Week 2 of Healthy Friendships: Being A Good Friend
As humans, social interaction and connections are essential to personal growth and well being. Conversely, bad relationships may take away from these things in our lives. So this summer, we wanted to talk about healthy friendships as a way to help us all make friendships that feel safe and supportive and how we can be safe and supportive friends to others.
We posted our Healthy Friendships series across our social media throughout the month of August, targeting children and youth navigating the ebbs and flows of friendships (though adults are welcome to use the tips, too!) We focused on 4 themes over 4 weeks:
Week 2: How to Be a Good Friend
Week 2 is focused on "Being a Good Friend". Great friendships require both parties to put in effort from both sides which can take time and lots of communication. What do we need to be a good friend to others? We shared examples and how to look for these qualities in others. If you missed this week, here's a summary of what we covered:
Tip #1: Values
Be the values you’re looking for in a friend! for example, if you value kindness, be sure that you treat others kindly. While this won’t guarantee that people will treat you well, you’ll benefit by increasing the quality of friend that you’ll be! If you sit around expecting others to listen to every word you say but you ignore your potential friends, they won’t stick around for long. Those values we talked about last week are a great place to start.
Tip #2: Establishing Boundaries!
What do we call communicating how we want to be treated up front? Boundaries! Some phrases you can say to a friend when you want to communicate this would be; “I don’t like hugs” or “It made me uncomfortable when you called me [a mean name] in front of everyone.” Letting your friends know your boundaries can also prevent you from running into hiccups in friendships down the road. If they don’t know what makes you uncomfortable, how will they know unless you tell them? Communication in every healthy friendship is important to its success!
Tip #3: Boundaries Part Deux
On the same topic of boundaries, asking a friend what makes them feel comfortable is just as important! Sometimes asking how our friend may feel in a situation can show that we care & bring you together that much more.
You may appreciate a hug or physical touch when you're feeling down. Ask your friend if they'd like a hug and if they say "yes", go for it! If not, you may feel disappointed but make sure you're still there to support your friend. Asking caring questions means that you may get a surprising response. Note it. Maybe your friend doesn't like hugs. It can be hard to know unless you ask, but getting consent is the best way to find out!
Tip #4: Give & Take
A simple thing to do for your friends is to take turns. Maybe you would prefer to go out with friends all the time, but you have a friend who is more introverted & wants to stay at home to watch a movie. Taking turns with your friends shows them that you respect their wants & it's a way to look for balance in a relationship.
If it's always what one person wants, that can create resentment. So talk about it & ask for a little give & take. It’s a simple way to be a good friend.
Tip #5: Team Work Makes the Dream Work!
Having someone’s best interest at heart just means that you want the best for them. For instance, if you’ve won some type of prize that you worked hard for, you want to have someone who cheers your wins. If a friend experiences a sad event, you try to be supportive in the way they ask. Long-lasting relationships are a team effort where you both work towards shared goals. How do you know what those goals are? You talk about them.
If either of you neglect your friendship, it might not be there when you need it.
That wraps up Week 2: Being A Good Friend! Creating a culture of healthy friendships for yourself in your life makes you a great friend and can draw great friends towards you!