One strategy for initiating friendships, or starting an interaction, is by direct request, e.g. "Let's be friends!" Another important strategy, known as tangential initiation, is a more indirect technique. Tangential initiation involves seeking out a mutually agreeable activity during which a social interaction may be started and friendship may grow. For example, the following illustrates an indirect approach to initiating a social relationship: " I saw you riding your mountain bike in the park on Saturday. What kind is it? I just got a new bike. Maybe we could go riding sometime after school. What do you think?"
Tangential initiation enables students to come together to see if a friendship might develop. Students who utilize tangential initiation as a social strategy are adept at observing other students to gauge the degree to which they share interests, and ultimately, their compatibility.
Here are some strategies to help students develop their skills of tangential initiation.