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Problems with friendship - for kids

friends; friendship; social; skills; playing; friend; play; lonely; feelings; honesty ;


Most kids have problems with friendships from time to time so if you feel sad about this remember - lots of kids feel the same.   If you are feeling left out and sad a lot of the time, tell mum or dad or your teacher and ask them to help you.

No-one wants to play with me today


  • Sometimes the friend you usually play with wants to play with someone else. This is ok. It is normal for people to want a change, but you might feel a bit sad or upset.
  • friendsMaybe your friend wants to join in a game or try his or her skills with others.
  • Maybe she met someone after school and wants to know her better.
  • Maybe you hurt his feelings and he can't talk to you about it because he doesn't know how to begin.
  • Maybe you are not letting your friend share in deciding what to do together, or maybe she's tired of always being the one who decides.
  • Maybe he could be feeling tired or ill and just wants to be alone.

What can you do?

  • no friendsTry asking your friend, nicely, if you have upset him at all.
  • Ask if she would like to talk about anything.
  • If he still wants to play without you then say that's ok. But tell your friend where you will be.
  • Look for other people in your class and go and stand near them.
  • If they are playing a game, watch for a while and then see if you could join in.
  • If they have got even teams or they prefer to play in their own group, then look around for another group, or someone else who is alone and go and ask if they would like to play or talk for a while.
  • Look for someone to help - maybe a younger person who needs some encouragement in learning to skip or using the playground equipment.
  • If you can't find anyone to play with get a rope or a ball and practise your skills, maybe someone else will come to talk or play with you.
  • If you stand around looking sad no one will want to play with you so keep busy; go to the library or a club that might be going on. You may find it fun and get to know some new friends.
  • If other children are being mean to you go and talk to your teacher about it.
  • Be positive - don't think that you will never have another friend. There are heaps of people out there just wanting to make new friends but you have to get out there and find them!

If you make friends with some different people then you can arrange to play with them again.

friendsTake something to play with to school the next day.

If your friend is still not wanting to play with you, then you can ask other kids to play with you or play with the toy or game yourself.

(Be sure to ask the teacher if you can put any special or expensive toys in a safe place during lesson time.)

 What if no one wants to play with you any day?

  • Maybe you find it hard to make friends.
  • Maybe you are a very shy, quiet person.
  • Maybe you don't know how to make it easy for others to be friends with you.

Look at our 'Related topics' (under the Feedback button). You may find something to help you.

You could try joining a sport's team, or music, art or computer club at lunchtime or after school. Or volunteer to help in the library, school garden or whatever extra activities are going on in your school.

Getting along with other people

Here are some ideas for improving your social skills and getting along with others.

Look interested
Give eye contact. Look at the person you are talking to or who is talking to you.

Work on your conversation skills
Work at making that person know that you are really interested in what they are saying. Make listening noises and be ready to answer if they ask a question.  Ask them to tell you about what they are interested in.

Learn to read body language
Watch the expression on people's faces. Don't interrupt. If they look busy and hardworking don't try to start a conversation.

Join in
Watch the popular TV shows, movies or computer games to find out about the things other kids are talking about or are interested in so that you can join in their conversations. Join in their games and activities too. Practise how to ask about joining in. If they already have even teams you might ask someone if you could have turns with them.

Be a nice person
Some people just love to pass on gossip or make bad comments about others. Do you like those kind of people? Don't be like them.

Ask others
If you have a ball or some other thing to play with ask others to join in with you. If you don't feel confident about asking the "popular" kids, ask kids who don't have friends to play with to join with you.

no friendsLearn to encourage others
Make positive comments to people. "That was a good shot," "Well done", "Great drawing" etc. A quiet word of praise makes someone feel good and gets you noticed as being a kind and positive person. (Making a big production of something can embarrass the person you are trying to compliment.)

Offer to help
You can help others by 'making up the numbers' on their team, bringing something for them to use in a project, lending things, keeping score, being the referee, taking part in a group activity and showing yourself to be a reliable member of an activity group.

no friendsIt's okay to say "No"
If you say "Yes" to everyone even when you don't want to do something then you will find that other kids will "put on you". If people say "No" to you when you ask to play or something, you have to understand that they have the right to make that decision, just as you have the right to say "No" when you don't want to do something.

If you get upset when people say "No" to you then check out how other kids handle it and learn to expect that you will not always be able to have what you want.

Stay away from fighters, bullies and troublemakers
People who are constantly in trouble with the teacher and who bully other kids are really not popular with anyone. They collect 'hangers-on' whom they allow to do their 'dirty work'. Avoid them if you want to have real friends.

What some children said

  • "He's always trying to take over".
  • "She is all friendly one day and ignores you the next day."
  • "Some kids you just don't want to be near because they smell."
  • "He's always crying."
  • "She's okay but if you are friendly with her she wants to take you over and not let you have other friends."
  • "He never laughs at jokes."
  • "She's such a brain she spends all her time reading."
  • "He never tries in sport. He always makes excuses to get out of it. B-- is hopeless at sport but at least he tries his best.
  • "She just lets us down because she doesn't try."
  • "No-one wants them in their group because they never do anything, they leave all the work to everyone else."
  • "He never talks to anyone. If you try to talk to him he looks somewhere else or walks away."
  • "He hangs around but doesn't try to join in even when we ask him."
  • "She never shares."
  • "He plays too rough and hurts people."
  • "She is always bragging and telling lies about her family."

Action statement

If you have heard people saying some of these things about you and you are often alone, then think how you could make some changes.

Everyone needs some time to be alone, to think about things, relax, do homework and practise skills. But being alone or being left out when you don't want to be, can make you feel really bad about yourself.

Ask for help from your parents, teacher or school counsellor if you are finding it difficult to get along with others.  Everyone needs help and advice at times so don't be afraid to ask.

Dr Kate says:

Dr Kate
Some people seem to be able to get on with people easily while others may have to work hard to learn these skills.

Keep trying to improve your social skills, it's worth the effort.


Everyone has a friend,
But not me.
Someone to share with,
But not me.
Someone to play with,
But not me.
Someone to laugh with,
But not me.
Some people never have friends
But not me!
I'm going to try my very best
To have a friend just like the rest!

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We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.


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