Friendships can be amazing. You have someone who you spend time with, who knows you sometimes better than you know yourself, and who is there for you no matter what. At least in theory. In today’s world, it’s hard to tell who is a friend, who is an acquaintance, and who is a toxic person you need to cut from your life. These articles deal with the definition of friendship and what traits you should expect from a friend. You’ll learn how to identify a bad friendship, learn how to make good friends, and learn how to distance yourself from a friend you no longer want to associate with.
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Medically Reviewed By: Aaron Horn, LMFT, MA
Friendship is an integral part of life. We form friendships when we meet someone and develop a bond with them. Friends show us the best parts of ourselves. A good friend will tell you when you’re doing something destructive and might be able to help you find a productive way to change it. Friends make your life richer. Friendships make you feel cared about and less alone. When you’re young, friendships can help you find your place of belonging in the world. This is also true for adults. However, it can be harder to form new friendships as an adult than it is as a child. If you become a parent, it can be even more difficult. You have to consider not only your friendship with another parent but also if your kids will get along or not. Friendships are an important part of our lives, and we need to understand how to build healthy friendships.
Building a Friendship as a Child
When we are children, we are in environments that allow us to make friends organically. When we go to school for the first time we are introduced to many people our own age. There is an organic process to meeting new people and establishing friendships. Often, you form friendships with those that have common interests, but it can go the other way, too. As the saying goes, “opposites attract.” For example, if you’re shy, you might seek out a friendship with someone that is outgoing because you admire their sociable nature. Friends are an important part of our childhood experience, and you will likely retain memories of times with your childhood friends for the rest of your life.
When It's Hard To Make Friends
If you’re shy, it can be hard to make friends. Some people might doubt themselves and believe that people won’t want to be their friend. These thoughts and feelings can make it difficult to reach out, and this might be one of the reasons that it is hard for you to make friends. Kids that experience social challenges might find it difficult to understand social cues, know when it’s their turn to speak, deciphering what is appropriate to say or what isn’t, and so on. If an individual has trouble making friends, a bully may, unfortunately, target them. It’s heartbreaking when a child is bullied. Targeting someone for their differences is entirely unacceptable. Bullying should be recognized and handled by bystanders and/or the staff at schools, since it can be hard for a victim of bullying to speak up.
Making Friends As An Adult
As an adult, you’re less likely to be in an environment (such as school) where you can make friends in a way that is organic. Some people form friendships at their job because so much time is spent together. It requires more effort to make friends as an adult, but it is possible. One way to build friendships as an adult is to engage in social situations that are focused on hobbies that you’re interested in. For example, if you like yoga or art, you might take a yoga class or an art class. There you can meet people with a common interest and hang out either at the group or outside of it.
When You're Having Trouble Making Friends
If you or your child is having trouble making friendships, it can be helpful to talk to a therapist or counselor to help you mend this issue.
If you’re having trouble making friends or maintaining friendships, talk to an online counselor. They will help you develop strategies to make and keep friends. Therapy is an excellent place to talk about friendships. Perhaps you’re experiencing a conflict with a friend or you’re struggling to make friends. Both of these issues can be worked through with a mental health professional. Search the extensive network of therapists and counselors at BetterHelp and find one that works for you.