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Friends and mates...

When I speak to young people about the reasons why they do or don’t enjoy their high school experience, one of the most common automatic responses has to do with friendships and social interactions. In fact, friends and peer groups are one of the highest priorities in the lives of most teenagers so it makes sense that the bulk of this time interacting occurs in school.

Friendships built throughout your high school years can indeed be a lifelong and wonderful bond.

Some kids really struggle at times, making friends. School days can be tough, isolating places. Lonely at times. If that’s you, and you really hate school due to friendship issues, be assured — You are NOT ALONE! There are many young people out there who struggle socially at school. I know that may not seem very reassuring right now, but there are some useful tips we’ll look at in this book that may help you expand your social network at school.

I remember a girl I knew in high school. She cried to me about not having friends, not having anyone to notice that she was so alone. She’d even sat in a cubicle in the toilet block one whole lunchtime and hadn’t been noticed.

Stepping back from the emotion she felt, the physical isolation she caused by locking herself in the cubicle was actually the problem. The truth is, she had been missed. People didn’t know where she had gone and assumed she might have been spending time with others.
She really needed to get out and give other people a chance to get to know her.

You, too, are worth getting to know and you have a great deal to offer other people — namely, your friendship. But you will often (not always) need to take the first step
and give others an opportunity to get to know you!

Ralph Waldo Emerson was so right when he said, ‘The only way to have a friend is to be one first’. When you really stop and think about it, can you really expect to have great friends if you aren’t willing to step out and be one first?

Perhaps you’re really shy, and that’s okay. Some people are not very outgoing, and I’m not asking you to change your personality. But you will need to sometimes step out of your comfort zone and into your courage zone and take that first step to say hello to someone. I assure you that you’ll be surprised once you start making conversation with others.

Have you ever sat at home and thought to yourself, ‘Why hasn’t anyone phoned me?’ Good question… until you think to yourself, ‘Hey, when was the last time I phoned someone?’

It takes two to make a great friendship work. And, you will get
out of a friendship exactly what you put into it.

Important qualities to look for in friends

  • Honesty
    good friends will always tell you the truth, even if they know it’s not want you want to hear.
  • Acceptance
    true friends will accept you for the gorgeous person that you are – they will love you for the good parts and the not-so-good parts, because of who you are.
  • Sharing
    friends share your passions and interests, but also understand that they don’t have to love everything you like.
  • Listeners
    friends will be there just to listen, if that’s what you need. Sometimes just sharing a problem or exciting news can make all the difference.
  • Stickability
    good friends will always stick right by you – if you’re being bullied or have made a mistake (as we all do from time to time).

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