Everyone needs friends, and you probably have always had at least one. A friend is defined as a person you know well and regard with affection, trust, and respect.
As you get older, some of your friendships will start to change, and some may grow deeper. You might also begin to know many more people, although not all of them will be your close friends.
Chances are, you will also start to spend more time with your friends, and maybe talk on the phone more. Changes in relationships are natural but not always easy.
Making and keeping friends can be particularly tough if you are shy or unsure of yourself. The best way to make new friends is to be involved in activities at school and in the community where there are other people your age.
Another way to make friends is to be friendly and helpful to other people. Talk to people, get to know them, and find out if you have something in common with them.
Peer pressure can play a major role in friendships. If someone is vulnerable to peer pressure, the relationship is not balanced.
Remember that you have the right and duty to stand up for what you believe is right. Express yourself with your friends. You have the freedom to say "no" if you disagree. If you are scared of losing a friendship by standing up for what you believe is right, then you are in an unstable friendship.
True friends listen to and respect each other's opinions.
Standing up for yourself may cause tension in a friendship, but it is OK as long as you have the skills to handle the situation. Remember to communicate your ideas while respecting your friend's opinion. By mutually supporting each other, whether or not you agree, your friendship will be more stable.
Below are tips for keeping friends.
- Be supportive.
- Be encouraging.
- Do not tease or belittle.
- Be considerate.
- Talk openly about disagreements.
- Apologize when you hurt them.
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Written By: Teens participating in the Summer Wellness Programs
Reviewed By:Nancy Brown, Ph.D.
Last Reviewed: October 2013
Below are links PAMF accessed when researching this topic. PAMF does not sponsor or endorse any of these sites, nor does PAMF guarantee the accuracy of the information contained on them.
Healthy Relationships: A Guide for Teens, Center for Young Women's Health.
Friends become increasingly important to health and happiness as people age, according to new research in the journal Personal Relationships. They’re so crucial, in fact, that having supportive friendships in old age was found to be a stronger predictor of wellbeing than having strong family connections.
The new paper explores the findings of two studies about relationships. In the first, involving more than 270,000 people in nearly 100 countries, author William Chopik found that both family and friend relationships were associated with better health and happiness overall. But at advanced ages, the link remained only for people who reported strong friendships.
“I went into the research sort of agnostic to the role of friendship,” says Chopik, assistant professor of psychology at Michigan State University. “But the really surprising thing was that, in a lot of ways, relationships with friends had a similar effect as those with family—and in others, they surpassed them.”
For the other study, Chopik analyzed a separate survey of nearly 7,500 older people in the U.S. Here, he found that it wasn’t just important to have friends, but that the quality of those friendships also mattered.
TIME Health Newsletter
When people said their friends were a source of strain, they reported having more chronic illnesses. (Interestingly, that was not the case for people who reported strain from their spouses and children.) When their friends were a source of support, people were happier.
None of this is particularly surprising, says Chopik. After all, unlike our family, we can choose our friends. “A few studies show that we often enjoy our time with friends more than with family,” he says. “We do leisurely things with friends, whereas family events are often serious or maybe a little monotonous.”
MORE: You Asked: How Many Friends Do I Need?
The benefits of having close pals may also be stronger for older people because, by that point, those friendships have stood the test of time. “You have kept those people around because they have made you happy, or at least contributed to your wellbeing in some way,” says Chopik. “Across our lives, we let the more superficial friendships fade, and we’re left with the really influential ones.”
But Chopik says the power of friendship on physical and mental health is often ignored in research—especially in older people, where relationships with spouses and children are often considered more important.
And while it’s true that family members are often the people who provide caregiving support to the elderly, he says this can also create a sense of obligation. These relationships are certainly beneficial and often vital, Chopik adds. But they may not provide as much joy as those with long-time friends do.
Of course, some people can share powerful friendships with their siblings, spouses, children and other family members—and that’s a positive, too, says Chopik. “The general point is that the more support, the more positive interactions, the better,” he says. “The important thing is having people you can rely on, for the good times as well as the bad.”