Friends are people you pick to be in your life because they can share so much with you. You pick different friends for different reasons. Every friendship can go through good times and bad times. Some people can build friendships easily while others struggle.
Friendship means many things. It means supporting each other when things are tough. It also means sharing fun and laughter during good times. It means trying to always be there when your friends need you.
If you are thinking that your friendships might not be good for you ask yourself, “Are my friends nice to me and other people?” If your friends make you feel uncomfortable, spread gossip or bully other people, or drink, do drugs, or other things that might be bad for you, these are not healthy friendships.
Friendships in high school can be really confusing. Sometimes you know that your friends aren’t good for you, but you don’t have anyone else to hang out with. This can be really lonely and confusing. You can talk to an adult you trust, or call us at 1-855-201-2121 anytime. We are always here to listen.
Facing problems with your friends isn’t easy. Problems will come up in friendships that will challenge both people. Friends who learn to face their disagreements can become much closer and build a friendship that will last a long time.
Talk the situation over with just that person: Have a conversation with the friend. Try to make it one-on-one to stop others from getting involved and gossiping about you. It can cause others to take sides and get lots more people mad at each other. This can get complicated and create a much bigger, longer problem that can end many friendships.
Allow a cooling down period: Let a little time pass after the problem pops up. Giving some time to cool off can help both people think more clearly and lets the anger die down a bit. Make sure that the cool-down period doesn’t last too long because it can get hard to come back to the problem then. If you can, try to come back to the person for a talk later in the same day when it happened.
Explain your feelings: The conversation will go much better if you say how you feel at the beginning. Try starting your first sentences with “I felt _____ when _____.” Sharing your feelings up front with personal statements works much better than just stating your version of what happened. For example: “I felt left out when you walked off with our friends and didn’t wait for me.” This expresses how you felt badly in the moment. It works much better than saying what you saw happen.
Show that you care: Allow your friend a real chance to talk. Listen attentively to their side. Respond with sympathy to how they’re feeling even if you disagree. Make an apology for the bad feelings that the situation might have caused in them.
Look into how things can get better: Make sure that you’ve talked fully and honestly about how you’re feeling. Be sure that your friend has had the chance to do the same. After that, try offering a solution. Ask your friend if they have ideas about how to make things better. Agree to disagree: Sometimes conflicts can’t be totally worked out. You might not be able to agree entirely. You may have to agree to disagree. If that’s ok with you, let your friend know that and see if you can stay friends anyway. It might show your friend how much you value the friendship even if you have disagreed.
Apologize and forgive: Try to be humble and be the first to apologize. An honest and heartfelt apology can make a huge difference, and your friend might apologize, too. Try to forgive your friend. This way you can move on having worked through a problem to have a stronger friendship.
Friends will often tell you problems they are having. Sometimes, it can be hard to figure out what you should do to help, especially if it’s a big problem. Some problems will be more serious than others. It’s important to talk to an adult if your friend is in trouble, especially if a friend is thinking about hurting themselves or others, through bullying, an eating disorder, cutting, bringing a gun to school, or suicide.
Friends with serious problems might not want anyone to find out. This puts you in a tough situation. You don’t want to let your friend down, but you know they need help. Offer to go with your friend to talk with someone. Don’t promise your friend that you’ll keep their problem secret from adults. Their safety is always more important than a promise to keep that secret. Telling an adult will get them the help they need, take the pressure off you, and make it so you don’t have to fix everything by yourself. Big problems that your friend will need adult help with are:
If you need to share a friend’s problem with an adult, try talking to a parent, teacher, or school counselor, or call 1-855-201-2121. Listening to a friend’s problems can get overwhelming. It can make you upset, confused, or unsure of what to do. Try your best to be honest. If you need to tell an adult about their problem, tell your friend you were worried and couldn’t help them by yourself. They’ll understand once they start to get the help they need.
Friendships don’t always happen overnight. It takes time to develop a friendship. Once you meet someone, there are things you can do to keep building the friendship: