Friends, some people have a lot of them, others maybe just one or two. Friends are with you through the good times and hopefully stick around in the bad times.

What makes a good friend?

Friends come and go….they come in all shapes and sizes. So what skills does a good friend have?
• Trust – One of THE most important qualities. Trust is the glue of a friendship. You want to be able to tell a friend things without them spilling your deepest and darkest secrets to others. Sometimes trust can appear to be broken – like if someone breaks your trust as you’re in danger – but they are really just looking out for your best interests.
• Acceptance – You shouldn’t have to change yourself to please your friend. They should accept you for who you are.
• Respect – A good friend should accept the decisions you make, support you in them and be there if things don’t go so well.
• Listening – A good friend will listen and engage in conversation. They’ll care about what you are saying and make sure you’re included in the friendship group.
• Honesty – It’s not just trust but honesty too. You need the friend who will tell you when you have food stuck in your teeth or toilet paper on the back of your shoe. Friends look out for you. They might also challenge you if they don’t agree with what you’re doing or making the wrong choice.
• Supportive – They’ll support your decisions (as long as they are safe) and motivate you to reach your goals. They’ll be there with you every step of the way.
A true friend always wants the best for you. Remember… You can choose your friends!

Peer pressure/influence

Some people use friendships to influence others. Sometimes these situations can become problematic, like spreading a rumour, taking drugs or drinking alcohol. This can have an effect on your wellbeing. What’s easiest is not always what’s best. What makes your friends happy isn’t always what makes you happy.

It’s not easy to work out when to say “No.” If you have family or other adults that you feel comfortable with then talk to them. Peer mentors at school/college can also help and support you. One way of figuring out what to do is to ask yourself these THREE questions……
1. Is this something you actually want to do, or are you just doing to make your friends happy?
2. What might happen as a result of you doing this? Or not doing this?
3. What decision do you really want to take now?

This helps you be open-minded and see things from a different perspective.

Standing up for yourself is not always easy. No-one should have the power to influence you to do what you don’t want to do. It may mean that you walk away or have to find new friends.

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