Raise good friends ~ Find good Friends ~ Be a good friend
Uhg - the dreaded middle school years. You remember them. The years when people start to develop into who they are going to be. The years when all the sweet little girls who giggled and played together are suddenly morphing into drama queens. The years when everyone is figuring out who they are and who their friends are and what groups of people they fit in with and it is so much drama!
So Kylie, my daughter, has been having a tough time navigating growing up and being a good friend and not being taken advantage of etc. She is drawn to the Regina Georges in life and (to my horror) can also be one to nice people in her life… So Balance… Time for Learning.
Parenting is hard.
As it turns out our kids don’t always naturally know how to discern human behavior nor do they always naturally behave as awesome humans. Children are not meant to be some random social experiment. They need lessons. They need examples. They need help.
This leads us to my parenting moment… I was trying to explain it to her - everything. The meaning of life. The value of friendship. Knowing someone VS someone fun to hang out with VS true, real friendship.
These are important lessons in life. “Not everyone in your life will be a forever friend, in fact most won’t. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t important in your journey. Life is meant to be full of relationships, connections. People are valuable. They are valuable to God and should be to you also.” I told her.
“So be friendly with the people in your life. Treat others the way you would want to be treated. Consider their journey. Think about their situation, life circumstance and make good choices about what you say next. Don’t say everything that pops into your head. Make choices about the conversations you want to have. Ask yourself what you are adding to the conversation.”
Joy? Thoughtfulness? Inspiration? Helpfulness? Kindness? Encouraging? Honest?
Not everything you say has to be positive. But it should have a positive goal. Being honest is very important. That said, you have to be honest with yourself too. You only have so much time and resources you can’t invest in everyone.
Friendship takes work.
To have good friend, you must be a good friend.
Being a good friend and having good relationships takes work on everyone’s part. Investing time, emotion and so much more. Not everyone in your life is going to be a true friend - we call them “besties”. And while it is important to have all kinds of relationships, it is also important to learn how to trust others and when not to.
One of the ways you can do this is to know what you are looking for in a friend.
What qualities do you want in a bestie? What is important to you?
What to look for in a friend? …. And I started analyzing (shocked expression here).
What is in my hierarchy of needs in friends?
So here goes; the most important things to me,
1. Loyalty - someone you know you can trust, will have your back and not talk behind it.
2. Dependability – stemming from loyalty but not exactly the same, this is a trait where the person says they will do something and then actually does it. They make every effort even at their own expense and sometimes even without the real desire to do said activity. They show up, follow through and are dependable.
3. Stimulation – they are interesting to talk to. They might not agree with you so they can help you see the world from a different perspective. You may still not agree but you are a better person because of them. They have something to add to the conversation and help you on life’s journey to never stop learning or growing as a person.
4. Encouragement – I almost left this one out. But it is important. They believe in you. They see you as an asset to the world, if not the world at large, their world. They encourage you to be better, to have fun to enjoy life. They inspire you to want to be better. They do NOT make you feel bad about yourself. They make you feel like you could be a better person than you thought you were in the first place.
These are the qualities I find most important in friendship. They are also collectively super rare. It may be different for you. But knowing what is important to you in a meaningful friendship is the key to discerning who is a “friend” and who may become a “bestie”.
So I hope this helps my daughter learn how to choose her friends carefully. How to be kind and not over invest in the wrong relationships. I hope it helps her to be a better friend, knowing that being a good friend builds friendships. And I hope it helps you - You my sweet reader friend. I hope it helps you with your kids and all your relationships.
Be a better friend and build lasting relationships.