Ask Sam letter


To Sam


Hi. I like being able to hang around with friends, and at school this is fine because there I have quite a lot, but I board and when I come home for a weekend or holiday, I am very lonely. I don't know how to approach or make friends with new people if we don't interact with each other regularly anyway. Whenever I see a group of other teens and think about approaching them, I become extremely anxious and just keep walking. What do you think?

thank you in advance.

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Thanks for your message.

I can understand how this must be a difficult situation for you and that breaks from boarding bring feelings of loneliness and anxiety. I'm really glad that you have contacted me for some advice with this.

Friendships are often built up over time so it's completely natural that you feel anxious about trying to speak with groups of other teenagers who you don't see that often. I’m really glad to hear that you have a good group of friends at boarding school but I can hear that you would like things to change when you are at home.

It's understandable that you may be feeling anxious about starting a conversation with other teenagers if you're not sure what to say. Joining a local sports team, getting involved with a club or doing voluntary work are good ways to meet other people with similar interests. It's easier to break the ice this way because you already have something in common with them.

Lots of young people talk to me about being worried about making friends. Remember that other people may be just as nervous and anxious as you about striking up new conversations. Very often friendships are built on small beginnings. Just smiling and saying "hi" each time you meet somebody can be a good way to start building more of a friendship.

 A good tip is also to try and act confident even when you are feeling very nervous – this isn’t easy to do and takes some practice but being relaxed makes other people feel relaxed too. Check out some of our tips on building your confidence.

I hope some of this advice has helped. There are more tips on friendships on our friendship advice page. You could also visit the friendships message boards and see what other young people have to say about what helped them to make new friends.

Finally, if you would like to talk to a counsellor about this or anything else, you can phone 0800 1111, send an email or log in for a 1-2-1 chat.

Take care,


Need help straight away?

You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

Ask me a question

You can ask me about anything you want, there's nothing too big or small. I read every single letter but I can only answer a few each week. My replies are published here on my page.

Write me a letter