The people we spend the most time with shape us and high school is the time when we are exposed to more diverse social circles. Eventually, we start to think as they think and behave as they behave. We should know what kind of people we should spend time with, and whom we should ditch.
Think of this article as your perfect guide to building friendships that will "last a lifetime"!
Choosing friends is undoubtedly a personal decision and there's no one-size-fits-all approach to this. Some friends can help you grow, while others can bring you down. Here are some tips to help you make informed decisions!
Look for shared interests and values
Connect with more people and find out what they like and what they don't. It's quite natural to form a sync with people who are like-minded, so if there's a spark, then it'll surely ignite! Don't be shy to bring yourself out and explore clubs relating to your interests.
Suppose you're into reading. Try joining a literature club at school and you'll surely find many people to connect with and discuss your favourite genres. This will ensure that you have common ground and, in the long-term, you may find more mutual interests and enjoy your time together!
Observe how they treat others
Another important factor to consider is how potential friends treat others. If someone is kind, respectful, and empathetic towards others, it's likely that they'll treat you with the same level of kindness and respect. On the other hand, if someone engages in gossiping, bullying, or excluding others, they may not be a good friend.
It's important to look for red flags along the way and anything that could potentially harm you should be a warning sign. You might want to be friends with the so-called 'popular kids', but it's better to be with someone who can treat you the way you want to be treated and you help each other. Speaking from experience, it doesn't matter how influential a person is.
All that matters is whom you feel happier with. Who makes you feel like you can fly high beyond the sky and achieve all your goals. That's all. Make the other person/people feel the same and that's the perfect friendship you have there.
Consider their goals
It's better to surround yourself with people who have similar goals - people who can provide you with support and motivation, and make you accountable. Look for people who value the same things you do and, if not, make sure that they value what you stand for and who you are. You should be aligned with your friends' goals and be ready to be there to provide them with support, whenever they might need it.
Look beyond social status
There is no social status when it comes to people you want to bond with for life. You like someone, and they do too. You support each other and that's all you need.
It's easy to be drawn to popular friends, but popularity does not necessarily equate to being a good friend. Don't base your decision solely on someone's social status, but rather on their character and how they treat others.
Don't be afraid "to be yourself"
Friends are those who accept who you are and encourage you to continue to do so. You're not being friends with someone to fit in with them or impress others. Don't change the things that make you, 'you', just to fit in with the crowd.
It'll bring you no good and only make you miserable in the time to come. If someone doesn't accept you, then they're not right for you. Keep looking!
The most important thing to remember is that it's okay to have a few friends who make you feel free, comfortable, and happy rather than have many friends around whom you can't even express your true feelings.
Signs of a Toxic friendship to look out for
1. Compare you to other people
If someone ever points out how you don't measure up to their other friends, they're not good for you. A good friend wouldn't imply that you're "less" than someone.
2. Leave you unsettled
In a good friendship, you're supposed to feel good spending time with them, not relieved. If there's someone you don't look forward to spending time with, consider rethinking your friendship.
3. Gossiping about you
Suppose you shared something with your friend in confidence, and the next day, everyone knows about it, then they probably don't value your feelings. It's possible for anyone to slip up and say things they shouldn't, but toxic friends seem to enjoy spreading secrets. If someone consistently breaks your trust, it's okay to let go.
4. Put you down
A little bit of teasing is natural among friends when it makes you laugh too. But if someone really demeans you and makes you feel miserable, and insults you, then your friendship isn't healthy.
5. Never around when you need them
If someone is only around when things are all bright and sunny or when they need you, and disappear into thin air when the need arises for you. They never let you talk it out and focus the conversation on them. They could go on and on about their problems and not even lend an ear to yours, let alone a shoulder to cry on.
It's okay to offer them a second chance, but it might not always be a good thing. Take the sign and flee when needed. Listen to your heart and go with your gut.