Friendships are very important to all of us. That’s why not having a mate to talk to or just hang out with can be the loneliest feeling in the world…
Friendships have a big impact on our lives. Friends share our happiest and saddest moments and help us to deal with problems and situations that arise in our day-to-day lives. That’s why not having a friend by your side can leave you feeling desperately alone.
What Makes A Good Friend?
There are lots of things we look for in a friend. A recent report* showed that young people look for:
- Being kind and caring.
- Understanding and empathy.
- Having fun.
- A sense of humour.
- Being yourself.
- Time together.
It’s easy to see why having a friendship with these values is so important to us. We all need someone we can rely on, confide in, share a joke with, trust in, and, perhaps, most importantly, be ourselves with. It can be difficult to open up and find someone who ticks a lot of these boxes, especially if you’re shy, nervous, or have been bullied or ‘ditched’ by a friend in the past, but there are lots of ways to reach out and make a new connection.
Making A Friend
It can seem scary to reach out to someone you may never have spoken to before. Why not try:
- Joining a club or starting a new hobby. There will be lots of like-minded people there who you will have something in common with. It might also give you the chance to meet new people who go to a different school or live in a different town. It will be easier to start a conversation with someone when you already have the club/hobby in common.
- Chat to the new person at school. They are likely to be feeling lonely and also looking for a friend.
- Is there someone in your class that you’d like to be friends with? Try reaching out with a smile or add them on social media to start up a casual conversation.
- Reach out to an old friend. Maybe there’s someone who you used to be close to and lost touch with? Drop them a text or talk to them in passing to see if they might want to chat or hang out sometime.
How Do I Make A Strong Friendship?
It’s important to remember that friends won’t always agree or want to do the same things and that’s totally OK. What’s important is to respect each other’s opinions: if a disagreement arises, talk it through and be sure to listen. Treat your friend like you would like to be treated.
What If It All Goes Wrong?
You may have summoned up all your courage to reach out to someone new, only to have your offer of friendship rejected or ignored.This can really knock your confidence. It may be helpful to write a list of all the things that would make you a good friend as a reminder that you have a lot of qualities to offer someone else. Read your list over and over again whenever you feel in doubt, take a deep breath, and try again with someone different.
Sometimes friendships can go through a bumpy patch and that’s also totally normal. It can feel like the end of the world if you have a fall-out with your mate but try not to panic. Talk through it calmly or agree to give each other space if needed. A problem could also be easily fixed by agreeing to compromise and meeting in the middle. Working together to overcome issues can make a friendship even stronger.
*Good Childhood Report 2020 – Children’s Society