Making connections

Making connections

Friendships are really important for us for lots of different reasons! They can help us to feel like we belong, and can be a great source of support for us. Managing friendships can be tricky however, especially during adolescence when there can be lots of changes in our friendship groups.  
 
Friends play a big role in our lives and they can have both a positive and a negative influence for us. Learning to grow and build friendships is a skill we learn as we get older!  
 
Exercise: Take a moment to think about your friends. Do they have a good or bad influence on you? Are there certain friends who you feel you can talk to about tricky things? Are there friends that you wouldn't feel comfortable talking to? 
 
It is helpful to know who you might feel comfortable talking to about the tricky things in life. Having supportive friendships can help young people to feel accepted, happier and more confident.  
 
Friends also help young people to figure out who they are. Having shared interests, attitudes and similar circumstances help us to feel connected and accepted in the world. Friendships helps us to learn about trust, respect, acceptance and intimacy, which are all really important as we go throughout life.  
 
So how do I make good friendships? 

  1. Connect with others – make the first move and don't wait to be asked by a friend to do something.  
  2. Be kind and friendly towards each other 
  3. Listen to your friend. Show them that you care by listening when they need it. This is the best way to support friends!
  4. Show that you are interested in them  

It can be difficult to make friends and some young people can find this much harder than others. This is okay, because everyone is different. Some people make lots of friends really easily and will have a large social circle. Others will have a small number of friends from different groups. If you find it hard to make friends and keep them, you can try some of these tips: 
 
Try and get into the habit of talking to people more often. Talk to them about topics that you like such as music, films, hobbies.  The more you do it, the easier it gets.  
Arrange to do an activity with someone, this can help conversation flow better and take the pressure off talking for the whole time.  
Join a new club or take up a new hobby. This is a great way of meeting new people! 
Invite a friend over on the weekends/after school.  
Connect with friends online. This can be a great way of starting out if you feel like meeting someone in real life is too daunting!  
 
Remember that it is normal to have misunderstandings and fall outs with friends. Try and work this out with your friends by talking to them when you are both feeling in a calm and relaxed state.