This week I’m taking a week off Dabbling to give my two cents on how to make friends in class. I would say I’m almost an expert. Don’t believe me? Ask the dishes!

1. Don’t come with a friend. I get why you would because I’ve done it. Taking a class with a friend is way less intimidating and it’s fun to learn something new together. So okay, do it. But don’t be surprised when you leave class without any new digits. Think how fun it will be to have a new friend who also loves brewing beer or making terrariums. Isn’t that part of the reason of you jumped on this crazy Dabble train in the first place? If there’s anything I learned from my 1 year stint as a Brownie it’s that you should make new friends but keep the old. One is silver and the other doesn’t know the first thing about metalsmithing so whatever, goodbye, time to move on old friend.

2. Arrive early. When the next person arrives talk to them about how early you are and bond over your favorite motto: Early is on time. On time is late. Late means you’re dead to me. Rest assured you’ll both have many stories to share about chronically late friends.

3. Put your phone away. You don’t look approachable with your face buried in a game of Words With Friends. Pick your head up and meet some real life strangers. At the risk of sounding like a cornball college professor, your Dabble experience should extend beyond the designated class hours. Before and after class is your time to bond with classmates, find out who they are, figure out why they signed up, see who’s serious about pickling. Turn off your phone and make some awkward eye contact like it’s 1999.

4. Chat up the instructor. Your teacher is a natural icebreaker. If you don’t feel comfortable talking directly to your classmates, engage in a conversation with your instructor that you know will intrigue those around you. Teachers are your safe zone, put there to excitedly answer all your questions and boost your ego for when you start “freestyle friending.

5. Make Fun of Yourself. This is my most tried and true way to make friends. I’ve determined that my attempts, failures, and flops make other people feel better about themselves and that’s totally okay with me. The thing to know is that everyone has nerves going into class but few people will come out and say it. So why not be the first to admit how scary learning something new can be? Show your classmates you are not afraid to suck at accordion and watch how your honesty charms the room.

Feeling confident? Ready to go out and discover more than a knack for knitting? There’s no better time to Dabble; your new best friend awaits!

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Ali Kelley is a 20-something trying to figure out her life one Dabble at a time. Be sure to check back each Wednesday to see her newest Dabble class adventure, and cheer her on with words of encouragement through the comments section below or on Twitter @freegiantparty.