18 Mar What do you value in a friend?
When it comes to friendships, knowing who you are has a lot to do with making solid friends.
And making solid friends has everything to do with who you are: Your friends teach you about who you are and knowing who you are helps bring solid friends into your life.
One of the main tasks of the teen years (and the whole reason for this website) is for you to figure out who you are. During the teen years you figure out who you are through the interactions and experiences you have with your friends: this feels good, that didn’t, I like her for her personality, I don’t like his choices so I won’t hang out with him, etc. This is one of the reasons your social world seems to be so HUGE right now. Your social world informs you about your self. (Until now, your parents have been the greatest influence toward your “self” development, but now, in general, you are turning toward your social life for lessons about your self.)
When you think about who you are and who you love to hang out with, you think about the values and traits that mean something to you (whether or not you are aware of it). For example, perhaps you value humor and you love that your friend is so funny she can joke her way out of a bad grade.
So, ask your self, “What makes a good friend?”. Sometimes (because life can be mysterious), you can’t put your finger on why you like hanging out more with Zach than Jamal, but you just do. And that’s okay. But at some point, reflecting on the traits and values that you prize in a person will help forge solid relationships. So ask yourself, “What qualities do you honor in a friend?”
Here are some values. Do you feel that you possess any of them? Which ones? How about your friends?
Honesty. Loyalty. Compassion. Generosity. Patience. Kindness. Courage. Responsibility. Respectfulness. (The list goes on! Add a few more.)
And then there are traits that people possess that you also enjoy. Below are a few examples. Which ones do you find important for your friends to possess? Do you have any of them?
Fun. Funny. Similar interests. Different point of view. Musical. Adventurous. Enjoys navel gazing. (Also a long list! Add a few more.)
You may be buddies with people with different values and traits than you have. That’s what makes the world go round. But you will most likely hang out with people who have similar values and whose traits and values complement yours.
For instance, you’re unlikely to hang out with someone who bullies if you admire compassion, or with someone who lies constantly if you admire honesty. Sharing similar values has a large impact on creating strong friendships.
Sharing complementary traits and interests also helps to strengthen a friendship. You probably would be less likely to hang out with someone who wants to be an expert in paranormal activity if you are afraid of or don’t believe in ghosts, while you might be more likely to hang out with someone who enjoys pig wrestling the way you do.
Look around. Whom do you like and why? You’ll likely learn a lot about yourself as you ponder the answers.