Gumley House School FCJ

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When friendships are tested

Friendships CAN BE difficult at times

These times are hard.  They can make you feel terrible and alone, especially when others don't seem so affected by the struggles.  Relationships and friendships can change but the feeling is usually temporary.  Accepting that friendships can change may be helpful.  The following information from CAHMS might help you consider your own circumstances:

Friendships or relationships might change if…

  • Someone moves away
  • If there’s a falling out or disagreement
  • If you grow up and start to like new things
  • You don’t see that person very often
  • If another person joins the group
  • If something bad happens to someone
  • If someone loses a person they love
  • You start to view someone differently

Ways to manage changing friendships

  • Try to accept that friendships do change and this is okay.
  • Try to remember both the good and not so good things about your friend - nobody is perfect!
  • Remember that you might have changed too.
  • Don’t assume that they will still like the same things - ask them!
  • Be honest – if something isn’t working for you, tell them and remember most friendships have ups and downs.

5 reasons why it’s okay to break friendships off

  1. People change: A big difference in adulthood is about choosing who you surround yourself with; you don’t just need to befriend people because they’re in the same class as you.
  2. Or, people don’t change: As you learn more and get older, you will build up your particular beliefs and ways of thinking. Sometimes friends don’t grow up in the same way as you, or may not seem to have grown up at all.
  3. You have new priorities: You will have more on your plate as your studies increase and you take on more commitments. You might have to prioritise who you spend your time with.
  4. Toxic friendships: Some friendships can turn sour, particularly if there is jealousy involved or peer pressure to behave in a certain way. You deserve friends who support you and make you feel valued; if this isn’t the case, it may not be worth the time.
  5. You have enough friends already: It’s okay to have different kinds of friends, and if you develop new ones, you might not feel the need to maintain the old ones. Try to prioritise friendships that bring out the best in you, but also be aware that sometimes your friend might really need you to be there for them.

Tips on how to make friends

Be approachable

  • SMILE. Nobody is going to think you’re silly for smiling, even at people you don’t know. Try to hold your head up and make eye contact with people rather than look at the floor. This can be hard if you’re shy, so every time you manage it, give yourself a virtual high 5!
  • ASK A QUESTION. It’s good to introduce yourself and tell people a bit about yourself, but asking questions about others can help them feel like you’re interested in them. You can also ask questions about the school/college or compliment someone and turn it into a question.

Getting involved

  • Make the first move - since you’re new, people are more likely to be curious about you.
  • Join after school activities - it’s usually easier to make friends with others who have similar interests as you. A new school is a chance to reinvent yourself, so don’t be afraid to try new things.
  • Try to sit in the middle of the classroom - You’ll have more chance to make conversation with people and are more likely to be paired up with a variety of people for group work.

Advice for Parents

Supporting your child during difficult times

Other reading from Kooth:
Navigating Conflict with your sibling (a practical guide for Young People)

Depression and Low Mood (a practical guide for Young People)
Navigating difficulties in friendships