“True friends are truly life’s treasures. Sometimes they know us better than we know ourselves. With gentle honesty, they are there to guide and support us, to share our laughter and our tears. Their presence reminds us that we are never really alone.”
— Vincent Van Gogh
Friends provide you a sense of belonging, a feeling of being valued and respected which helps with developing your confidence. Positive, accepting and supportive friendships help you develop into a mature adult. They also provide you a sense of security and comfort in being with others and going through the same experiences.
Good friends become a source of information about the physical and emotional changes taking place in you. They provide support in figuring out talents and interests, social skills, independence from adults and problem-solving.
Teen years are often stressful. Having trustworthy and loyal friends helps you deal with the stress and uncertainty that is a normal part of development. Healthy friendships provide teens with social support in dealing with some of the challenges of growing up.
Friends are also outlets for fun and excitement. They help you find healthy ways to have fun outside home, at school and at the workplace. While with unhealthy peer influences, a teen may engage in negative behaviour, healthy friendships encourage pastimes that involve no risk of delinquency or harm.
Teens face a number of challenges as they forge friendships in high school and beyond. Friendship issues may arise due to differences in race, gender or socio-economic reasons. Teens may not be willing to speak to others in a new school or engage in popular activities when they move to a new location.
Supportive friendships formed when you are a teen can bolster your self-confidence and give you resources to assist with later periods of your life. Don’t be afraid to reach out to others. You should strive to open up to outgoing and accepting teens. Should you become upset due to the challenges of making friends, your school counsellor can offer insights into finding the right group that appeals to your needs and personality traits.
Gratian Vas is a former teacher, headmaster, principal and resource person for educational institutions. In a career spanning 50 years, he has written over 150 educational and general books for young readers.