Advice For Teens: To Have Friends, You Must Be A Friend First

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By Debra Beck

How to pick better Friends

When I look back on all of my experiences with my friends in my teenage years, most of my memories are not that great. I remember having a best friend one week and her leaving me for a new best friend the next week. It wasn't until I was older that I learned how to have better friends and how to be a better friend.

Having good friends while growing up and even when you're grown up is so important. It's where we learn how to relate and communicate to others. It's also where we learn about ourselves. So, when looking at how to pick better friends, the first thing you should do is ask yourself what kind of a friend are you, and what type of qualities are in a good friend. Let's start with a list of qualities you want in a good friend.

Picking Good Friends

What qualities I want in a friend:

 Loyal - always there for you
 Trustworthy - your secrets are safe with her
 Communicative - you can talk about things with her
 Caring - she really cares about you and others
 Has integrity - does what she says she is going to do
 Honest - she doesn't lie or cheat
 Fun - she enjoys being alive
 Positive - she has a good outlook on life
 Good listener - she can pay attention while you are talking
 Growing/Evolving - she is always working on being a better person
 Compatibility - we share the same interests

This is a list you can add to, and I hope you do. Now that we have a list of the qualities in a friend, I want you to look at this list and ask yourself if these are qualities you have. It will be very difficult to bring in a good friend if you yourself cannot be one.

So, what do you do if you are in a friendship where they might not be treating you right?

First thing you should do is to sit down and see if you can talk to your friend and tell her how you feel. If she is open to listening to you, this is a good sign, if she tells you to "get over it," look on the list of qualities and I believe she may be falling down on a few: loyal, communicative, caring, and good listener. Then, if she isn't willing to change, it might be a friendship you may have to let go of.

What if your friend wants to do something that you don't feel comfortable doing?

First you need to sit down and talk to her, and again, if she is open and lets you be you, great, if not, again, it might be a friendship you need to let go of. We have to be able to set good boundaries with our friends and they should respect us.

Pay attention to how your friends are treating you and how you are treating your friends. Talk about it with your friends and always keep your list close by.

About the Author: For 15 years, Debra Beck has mentored teenage girls, doing workshops with Girl Power, as well as creating and facilitating Spirited Youth.