Being a teen is hard. Raising a teen is also hard. Getting, keeping and getting on with friends can also be hard. After attending a kids party recently I realised how hard it is to make friends when you’re an adult and everyone already has their groups and aren’t willing to let an outsider in. It’s made me think back to my younger teenage self and what I would tell her about friends.
Friends. Who’d have ’em? Well, most of us hopefully in some form or other. Some people keep the same group of friends over the years, some have different groups of friends, some may even have none at all.
I lost my best school friend about a year after we’d finished comprehensive school, for the purposes of this post we’ll call her Sophie. We’d gone to college to do different courses and during that time had made new friends from those respective courses. There was one girl in particular whom she had befriended who I didn’t take to. Just one of those things, you can’t like everyone so I just avoided her. As time went on though it occurred to me she had an agenda. I had a new boyfriend at the time and had confided in Sophie that he was a bit too nice and I wasn’t sure where it would go and if he was the one for me. In turn Sophie had told this girl (not sure why) who it turned out was also a mutual friend of my boyfriend. She then came to me and told me that if I didn’t tell him, she would. I was young, naive and so I finished with him rather than her drop me in it and cause a big scene, which looking back is obviously what she was hoping for.
The nail in the coffin however was when I’d gone out for the night clubbing with my new college friends I was aware that this girl was also there, as was Sophie’s boyfriend – not together- but not Sophie. I said “Hi!” to both at different times and thought no more of it. The next day however I got a distressed phone call from Sophie asking me who the hell I thought I was kissing her boyfriend? When I asked her where on earth she’d got that idea from, in the back of my mind I already knew. Of course it was her, lighting the fuse and standing back as it went off. Sophie was devastated, understandably as she thought her boyfriend and I had cheated but other than the quick hello I’d not even been near him. I was really angry that not only was I being accused of something I hadn’t done but that she blatantly believed it. We were never really friends afterwards and whilst it all seems very childish now but at the time it seemed the end of the world. We had been friends when Facebook reared it’s ugly head but when she recently unfriended me I knew she still held a grudge.
With those things filed under experience these are the things I’d tell my younger self and my own teen about friends.
• If they put you down and make you feel shit about yourself? They’re not your friend.
• If they let you down time and time again? They’re not your friend.
• If they try it on with your significant other or even just someone you’ve told them you have ‘a thing’ for? They’re not your friend.
• If they make snidey comments about you either to you face or behind your back? They’re not your friend.
• If they constantly ask for favours but never return them? They’re not your friend.
• If you’ve asked tactfully or otherwise not to say things that upset you and they still do? They’re not your friend.
• If they try to get you to do something they know you’re not comfortable with? They’re not your friend.
• If they tell lies about you or anyone else to make themselves look good or get their own way? They’re not your friend.
• If they screen shot conversations in group chats or Snapchat and use them against you to make themselves look good? They’re not your friend.
Basically what I’m trying to say is if they don’t treat you with respect you don’t have to put up with it just because you think you’ll have no friends. You WILL make new ones. Your life will go in all sorts of different directions and you just never know what’s around the corner.