How to make the most of your friendships
Even the strongest friendships have their ups and downs…
Written by Miriam Needham
Voices - Advice
Young people share advice based on their experiences.
There is no 'norm' when it comes to friendship. Some of us go though life surrounded by tons of friends, never alone or without a shoulder to cry on. Others might have one or two close friends. Or at times in your life, you might feel like there's nobody you can count on as a true friend.
All friendships have their ups and downs, but there are ways to make sure you get the best from friendship:
If you’re one of those people who enjoys spending time on their own, don’t feel like you have to hang out with your friends all the time. When it does come to spending time with your friends, make sure you choose carefully. A friend who pressurises you, bosses you around or expects you to act in a certain way just because they do, isn’t a real friend.
If you’re going to be friends with someone make sure it’s for the right reasons; being friends with one person and not another purely because they’re more popular is the type of logic you’d expect from a bowl of cheese.
Don’t keep things bottled up just to avoid a row. If you stay silent every time your friend does something annoying you’ll end up hating them and very likely might one day explode and treat them to an earful that they don’t deserve. Even if this doesn’t happen, you won’t be able to enjoy their company at all unless the air has been cleared.
The hardest people to stand up to are your friends. Remember that people will respect and like you more for being honest and having your own opinions, even if you are disagreeing entirely with them.
Always listen and be a shoulder to cry on. You don’t need to pretend to understand what they’re going through, just being there can help enormously.
Don’t pretend to be happy just because your friends are. They’re not going to think you’re boring and move on just because you’re not all chatty and hyper! If anything they’ll want to help. The more open you are with them the more open they’ll be with you.
Don’t talk behind your friends’ backs. If they find out that you were bitching, they’ll see you as being two-faced and be much angrier than if you’d said it to their face.