Written by: Erin Shapiro, 11th Grade, Dor Chadash BBG #2404.

BBYO is a great place to make new friends. As someone with social anxiety, I know from experience how hard it can be to meet new people and go to new places. However, after finishing my first year of BBYO, I can confidently say that BBYO has helped me meet my closest friends. Being surrounded by so many Alephs and BBGs who are kind and non-judgemental makes a comfortable space for everyone, including me.

When I first joined BBYO, I was extremely nervous as I have often felt like an outcast in social situations. I have trouble making and keeping friends, however BBYO proved to be a fresh start for me. By meeting new people, I have not only gained confidence, but I have also become a more social person in general. While I get nervous when meeting others for the first time, I will not shy away anymore. Other BBYO members used to reach out to me when I was new, and now I’m someone who reaches out to new members. Taking on leadership opportunities such as chapter chairs and board positions forces you to be more connected, and causes you to get to know more people. This past term, I had the opportunity to be the Yearbook Chair of my chapter which meant I had to reach out to people for photos to post on Instagram, and send messages to my chapter’s WhatsApp group chat. By doing this, I got the chance to talk to even more people and try out new things. These bonds will last me a lifetime, even after we graduate from BBYO. 

One way to make new friends in BBYO is by going to all the regional events you can. I did this by attending Chofesh Hallway at regional conventions, as well as going to International Convention and not being shy to go on BBYOmegle! Taking advantage of these new opportunities allowed me to meet even more members in BBYO and make even more new friends. Plus, even chapter programs are a great way to meet new potential friends. I met some of my closest friends at weekly chapter programs and chapter conventions. Branching out at all programs is so important, and a great way to find people just like you, as well as a great way to meet your closest friends.

Another way of making and maintaining your friendships in BBYO is by communicating and staying in touch via social media. You can use Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp or Discord. An example of this is to join BBYO Discord servers and hop on Zoom calls with groups of BBYO people. You can also play snap games or Game Pigeon with your friends. In addition, you can even meet up in person for a socially-distanced walk or hangout! This allows you to meet your friends and connect on an in-person level. One thing me and two of my best friends have started doing is having ‘Girls night.’ Each week on Saturday nights we meet on Zoom and do fun activities. We each take turns planning them out, and we have done activities like baking, making dream boards, creating fun PowerPoint presentations, having watch parties for old Disney TV shows, and so much more! Even though you may not talk to these friends daily, it is important to stay in touch and have fun with them when you can.

BBYO is a great place for so many reasons, and one of those is that you have the opportunity to meet new people and make lifelong friendships. Everyone in BBYO is so welcoming, so do not be shy, and do not miss any awesome opportunities just because you are scared to meet new people!

Pictured: Erin at Spring Convention 2021.