Having good friendships can help you to build resilience. Having someone you can trust to talk to when you’re feeling down, or when something has gone wrong is important.

But what is a good friend? A good friend is someone who:

  • Supports you through anything
  • Is kind and compassionate
  • Listens to you
  • Is able to keep things private if you ask them to

Friends don’t always have to have the same interests or hobbies as you, they might not even be the same age or gender as you. You could be complete opposites, but good friends are able to understand your differences and accept you as you are.

Sometimes friendships can fizzle out as you get older, or you can fall out with friends. It can be difficult if you are stuck in a negative friendship. This could be when your ‘friend’:

  • Says nasty things about you to other people
  • Pressurises you into doing things that you don’t want to
  • Makes you feel left out
  • Makes you feel uncomfortable or unhappy
  • Takes a joke or ‘banter’ too far

If this happens then that person is not acting like a good friend. This can have a bad affect on your mental health and how you view yourself. Here are some top tips on how to deal with a friendship you are struggling with:

Try and talk to them: Explain to your friend how their actions make you feel. They might not have realised that you were feeling hurt or upset, so talking to them about it calmly will give you a chance to explain your feelings and a way for you to establish boundaries so that there are no miscommunications in the future.

Do not retaliate: You can’t fight fire with fire, if you don’t like the way that your friend is acting, do not react in the same way. For instance, if you have heard that your friend has said something bad about you to someone else, don’t go and say bad things about them to get back at them. That only makes the situation worse. Just speak to your friend and ask them about what they have said and why.

Forgive and forget: Don’t hold onto negative things that your friend has done from years ago. Holding grudges isn’t good it will only make things worse in the long run. Once a situation is over, then forgive the other person and forget about it.

Make new friends: If your friendship with someone has come to an end, don’t be afraid to try and make new friends, most friendships are amazing, don’t let one bad experience put you off.

Sometimes making new friends can seem scary and daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of ways you can make new friends:

Get involved: Joining groups or clubs, either in school, out of school, is a great way to meet new like-minded people. Check out our Talents and Interests page for more information about how to join a club.

Volunteer: You could find volunteer projects in your local community. This is a great way to meet lots of people from different backgrounds, as well as giving back to your area.

School: Speak to people who you might not have spoken to already in your school. If you speak to someone in class but have never hung out with them, then why not give them a message and see if they would like to do something on the weekend.

Watch Emma’s story about how she made new friends (link to animation – will be in a separate article )

There is always room for improvement. Reflect on your own friendships and think about how you could be a better friend. Maybe you need to work on your listening skills, be more honest about how you are feeling or be more compassionate towards your friends. Once you have identified how you can be a better friend then you can start working on it and putting it into practice. You’ll be the best friend that anyone could have and you[

Watch Katie’s story about how she coped when having arguments with her friends (link to animation – will be in a separate article)