Our friends are usually people we trust, respect, and have similar interests. Like other relationships, friendships generally require work, and often undergo change. It might not be easy to maintain friendships, and sometimes friends can disappoint you. This can make it difficult to work out who your friends are. Making a list of what makes a good friend might help you determine what you value in a friendship and who you should be hanging out with. Sometimes trusting your gut feeling about a friendship can also help answer the questions you have.
Managing arguments. Sharing ideas and opinions with each other is part of having a friendship. Having different ideas and opinions is normal, and these differences might lead to arguments. Working through a disagreement can make a friendship stronger. Here are some tips for managing differences with your friend:
- Accept your differences, celebrate the range of possibilities diversity generates, and agree to disagree as a rule.
- Talk with your friend, focusing on how you feel, rather than what the friend has done or said, in order to avoid blaming.
- Allow your friend to tell his or her side of the story and really listen to him or her, without interrupting.
Decision to end the friendship. Over time, one or both of you may find your interests changing. This can mean that you have less in common and ending the friendship might be the best thing to do. When a friendship ends, it can affect several other relationships, and it can be difficult to stay part of a group. You might feel lonely. Talking to someone you trust like another friend, family member, teacher or counselor might be helpful.
Acknowledgement: This fact sheet was originally developed by youth and staff at ReachOut.com, a website that helps teens get through tough times.