It can be hard to make and maintain friendships. Good friends are sometimes few and far between, and many teens and adolescents find it hard to cut out a toxic friend. This article explores what a good friend looks like and how to determine healthy friendships for teens.
Making friends can be hard. That’s okay. If making friends was super easy, everyone would have lots of friends. Some people are good at making friends, and that’s okay too. Having friends isn’t a competition, but a way to have someone to go through life with. Here are a few tips that can help you make friends:
- Try new things. Joining a club, sport, new class, or community event can help you meet new people. These people might also have similar interests as you, making it double the fun!
- Be open to talking to new people. It can feel intimidating to introduce yourself to new people, but it gets easier the more you try. Start with a smile, a hello, tell them your name, and ask them what theirs is.
- Ask questions. People usually like to talk about themselves, and asking questions opens the door to fluent conversation. See if you can find something in common with a new person by asking questions.
- Be kind. Kindness is a positive attribute that will attract people to you. Kindness is also an indicator of a good friend.
- Do things that maintain your self-esteem. People are often attracted to confident people. Keep your head up, and have some positive affirmations handy to help you boost your confidence.
The best way to keep a friend is to be a good friend. Listed here are a few ways to be a good friend:
- Actively listen to your friends. Even when you have a ton in common with them, it’s always a good thing to listen to what they’re saying to you and let them talk if they need to. Cutting them off, even if you have something relevant to say, can feel hurtful. Let your friends talk, and if they’re good friends, they’ll let you talk when you need to.
- Don’t force it. Keeping friends isn’t about forcing the relationship or manipulating your friend into spending time with you. Respect your friend, and let them know if you’re hurt they’re not spending as much time with you as you’d like.
- Respect their boundaries. If your friend ever asks you to stop or tells you no, you must respect this boundary. This seems like a no-brainer because that’s common courtesy for anyone, but sometimes you might think you can push the limits because it’s your friend. A good friend respects boundaries and makes people feel safe and happy spending time with you.
- Give them space. You don’t need to be around your best friend all the time or text them 24/7. It’s okay to spend time away from your friend, or even with other people. It makes reuniting fun because you’ll have plenty to catch up on.
- Talk things through. If you’re sensing something is wrong, you’re worried about your friend, or they’ve done something that hurt you, talk with them. Tell them how you feel, and they may have feelings about it too. Talking is much easier, kinder, and faster than suffering through petty or passive-aggressive actions.
When to Break Up With Friends
Unfortunately, not all friendships are meant to last. Some friendships are nice for a while, but if you can’t healthily grow with that friend, it’s not good for either of you to stick around. Sometimes you have to have a friend breakup.
You don’t need to set yourself on fire to keep others warm. What this means is that if you notice your friendship is draining you or causing you significant stress, it’s time to distance yourself from them. For example, if a friend is making poor choices and expects you to go along with it at your own risk, perhaps with money, time, or taking the blame for a bad decision, step away from this friendship. You should not let a friend’s poor choices get you into trouble with them. Good friends build each other up, not drag each other down.
If your friend consistently pushes your boundaries or makes you uncomfortable on purpose, they are not a good friend. Just as you should have respect for your friends, they should have respect for you, your space, and your time. If they are not respectful of your boundaries, emotions, family, other friends, space, etc. it’s time to tell them you want to break up as friends. They are not a safe person who has respect for you. Similarly, if your friend harms you, physically, emotionally, or otherwise, it’s time to dump them. You may also need to report to a school official, parent, or another trustworthy adult that your friend is harming you.
Teen friendships can be hard to make and maintain. Because teen brains are not fully developed, they may not always make the best choices with their friends. Peer pressure can cause teens to try new things that aren’t healthy for them. Friends can even make or break a teen’s school or work experience. Teens who feel isolated or suffer from a lack of friendships may have mental health concerns that stem from isolation. If you’re worried about your teen and not sure where to turn for help, call Havenwood Academy. At Havenwood Academy, our professional and experienced staff can help your daughter through this tough age. We offer a myriad of therapies, including cognitive behavior therapy, family therapy, group therapy, and more. We accept Medicaid insurance, Adoption Assistance Funding, as well as Individualized Education Plans (IEP) meaning we can accept school funding from IEPs. Call Havenwood Academy at (435) 586-2500 for more information.
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