address one of them specifically.

  2. Show positivity and happiness --- smile! :) Look for what's pleasant, amusing, or fun in what's going on and genuinely enjoy it. If you're happy and having a good time, they'll be much more interested in bringing you into the group. And, as a bonus, even if these guys turn out to be jerks that either won't hang out with you or you don't want to hang out with them, practicing finding joy in what you're doing can help you make the best of a lousy situation.

  3. Look for opportunities to engage in reciprocity. In particular, look for little ways you can ask one of them for help, advice, or a favor. Helping someone creates a bond with them, and they'll be more likely to want to help you / engage with you again later. Even little tiny things ("Hey, could you grab my pole for me? It's just behind you there.") can help build up a bond. If you see opportunities for you to do something nice for one of them, that's also great. But keep in mind that if they're still acting kind of cold toward you, they're probably more likely to help you than to accept help from you (people are weird that way). Whenever one of them does help you or do something nice for you, make eye contact, smile, and say thank you.

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Compliments are always a good way to make friends. Since you're training, try to find a skill or technique one of the guys is good at, get the courage to ski up to him at the bottom of the hill after you've seen him perform the skill and say,

Hey! You're so awesome at X! Can you go over your technique on the ride up?

This gives you a chairlift buddy and builds a connection.

Joking is also an easy icebreaker. You could crack a joke at yourself* to the group if you've just had a bad run,

Did you guys see that run?! I must've looked like a total gaper

I am a quiet person too and find it difficult to open up and make connections and friendships easily. It takes time for me to feel fully comfortable but keep trying to make conversations to build the relationships. Overtime you may become great friends with these guys, they just need to get to know you and you them.

Do keep in mind, if this group is not inviting whatsoever and try exclude you, you're better off without them. It can get lonely but pushing through will make you stronger. You seem passionate about skiing and seem to be doing well at a young age. Keep your focus on that passion and let it drive you. Do not let the sour attitude of those around you prevent you from accomplishing your goals.


*I would discourage your from making a joke about one of the guys or someone else as it's in poor taste, however, if messing around with each other is common among the group, it could be a way to insinuate yourself with them

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If you want to be friends with them, just ask them that clearly. If you feel scared or something, just calm your nerves, and go talk to them. (You shouldn't necessarily use the words "can we be friends" though...)

Friends can only be made by actually spending time together, or hanging out with them, whatever you call it. If they are nice people (not bullies), then they probably won't have any problems with you.

However, at the end, it's you who will have to approach them, as they won't approach you seeing that you normally don't talk much.

If you fail to do this, you could actually think of adopting a new hobby that you can do anywhere (like reading books, playing games on your phone, etc.)

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    With these guys if I were to go and ask to be friends I’m pretty sure they’d just assume I’m weird. On the ski hill there is no place to keep a book with us, and the coaches take away our phones at the beginning of the day and we only get it back at the end of the day. But thanks for the suggestions and the advice – Matthew N Nov 12 '17 at 0:32
  • @MatthewN What do you think you can do about it? Perhaps that will be the best thing for you to do. Go ahead and let us know. :) – user157 Nov 12 '17 at 0:37
  • Also, you can look at these questions: interpersonal.stackexchange.com/questions/6/… and interpersonal.stackexchange.com/questions/221/… – user157 Nov 12 '17 at 0:52

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