This post: 12 Things I Want My Teen Daughter to Know About Friendship
Written by: Ali Flynn
I’ve been reflecting a lot lately about the friendships I had growing up as well as the friendships I’ve fostered as an adult.
As a young girl and throughout my teen years, my family moved a lot. I attended 10 different schools from kindergarten through my senior year of high school, so forming friendships didn’t always come easy. But through it all, I learned an important lesson…
Friendship isn’t about who you’ve known the longest. It’s about who walked into your life and said, “I’m here for you,” and proved it. ~ unknown
As a mom of four daughters, now that my girls are teenagers and they’re learning how to navigate deeper, more meaningful relationships, I find myself sharing more advice about friendship.
How to give more and take less.
How to be a friend someone can count on.
How to approach friendships with forgiveness and grace.
How to accept your friends exactly as they are all while staying true to yourself.
So, at a time in their lives when their friends are their world, here are a few important things I want my daughter to know about friendship.
12 Things I Want My Teen Daughter to Know About Friendship
1. Find F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Who Love You and Love ‘Em Back
Good friends FIGHT for you, they RESPECT you, they INCLUDE you, ENCOURAGE you, NEED you, DEFEND you and STAND by you. If your circle of friends consistently falls short in these areas, they aren’t your friends, my darling. It’s better to be alone than be surrounded by people who make you feel lonely. Even if it takes a while to find them, seek out true friendships. It’s worth the wait…
“There’s nothing like a really loyal, dependable, good friend… nothing.” ~ Jennifer Anniston
1. Friendships are Like Flowers… They Take Time to Blossom
Someday, when you’re much older, you’ll realize that you’ll be able to count your “true” friends on one hand. That’s because real friends – the ones who stick by you through thick and thin – are awfully hard to come by. Real friendships take time, effort, honesty, commitment, and an open heart to truly blossom and grow. Look for friends who are willing to put the effort into growing a beautiful friendship and be willing to put forth the same effort.
“A friend is someone who overlooks your broken fence and admires the flowers in your garden.” ~ unknown
2. Be an Authentic Friend, Not a Fake Friend
It’s been said that the roots of deep, authentic friendship are acceptance, respect, and compassion. But it goes deeper than that. Being an authentic friend means pulling back the layers of protection we all surround ourselves with, going beyond surface-level pleasantries, and revealing who you really are. Search for friends who are truly authentic – who will cry in front of you when life is crummy, who fess up when they’ve screwed up royally, and who are comfortable with who they are. Those are the friends who give you permission to do the same.
“One true friend is worth more than a thousand fake ones.” ~ unknown
3. Give Your Friends Room to Make Mistakes
If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that friendship requires plenty of grace, understanding and forgiveness. Your friends will say the wrong thing, they will have bad days when they’re not the ideal friend, they will fall short or hurt your feelings on occasion. And, so will you. Friendship is about forgiving freely, realizing that you’re both human and you’re certainly not perfect. Don’t look for perfect friendships. Look for “honest and real” friendships.
“Friendship is when someone knows all about you but likes you anyway.” ~ unknown
4. Stay True to Yourself
Be honest and true to yourself and allow your friends to do the same. If your girlfriend decides to dye her hair pink, get a tattoo or is suddenly into a funky new style of clothing that you’re just not that into, support her with everything you’ve got, but don’t feel the need to follow. You are your own person. Stand on your own two feet and never change who you are to fit into someone else’s world.
“Be What You Want to Be, Not What Others Want to See.” ~ unknown
5. Be The Friend Someone Can Count On
Be the friend who’s there for the big stuff and the small stuff. Be the friend who cares and listens and laughs and turns down a better offer because they know you need them. True friendship isn’t something you can do when it’s easy or convenient. True friends can count on each other when it’s easy, when it’s hard, and every day in between.
“A good friend is someone who sits with you when you need them even though they’d rather be somewhere else.” ~ unknown
6. Not Everyone is Going to Welcome You as a Friend
You won’t always be included. You won’t always fit in. You won’t always be liked. And, that’s okay. Don’t waste your time wondering why or trying to convince people to appreciate you or see your value. Focus on being a good person and being the best you can be. Don’t waste your time proving it to people who don’t matter. Just move on and find a tribe that accepts and appreciates you for who you are.
“Stop caring so much what other people think. Instead, focus on you and becoming the best version of yourself.” ~ unknown
7. Learn to Be a Good Listener
Sometimes, all a friend really needs is a shoulder to lean on and a listening ear. Your friends won’t always want or need your advice or a solution to their problems. Sometimes, they might just need you to sit beside them so they don’t feel so alone. Remember that.
“True friends know when to be quiet, even when they have a lot to say.” ~ unknown
8. Steer Clear of Drama and Gossip
Gossip and drama… two things that will drain your energy, rob you of your decency and honor, and steal precious time away from what really matters in life. Walk away…steer clear of friends who gossip and live on drama. And, don’t gossip yourself or consume your life with unnecessary drama. Make a habit of shutting down conversations that aim to tear others down.
“Listen carefully to how a person speaks about other people to you. It’s how they will speak to other people about you.” ~ unknown
9. Be an Inclusive Friend
The moment you’re left off the invite list or disregarded on a Friday night is the same moment you should vow to never knowingly do the same to someone else. It hurts to be left out. Be the one who includes others. Be the one who reaches out and says, “Please come, we want you there!” Everyone wants to feel included… everyone.
“Sometimes, the greatest gift you can give someone is simply to include them.” ~ unknown
10. Don’t Strive to Be Popular; Instead, Strive to Be Real
Forget being popular. Instead, focus on being yourself, being friendly, humble, kind and real. Focus on being the friend you would want and need. You don’t need to be surrounded by a large group of “friends” to feel loved. You don’t need to be popular to be accepted. And, you don’t need someone else to believe in you to believe in yourself.
“Be Real. Be True. Be Yourself.” ~ unknown
11. Not All Friendships are Meant to Last
Perhaps out of all the things I want my daughter to know about friendship, this might be the important lesson of all. Every single friend who comes into your life is meant to be with you on your journey. But not all are meant to stay with you until the end. Some friends will enter your life at exactly the right time. Some friends will be with you until your last day on earth. And, some friends you might have to let go. It’s okay. Life changes. Just relish in the friends you have, while you have them. Enjoy their rays of sunshine because that’s what friends truly are.
“Growing apart doesn’t change the fact that for a long time you grew side by side. Be thankful for the time you had.” ~ unknown
12. Your Worth Will Never Be Defined by Your Friends
No matter how many friends you have. No matter how popular you might be. Your worth will never (ever) be defined by your friends. You have to define your own worth. You have to decide what and who you want the world to see. You have to become the person that makes you proud. Don’t rely on others to define you. Be your own kind of you.
“Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming something. Maybe it’s about un-becoming everything that isn’t you so you can become who you were meant to be in the first place.” ~unknown
“Thank you for being a friend. Travel down the road and back again. Your heart is true, you’re a pal and a confidant. And if you threw a party, invited everyone you knew. You would see the biggest gift would be from me and the card attached would say, thank you for being a friend.” – Goldens Girls Theme Song
About Ali Flynn:
Ali Flynn is excited to share with you the joys and hardships of motherhood with an open heart, laughter, and some tears. Ali is a monthly guest contributor for Westchester County Moms and has been seen on Filter Free Parents, Grown and Flown, Today Parents, The Mighty, Her View From Home and His View From Home, where she shares inspirational stories about motherhood while keeping it real. You can also find her on Facebook or Instagram.