Dear American Girl,

There's a boy at church I'd like to become friends with, but I tend to be pretty shy when it comes to making new friends. He seems really nice and fun, but he always seems to be talking to other friends, so I don't see a good chance to start a conversation. How can I get to know him better?

Here's your advice:

Keep your eyes open for a time when this boy isn't with his friends, and simply walk up to him and say, "Hi." Sometimes one word is enough to start a friendship.
-Clarrissa, age 8, Ohio

If you see an empty spot next to this boy, sit down and strike up a conversation. Or if you're both at a church event, such as a potluck, ask if you can join him. All it takes is just a little bit of courage.
-Nikki, age 11, Maryland

There's no need to try to rush a friendship. It's OK that you're a shy person, and it's also OK to let a friendship develop slowly. If you have a few conversations here and there, that might be enough to become friends.
-Maria, age 12, Texas

If this boy and a friend are doing an activity together, such as a fun game before or after church, ask if you can join in.
-Samantha, age 11, Ohio

Don't think of it as "making friends with a boy." Think of it as starting a friendship as you would with anyone else. If you view it this way, it might be easier to feel comfortable.
-Macy, age 13, Maryland

I tend to be pretty shy, too. Before I introduce myself to someone new, I simply take a few deep breaths, get calm, and then walk up to the person. Doing that makes me feel a lot better.
-Quinn, age 11, Pennsylvania

Think about your close friends. How do you make them laugh? Try that same approach with this boy. When you say something funny, it might help you to relax and let the friendship happen naturally.
-Ana, age 12, New Mexico

Instead of trying to talk to this boy right before church, see if you can catch him afterward. It might give you more time to have a conversation with him.
-Isabel, age 10, New York

Ask questions that can get a conversation going. Ask him if he's seen any good movies lately or about an event coming up at church. It's a good way to see what you have in common, too.
-Joy, age 12, Maryland

The next time you see this boy, just smile at him. It's a simple gesture, but it will let him know that you're a friendly person.
-Anna, age 11, Minnesota

You could come up with a few conversation starters ahead of time, such as asking him which sports he plays or what his best subject in school is. And if you feel nervous, ask yourself, What's the worst that could happen?
-Avalon, age 12, California

It could be tough to make a new friend when you're about to attend a church service. Does your church offer games or activities for kids, such as a youth group? If this boy is in one of the groups, that might be a better, more casual opportunity to start up a friendship.
-Grace, age 11, Missouri

Friendships don't suddenly happen out of thin air. Friendships take lots of little building blocks. Ask this boy how his day is going. Sit in an area near him and give him a kind smile. Just show him your personality and how nice you are, and you could become friends in no time.
-Elle, age 12, Canada

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