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The Ultimate Guide to Friendships

As teenagers, friends play an important part in our lives. They support us when times are rough, and laugh with us when life is good. Unfortunately, growing up and changing values mean we donít always see eye to eye, and therefore friendships can be hard, even at the best of times.

Thereís never a Ďgeneral ruleí with friends, so sometimes the best advice is from people like your parents, who have survived broken friendships, and stayed in contact with a couple of really good mates. Weíve put together the Ultimate Guide To Friendships, to help you understand whatís happening and what to do when you encounter problems with your own friends.

Making friendsÖ

Making new friends is hard, even for the most outgoing of people, so donít assume youíre the only person in the world that finds it difficult. Although being sociable is one of the last things you feel confident enough to do when youíre finding your way in a new environment, itís best to start early.

STEP ONE: Show people youíre willing to be sociable by giving a little smile if they happen to glance in your direction. Only seriously moody individuals wonít smile back and you donít want to be mates with them do you?!

Donít overdo the smiling thing, people will find you a little strange if you have a permanent cheesy grin spread across your face, and will be more likely to avoid you, rather than approach you!

STEP TWO: OK, so youíve inspected the entire room, picking out the different groups of people, and youíve done a bit of smiling to see who is nice enough to greet you with a cheeky grin in return. Now pick out a couple of people that have given you the impression they could be friend material, and see if they happen to be in any of the same places as you during the day.

Donít only work on appearances! The fit, sporty guy in the corner might look interesting, but what can you talk about with him if youíre a girl that hates footie? The same goes for lads, the company of the girls might seem enticing, but again the key to making new friends is to look for common interests, which is probably easier to find with people of the same sex at first.

STEP THREE: Itís time to take the plunge and speak to someone. Donít engage them in a heavy conversation about world hunger, ask them something simple like when the homework is due, and go from there. Itís your job to start the conversation, and hopefully they will do their best to make you feel comfortable so that you can really start getting to know them.

Donít be put off if someone is only willing to speak two words to you. Some people are too shy themselves to be much help when others need to make some new mates, and other people like the way their friendship circle works already, so someone new could threaten their own position in a group of friends. You can usually pick out which people make an effort to make someone new feel less awkward, and those that couldnít care less.

STEP FOUR: After a couple of days when you feel a little more settled in, you should have taken the opportunity to speak to more than just a couple of people, and perhaps worked out which friendship circles youíre welcome in. If youíve been invited to anything outside school or work, donít be afraid to make an appearance, even if you feel awkward. You need to show potential mates that youíre up for a laugh, and are fun to be around otherwise you wonít get anywhere!

Donít be too forceful when youíre trying to fit in with a new group of mates. Remember theyíve all been friends for a long time, so breaking things apart will earn you more enemies than friends.

Making friends takes a little while, so be patient, and youíll be sure to find the right people, whether youíre destined to be mates for only a couple of years, or much longer. Try and be friends with everyone because it makes you a more outgoing person, and thereís nothing wrong with lots of mates is there?

Keeping FriendsÖ

It is not possible to keep a friendship going with no effort. A friendship works both ways, so if youíre not putting anything in, you wonít be getting anything out. Itís not like you have to ring each other every night or do absolutely everything together, but thereís just a couple of things to remember that will help you make the most of your mates.

  • Anyone will tell you the most important aspect of a good friendship is trust. Itís your choice whether you tell each other your secrets or not, but if you find yourself bursting to tell someone else, think how you would feel in the same kind of situation. You need to be able to trust each other otherwise you probably wonít be as close as you would like to think.
  • Arguments that are left to simmer and boil over can end a good friendship. If youíve had an argument, or if youíre annoyed, make sure you get your feelings out in the open as soon as possible so that you can apologise and get back on track before things get worse.
  • Even though being in an exclusive group of mates can be fun, youíre more likely to feel left out if youíre not included in everyoneís plans all the time. Itís fine to have a couple of best mates, but try and be good friends with everyone so that you have other people to talk to and go out with from time to time.
  • Despite being so important, friends are the people that get left out first when someone gets a new boyfriend or girlfriend. Your friends are the people who you will automatically run to when something goes wrong in your relationship. If you leave them out, even if it is unintentional, they might not be so willing to sort out your love troubles when you need a shoulder to cry on. Remember this when youíve cancelled on your best mate for a night cuddled up on the sofa instead. On the other hand, if you are the mate being left out, you will probably have to do more than just hinting to get your point across, as your mate is obviously too wrapped up in kissing to notice much else.
  • Friends are there to support each other, as well as share good times, so you need to be able to show support, if you want to receive it. Gestures like a text message or a letter might seem insignificant, but they are the kind of things that let your mates know you care, not an expensive birthday pressie or giant Christmas card.

Obviously, the best way to keep your mates is to be aware of their feelings, so put yourself in their shoes from time to time to see how they might be feeling.

Now you've read this, have a read of the Ultimate Guide to Friendships, part 2


Also in Friends and Family...

Check out the Friends and Family links page for links to more help and support

Friends and Family Homepage

Ultimate Friendships Article
Ultimate Friendships Article 2
Friendships...A Survival Guide
Friendship Emergency! - What Can I do?
Special Friends
My Best Friend

Coping with older siblings
Coping with lil brothers
My summer holidays
TALKAdoption Interview
Coping with Parents
Introducing a boyfriend

Divorce Feelings
My Story

Losing a friend
Death of a loved one
Different types of loss
Losing a pet

Speaking out
Your Rights
What is Abuse?

Sarah :o)

Friends and Family...
Which is most important
Both equally...


©1999-2003 Pupiline Limited, 2003-2008 Creative Commons. For info email Oli Originally powered by KeConnect Internet, now powered by XCalibre and the Big Boost, recovered thanks to Warrick

©1999-2003 Pupiline Limited, 2003-2008 Creative Commons. For info email Oli Originally powered by KeConnect Internet, now powered by XCalibre and the Big Boost, recovered thanks to Warrick

©1999-2003 Pupiline Limited, 2003-2008 Creative Commons. For info email Oli Originally powered by KeConnect Internet, now powered by XCalibre and the Big Boost, recovered thanks to Warrick