As the I'm A Celeb stars enter the camp - 8 ways to make new friends

18th Nov 18 | Lifestyle

You might not be off to the jungle, but there are lots of similarly scary social situations IRL, experts tell Jenny Stallard.

Meeting new people can be challenging (Thinkstock/PA)

A new set of celebrities are on their way to the I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! camp, to battle it out to be crowned King or Queen of the jungle 2018.

While the challenges they’ll face will be scary – from dealing with creepy crawlies, taking on aerial challenges and eating animal parts – perhaps the most daunting of all is getting on as a group.

Unlike some new groups of people thrown together, the celebs don’t have weeks to bed in and see how the land lies, to learn each others’ foibles and discover who might be their best friend.

And it can be like that for us, too. Whether it’s a cottage full of folk for a friend’s 40th and you don’t know half the guests, a corporate away day or Christmas party, emergency measures are called for when you’re making friends fast. We asked the experts how to cope…

1. Join in with daily tasks
We’ve all been there – it’s first thing on a Saturday in the cottage you’ve all rented and you’re hoping someone else gets up and puts the kettle on first. After all, if you start breakfast, will you be seen as too heavy handed and taking over? On the contrary, says Alex da Silva, founder and life coach at Happy As Larry Group, emotional intelligence experts. “Everybody remembers the lazy one, the one that sleeps in and is messy. Getting involved can be a good way to connect.”

2. But do consider the shy people
It’s worth noting, though, that often the person who is staying in bed might be riddled with nerves or social anxiety, warns da Silva. “Often that same person can come across as rude or arrogant,” he says. “They might feel petrified around everyone else. If you are that person, and you do suffer that way, that’s ok. But do get involved, too. Partner up, and build a common bond.”

A group of friends sitting on the grass
Making friends can be easy with the right questions

3. Think about body language
The right approach is as important as the things you say. “Smile, and breathe,” says life coach William Comet. “Listen first rather than speaking first.”

“When we’re in social situations, the more we model someone else’s body language, the more we feel connected,” adds CBT coach Sarah Rees.

4. Don’t worry about messing up
Camp mates will be petrified about losing bushtucker trials and letting the team down. And in real life, we can worry about everything from messing up a task if it’s a work event, to upsetting someone at the dinner table.

“Allow yourself to be vulnerable,” says Rees. “We like it when people make mistakes socially as they feel more normal to us.”

5. Ask the right questions
While the celebs will probably know what the other does to a certain extent, it’s not always the best start to ask, ‘What do you do?’

“This is all about instant rapport,” says Comet. “Ask, ‘What’s important to you in your life at the moment?’ and commit to remembering their name, too. When people are answering, really listen. They’ll be telling you things that they like to do. And commit to never talking over someone or interrupting, especially when you barely know them.”

6. Think of it as creating your tribe
“We like to be in tribes, and you can facilitate that. Think about what you can all do together. Use words like ‘we’ and ‘us’,” says Rees. “Be curious about people. You’re creating community.”

7. Give yourself a break
“Remember you’re unlikely to be best mates with everyone,” advises da Silva. “Social media drives us to want to be liked, and it’s so easy now for us to interact on our phone or screen. Don’t wear a mask – the best case is that you connect, the worst case that you don’t.”

8. Be childlike
If all else fails: “Remember when you were a child – as a kid you’re fearless,” says da Silva. “They just run up to each other and make friends.”

© Press Association 2018

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