Five small things you can do to make a difference.

Everyone feels lonely at times — even some of the most popular people you know. There are many young people around you who also feel left out and want to make a new friend.

We asked young people from across Colorado what made it easier to connect.

Here’s what they said and how it could help you too:

“When walking in the hallways, it is nice when someone acknowledges you through a smile or a wave.”
– Saloni, 17, Highlands Ranch

Connections and friendships start small! Not every connection is friendship from the start. Little things like smiles, waves in the hallway, loaning a pen or sharing gum during class add up and make a foundation for a new connection. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t immediately click.

“Doing activities involving other people my age.” – Talia, 16, Greenwood Village

After school activities like sports, clubs and volunteering are great ways to meet other people. Virtual activities and video games are great for this too — especially if you live in a rural area, don’t have access to as many activities or if we have to continue social distancing. Activities give a set place and time to spend time with other people you have at least one thing in common with!

“When they listen and you know that you can trust them.” – Peniel, 17, Aurora

If you want to connect, show someone that you care about what they’re saying. Really listen, ask questions and follow up if they mention something like a new show or a competition coming up. Who doesn’t want more friends who listen and want to hear what they have to say?

“Any time I try to distract myself to relax and not think as seriously it is a lot easier to relate.”
– Tyler, 16, Rifle

You got this! If you’re nervous about making a new connection, remember that other people want to connect too. Take a deep breath and try to have fun. You’ll make mistakes, but everyone does. Give yourself some credit for trying.

“The more they try to make new friends, the easier it gets. It’s almost like you have to practice putting yourself out there and making new friends, and the more you do it, the easier it becomes and the better you get at it.” – Lindsey, 18, Longmont

Like any skill, making connections takes practice. Sometimes, you’re not going to click with someone and that’s okay. It doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you or that you’ll never find the friends you’re looking for. Your people are out there, so keep trying.

The number of friends you have doesn’t matter. It’s the quality of the connections that’s important. Some people have lots of relationships with friends, peers, parents or other adults, but you don’t have to have lots of friends to be happy and connected.

It just takes one person who supports you to make a difference.