In this post: teen friendship can be hard. Here’s what I want my kids to know.
These next few years, you will be making many new friends, and they will be so important to you.
Some friends will stick around while others may not. You might find that your friendships change as you change too.
Some will turn out to be your closest confidants, your favorite people to spend your time with as you grow up, and they will be a part of your life for a long, long time.
But you also may learn that some friends aren’t the right kind for you. And that’s okay, too.
It’s a long and difficult process, finding good friends at your age.
Sometimes maintaining a teen friendship is hard.
You might go through painful situations where you realize some friends can’t be trusted, and there are certain people who aren’t good for you to be around. Perhaps they push you into doing things you know you aren’t ready for or pressure you into being someone you’re not.
Some “friends” may make poor choices and want you to do the same. They could be dishonest or disrespectful when it comes to communicating with you or others. Some may be struggling to figure out who they are and where they fit in, so they vacillate with wanting to be your friend.
These types of friends are difficult and stressful to have in your life. They might make you feel insecure and uncertain as you constantly try to please them, impress them, or be accepted by them–and you never know where you stand.
But true friendship, especially in your teen years, is so special.
It’s so hard to find true friends, the ones who don’t make you work hard to feel liked and who are there for you when you need them. The kind of friends who accept you and support you in all the things you do.
But it’s so important that you keep searching and selecting the friends who are good for you, who care about you, and who help you feel good about yourself, too.
The people you surround yourself with during these teen years will have a huge part in shaping who you grow up to be.
So, dear teen, choose your friends wisely. Teen friendship can be tricky.
As you meet new people and find new friends, make sure you pick people who are kind and thoughtful, respectful and responsible. Choose friends you can count on to come through for you.
Your friends should accept you for who you are and not push you to be someone you’re not. A good friend will want the very best for you, encourage you, and be happy for you when you accomplish big things or make it through something hard.
You deserve friends who will help you through difficult times and stick with you when you’re struggling.
Good friends are good listeners. They will care about your well-being, your dreams, and your feelings. They will appreciate your strengths and talents and be understanding of your faults. No one is perfect, so no friend will be either. But a good friend will be open and honest, forgiving and compassionate when you make a mistake.
And these are all things you need to do in order for you to be a good friend too.
Good, strong teen friendship isn’t easy. It takes hard work, time, patience, and understanding.
During these teen years, you’ll have lots of growing up to do, and sometimes things will get hard. You will learn how to be a true friend to others, and sometimes you might fail.
And that’s okay. That’s how this growing-up thing goes. Just keep trying to improve on things you need to work on and help others do the same.
What’s most important is that you continue to pick people to place in your life who influence you in positive ways, not steer you down destructive or dangerous paths you shouldn’t go down. It takes a lot of courage to say no when faced with so much pressure to do things you don’t want to do, especially if you want so badly to belong to a certain group. It will take inner strength to walk away from people who aren’t good for you, especially when those might be the only friends you have.
But dear teen, it’s better to have no friends for a short time, than to have friends who are harmful to you.
Be brave and walk away. I know this is the hardest thing for you to do and you may worry these friends you leave will be mad at you, but you must put yourself first. Remember that your values and priorities, life choices, and future dreams deserve your protection and direction. If you are with friends who will interfere with those things, they are not your true friends anyway.
So, think about the friends you have and consider the many ways they help or hinder you to grow into the person you want to be. They may be loads of fun, they might be popular too.
But it all boils down to this: Are they really good for you?
Here are some questions to ask yourself about your friends. If you can answer them with a confident yes, then you have found good friends. But as teens often change and grow through these years, keep asking yourself these points to make sure you are keeping the healthy relationships that you deserve.
- Do your friends care about you and want to truly know about your opinions, thoughts, and feelings?
- Do your friends make good decisions and stay out of trouble?
- Do your friends have positive reputations in how they treat others?
- Are your friends trustworthy and honest?
- Do your friends work at being responsible in all the areas of their lives?
- Are your friends respectful of rules and laws and authority?
- Are your friends there for you when you’re hurting or going through hard things?
- Are your friends excited for you when you accomplish something great?
- Do your friends want the very best for you?
- Would your friends come directly to you if they had an issue instead of talking to someone else about it behind your back?
- Would your friends show up for you when you ask them for help?
- Are you proud of the friends you have?
- Do your parents like your friends?
- Do other adults, teachers, coaches, and parents have positive relationships with your friends?
- Are your friends’ priorities the same as yours?
- Do your friends support your decisions and encourage you to make good choices?
- Are your friends good for your mental health?
- Are you comfortable being honest with your friends?
- Do you feel good about yourself when you’re around your friends?
Dear teen, your friends will be a very big influence in your life, so please make sure you choose them wisely.
It might take a lot of time to find the friends that are right for you, but I promise the wait and work will be worth it.
Above all, remember that YOU deserve to have the kind of friends who help you grow into the best person you can be.