Toxic Friend or Good Friend?
The majority of friendships start off well. People meet, converse, have things in common or just click and then begin a course of friendship as the weeks and months progress. Friendship is great; good for the mind, body and heart. In an ideal world, everybody is a great friend and their friendship is reciprocated by another great friend. However, we all know this is not always the case, as there are friendships that are not good. I was asked a question this week, “early on in friendship, how can you tell whether the friendship is good or bad?” Before I answer that, I will tell a short story…
I recently heard of two teenage girls in secondary school who became really close friends. Let’s say their names were Sasha and Lola. Their friendship began within a friendship group, however, the closer they got, the more they alienated themselves from others. Sasha had been a grade A student until she got close to Lola. Unfortunately, Lola had always found school work difficult, therefore no longer put in the effort. Furthermore, Lola decided it was better to smoke, drink and skip school. Needless to say, Sasha also started behaving this way. As the two girls grew closer, their school work and relationship with others began to decline.
The relationship described above cannot be defined as a good relationship. As a parent, I would not be happy for any of my children to have friendships that influence them to behave negatively. Therefore in response to the question on ‘how to tell early on in a relationship whether a friendship is good or bad’, I would suggest reflecting on the attitude and behaviour of each friend early on in the relationship and how they influence you to behave. It is always good to assess whether your friendships are beneficial; whether they help or hinder you. Here are a few things to consider, especially early on in friendship:
A friend should always want the best for you
Friends should be supportive
Friends should be trustworthy
A friend should never ask, blackmail or force you into breaking rules/laws.
Your friendship should not cause you to feel alienated from others,
Being a friend does not mean being depended on for absolutely everything.
Friendships should not be stressful
A friend should not be a bad influence
While we cannot choose our family, we can choose our friends and we should do so with ‘both eyes open’. It is vital for young people to consider and make good friendship choices, as the selection of friends they make can have a negative or positive impact on their achievements, grades, career and life.
The importance of having good friends does not diminish with age. Friendships ‘permeate’ our lives; as adults we are influenced by them and so it makes sense that we should regularly assess who we call friends. I am not suggesting friends should be perfect as there is no such thing as a perfect friend or person.
In reality, a close friend is different from a good friend. It takes more than closeness to make a good friendship.
Have a good day.
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