By Alison Stanton —

No matter how old you are, moving to a new state can be a stressful experience. Even if your parents seem totally calm about the whole thing, they are probably worried on the inside about boxing up and moving all of your stuff, starting their new jobs and making sure that you are happy with your new school.

One of the reasons that moving to a new place can be challenging revolves around making new friends. While you are determined to stay in touch with your old BFFs through texting and Skype, you know you need to find some new friends here in Arizona. In order to make the process as smooth and stress-free as possible, check out the following tips:

Sign up for something

A great way to make new friends is to join a club or team where everyone already has the same interests. If you played a sport at your old school, you might want to go out for the same activity again, or you can try something new. You can also check out the teams and clubs at places other than school—for example, if you have moved to Arizona during the summer and it will be awhile before class starts, visit your local community center or parks and rec department to see what all is available. Whether you love to act, swim, play guitar or do arts and crafts, you should be able to find a class, club or team to join and make some new friends in the process.

Consider volunteering

Another wonderful way to meet some like-minded friends is through volunteer work. Think about some of your interests and ask your folks to help you find local places to use your skills. For instance, if you love pets, sit down at the computer with your mom and look up local animal rescue groups and then give them a call to see if you can volunteer there for an hour or two a week—chances are good you’ll meet other like-minded teens who also adore animals. Other ideas include non-profits like the Red Cross, food banks and even the local library.

Get a part time job at a place that hires teens

Depending on your age and your school schedule, you might want to look into getting a part time job—preferably at a place that hires lots of other teens your age. Movie theaters, swimming pools, fast food places, and indoor play facilities all usually hire teenagers. During break times you can talk with the other teens, sharing funny stories about the clientele and, if you feel you have something in common with your new co-workers, you can ask if they want to hang out sometime outside of work.

In school: speak up and say something nice

Once you are in school, make an effort to notice things about the students sitting around you and, if you feel comfortable doing so, compliment them. For example, if the girl next to you has a really cute pair of shoes or a t-shirt with a funny logo, tell her you love the style. Chances are good that she will smile and say thank you, and then you can introduce yourself and start a conversation.