Why being just friends is almost never enough

In the ideal world, if you were just friends with someone, you would never want more from the relationship, but such is not the case. It seems that being just friends is almost never enough, and here is why:
•    Chemistry. Let’s face it, we have natural inclinations to be attracted to and drawn to members of the opposite sex. This may be why you initially became just friends in the first place. However, the longer you are friends, the more nature takes over. The hormones you have, the feelings, etc. will lead you to want more than just a friendship. Even if the attraction is not physical, you start to have a larger attraction.
•    Time. When you spend a lot of time with someone, which is what happens when you are just friends with someone, then you start to really get to know them, and they start to really get to know you. It is totally normal to want a deeper, more meaningful relationship with someone when they know your inner workings, your secrets, your strengths, your fears, your insecurities etc. So, almost by default, as your friendship grows, so will your desire to be more than just friends. And who can help it?
•    Appreciation. You want to be with someone who appreciates you for you. And, when you are friends with someone of the opposite gender, you show your true side, not some masqueraded side that you put on when you are around someone you like. Your guard is down, and they get insight into who you really are. While this makes you vulnerable, it also makes you comfortable. If they like you back, you know it is because of who you are, not because of some show you put on to impress them.
•    Fun. For most, a relationship is something they would like to be in, and the logical side of them says that they have more fun with this guy that they are just friends with, so why not have them as their boyfriend. They are more fun than anyone else, plus you get all of the above mentioned benefits.
•    Companionship. You can’t kiss, cuddle, or hold hands with guys that are just your friends, and let’s face it, sometimes we just want someone to lay under the blanket with and watch the show. However, when you start doing this with your just friends guy friend, you can’t help but start feeling more for them. It is hormones, but those hormones lead to other feelings, and pretty soon you start to realize that dating someone who is such a good friend could be great because it takes you companionship to the next level.
•    The risk. People like taking risks, and you can’t help but wonder if he does, or could, like you as more than a friend. So, while you know that a more serious relationship than a friendship could potentially ruin the friendship, it is almost the excitement of it. You push limits, and you go for him because you have established that you are just friends, and thus he is off limits, which makes him more attractive.
•    Not everyone is honest. Often times being just friends is not going to be enough because initially one of the two of you wanted more than that. When more than that is not an option initially, being just friends is the next best thing. So, instead of being honest, they or you, get into a relationship where you will always want more.  You can’t fool yourself into thinking just friends is enough when it wasn’t at first.

Why your friends change when you are a teen

Many teens ask themselves: Why do all of my friendships seem to be changing?

The answer is simple, and yet complex at the same time. Your friendships change because you change. In fact, your friendships are changing because you AND all of your friends are changing. The teenage years are a time of physical, emotional, and social growth and change. These changes don’t happen at the same time, or at the same speed, from one person to the next. The changes are not the same. This means that you may start to value school more, and your one-time best friend might start to value the party life more. These are natural changes, and they lead to growing apart, or drifting apart of friendships. There is a good chance your friends will change, and this is why statistically, most people’s friends from college are the friends they stay with for life. By the college years you have pretty much defined who you are, and your views, values, and opinions are not likely to change much or be as easily influenced, thus the people you associate with and have common interests with at that stage will share those interests with you for years to come. When you are a teen it is just not the case.

What you can do about it:

The first thing you can do is recognize change as normal and vital, and not try to fight it too hard. It is a part of growing up.

The second thing you can do is look for new friends that have common interests. If your friendships change it is because the people in them are changing, so it might be smart to simply find friendships with people like who you have changed to.

Lastly, you can try to keep some connection with the people whose friendships matter to you the most. They will never be the same, but that does not mean they have to disappear completely.

How to accept it and find peace in it:

Change can be difficult, this is especially true if it leaves you feeling friendless for a time. So, to accept it and find peace in it, you may want to anticipate it some, and start developing other friendships. This does not mean you should ignore your current friendships, but recognize the transient nature of teen friendships, and be open to making new ones, you never know where you will find someone who is so completely on the same wavelength as you.

You also need to find ways to keep the friendships that you currently have alive as much as you can. This means that if you have things in common still make a concerted effort to spend time together doing those things. It is your responsibility to keep your friendship alive.

When your friends ditch you

As a teenager your friends are likely to change several times over the course of high school. However, knowing that your friendships are likely to change does not make it any easier when someone you care about as a friend decides that they no longer value your friendship. When you friends ditch you, or find other friends, it hurts. However, you have to remember that it is not the end of the world, and that you are probably better off. The following is a look at how to deal with the loss of friends during your teenage years, and how to make new friends:

  1. Acknowledge that you grew apart. The teen years are formulative years, and you often change during this time. Your goals, objectives, focuses, and interests change. One may care about college, and studies, while another may care more about boys/girls, sports, or pep rallies. The fact is that often times your friendships end, and friends ditch you because your interests are no longer aligned. You care more about one thing, and less about what they care about, so they naturally realign themselves with people who have the same interests, problems, goals, and focuses.
  2. Recognize that changing is not a personal failure. You have changed, and so have your friends, so if that means you are no longer a good match as friends, this is not a personal failure. It can feel that way, it can feel like you are the reason they do not want to be friends any more. You are not cool enough, funny enough, pretty enough, athletic enough, etc. However, this is simply not true. Despite how it feels, the fact that you grew apart because you changed is just natural, and does not reflect anything on you. Being ditched by friends is not a personal failure it is a rite of passage in the teen years. If it doesn’t happen you may want to ask yourself why you are not progressing.
  3. Find new friends. Just like the best way to get over a love interest is to get interested in someone else, the best way to get over the loss of a friend is to find new friends that you enjoy spending time with. You may still feel a void for a time, as you won’t have the memories and long forged bonds to inspire the intimacy you had with your other friends, but with time you will find that, and often it will be even more rewarding.

If your old friendships matter so much to you that you are deeply distressed by the loss, do what you can to reforge the bonds. However, you have to realize that there are two people in every relationship, and if they simply aren’t interested in being your friend any more, then do not waste your time on them, find someone else that will appreciate the things you have to offer in a friendship.

Gossip a problem amongst friends

Gossip. This is a common problem among teen friendships, and can continue on to adult friendships. Gossip can be hurtful, malicious, or just idle. It takes on many faces, but when it all comes down to it, gossip is hurtful and should not be spread.

Why teens gossip. Teens often gossip because they have nothing better to talk about, and because in the teen world, the person with the most insider information is the highest on the totem pole. The problem is that this often leads to gossip chains being spread through the social circles, people’s reputations being ruined, their secrets being spread, and their social life being destroyed. Never, in the history of gossip, has the spreading of it brought about a positive outcome. Gossip spreading is always negative. So, why do teens do it? Well, it is more common among girls, and the experts think that it has something to do with the fact that they are excellent communicators, and thus it is fodder for communication. They exert so much time and energy on communication that they often run out of material, and resort to repeating things they have heard, seen, etc. whether it is their business or not.

How gossip hurts friendships.

Gossip is a destroyer, and friendships are not exempt from its powerful influence. However, among teens, gossip can be even more detrimental to friendships. Here is why:

During the teen years you need a confidant. You usually have worries, insecurities, and secrets you want to share. If you are a gossip, or your friends are, you won’t feel comfortable sharing with them or relying on them. This boils down to a lack of trust. Trust is one of the critical pillars of friendship. Without it a friendship will crumble quickly. Gossiping, even if it is not about your friends, undermines their ability to put trust in you.

Gossip often gets manipulated, changed, and spread. This means that things get blown out of proportion, stories get changed, and facts get skewed. It is like the telephone game you play in elementary school by sitting in a circle and whispering in one another’s ears. By the time the message makes it around the circle it is changed. So it is with gossip. This means that if you let gossip into your friendships, innocent comments, experiences, etc. may be escalated out of proportion until feelings are hurt, trusts ruined, and relationships crushed.

How to not let gossip into your friendships.

  1. Don’t ever spread it. Ever. Make sure that the gossip stops at you. If you hear it, don’t spread it, and never be the one to start it.
  2. Do not put up with it from friends. Just tell them you do not gossip, so not to spread it to you, and to leave you out of their gossip.
  3. Find other ways to occupy times and conversations. Gossip is for the idle, and is often worst when people get bored, so stay involved and busy so that you do not get tempted into gossip in your friendships.

Finding friends in unexpected places

As a teenager, friends, and the drama attached can sometimes be a little overwhelming. Friends change, life progresses, you change, etc. Sometimes friends, and the work it takes to make friends can seem like more hassle than it is worth.

Why you should have friends:

As a teenager life can be full of changes, friends help you stay sane, and often act as an anchor during that hectic time. They can guide and direct you, support you, and be someone to have fun with. Without friends, life would be boring, lonely and much too school focuses. So, having some friends is always wise, but this does not mean you need a million friends. A few close friends are often better than twenty okay friends.

Who your friends are:

Friends is a term that many teenagers use liberally. However, when it comes to finding friends in unexpected places, it is important to understand what it means to be a friend. A friend is not someone who is going to back-stab you, gossip about you, or treat you unkindly. In fact, they are the opposite. A friend is going to be there for you when you need them. They are going to be trustworthy, and someone who protects your secrets. Friends are sensitive to your feelings, and would never intentionally hurt you.

So, when talking about finding friends in unexpected places, it is important to recognize this is not about finding acquaintances, or people to hang out with, but friends.

Tips for finding friends in unexpected places:

Never prejudge people. You never know when someone you run into has the potential to be a close friend. If you base your friend selection off clothes, hair, social status, etc. yours will be a lonely life.

Be open to making friendships. Sometimes you miss signals given by people that want to be friends because you have your exclusive group. The fact is, you should always be willing to make new friends, especially if they will be true friends.

Be approachable. You will not find friends in unexpected places if you are a snob, if you do not allow people to approach you. If you are short with people, rude, or stand-offish, no one is going to take the risk to be your friend who you wouldn’t normally befriend. So, be open and inviting.

Examples of unexpected places:

It is amazing where you can find friends. For example, you may get a job, and initially think that the people you work with are all weird. However, you may find you have more in common than you think, and that they end up being some of your favorite people to spend time with. The following are a few of the unexpected places that as a teen you can find friends:

  1. Your job. If you want to make any money and have fun during the time at work, get to know the people you work with.
  2. Your church. You already have a common interest, and somewhere you can spend time together on a regular basis.
  3. Your classes. You may not have classes with your existing friends, but you will be spending an hour a day with the people in your classes, you might as well search out some friendships
  4. In your locker section. You visit your locker regularly, you might as well spark up a conversation and get to know the others who locker in your section.
  5. Your bus. You live close, and you are going to have to be together for at least a few minutes each day, talk and get to know each other.

Do platonic friendships work for teens?

As a teenager you interact with people of the same gender, and people of the opposite gender. This can be fun and exciting, but it can also be problematic, especially when you do not have the same level of feelings for someone as they have for you. The following is a look at whether or not platonic friendships really work for teens:

What is a platonic friendship?

A platonic friendship means a friendship between members of the opposite sex that is strictly friendly. In essence it is a way of saying that a boy and girl are friends and that there are no romantic feelings involved whatsoever. Many people try for platonic friendships, and they want them to work, but that does not mean that they do work.

Do they actually work?

This is the question for the ages, and the reason it is still a question is because there is not way to truly know if anyone has ever been successful at having a strictly platonic friendship. Some people claim that their feelings are purely friendship motivated, but there is no way to know the truth, especially when people often bury it. It seems however, that in most cases, one or the other parties harbors some sort of deeper feelings for the other member, making it not really a platonic friendship, but a friendship fueled by unrequited love.

So, what happens?

Typically if a boy and a girl are friends, and neither are homosexual, one or the other has hidden feelings of some kind for the other. Usually they will try to convince themselves that they are just friends, and that friendship is all they want, but eventually it will become too much for one or the other, and the problem will come to a head, and the two will either start dating, or they will see a strain in their relationship, or and end of the friendship.

How can you try and get them to work?

Just because history shows that platonic friendships are rare, and hardly ever last test of time does not mean you should not strive to be friends with people of the opposite gender. Here are a few tips for how to try and get them to work:

  1. State your objectives clearly. When you become friends with someone you have to know, and they have to know if you have any sort of feelings beyond friendship. You have to be honest with yourself. “I like you, and I know the feelings are not returned, so I would rather be friends than nothing.” Or “I only have friendly feelings for you, and will not return deeper affection.” That puts it out there.
  2. Never send mixed signals. One of the reasons platonic friendships rarely work is that at some point a mixed signal is sent. Someone initiates a cuddle during a movie, or hugs too tightly, or calls too often, etc. If you are going to be “just friends” then be that. Don’t hold hands, don’t cuddle, etc.
  3. Develop friendship. Platonic friendships only last if there is a true base of a friendship. So, trust each other, share secrets, spend time together, have fun together, and do it without the flirting and mechanisms of dating.

A Step By Step Guide To Making Friends

It’s never easy to step out of your comfort box and to make friends. As a teen girl you may find that making friends can be one of the biggest challenges you will face. How can you look for ways to make friends and to be a good friend to others? You need to be able to learn how to have confidence in yourself and to start taking the first steps! Here are some easy steps to follow that will help you in being able to make lifelong friends.

Step # 1 – Know yourself

What qualities do you have that will make you into a good friend? You need to get to know yourself and to be able to trust yourself to be a good friend. It is a smart idea to take time to look in front of the mirror each day and give yourself a pep talk. Point out all of the great qualities that you have and that you really like about yourself. This is a great way to have confidence in yourself and to know that you are an amazing and talented person and you can make friends! If you have confidence, you will find that it is a lot easier as the friendships will be able to come to you naturally and you will not need to force them.

Step # 2 – Speak up!

How can you make friends if you just sit in the corner and never talk? If you want to make friends, you need to make the first move and start talking! You may be surprised to see that a lot of other people are dealing with the same hesitation about making friends and they are also scared to speak up. By taking that first step, you can easily make them feel at ease and you will both be able to find a number of different things to talk about. Finding something that you have in common with another person is one of the easiest and best ways in which you can make friends.

Step # 3 – Smile and be kind

A great way to make friends is by being a nice person. When you have a warm smile on your face and you are always polite and nice, people will gravitate towards you. Treat others the way that you want to be treated as a friend. When you have kindness and warmth, it will welcome many others and you will make a lot of great friends.

Step # 4 – Listen

If you want to be a great friend you need to learn how to listen. People want to see that you are actually interested in what they have to say. A good friend is one that knows how to listen and understands the importance of just listening. Always give your friends your complete eye contact so they can see you are invested in the conversation. You need to show your friends that you are listening to them as this will be able to really make an impression on them.

Step # 5 – Be true to yourself

A good friend will love you for who you are and they will not ask you to change for them. You need to be true to yourself and accept yourself for who you are. As you do this, you will be able to gain more confidence and self-esteem. You may also find that other people easily gravitate to you as they can see what a great person you are and that you do have confidence in yourself and you want to be a good friend to others.

Uh oh, friends or boys? What to do when you and your friend like the same guy

Boys have the saying “Bros before Ho’s” and girls sometimes say, “Chicks before dicks” but how often does that really happen? When you and your girlfriend like the same guy, what do you do? Exactly! This is a dilemma a lot of girls face, and it can really tear friendships apart. So, learning what to do when you and your friend like the same guy is going to save you a lot of problems. Your life is probably dramatic enough, you do not need to add to the drama. When you and your friend like the same guy, consider some of the following points:

  • You are going to be forced to make a choice. You are going to go for him, your friend is going to go for him, neither of you are, or both of you are.
  • With your choice comes a consequence, so you need to be prepared to face it. Yes, it is nice to just deal with that when it comes, but if you think ahead you could spare yourself a lot of fighting, gossip, back biting, and pain. So, if you go for him, your friend may be hurt. If your friend goes for him, you might be giving up a chance to date a guy you really like. If you both go for him, your friendship could really be over, especially if he ends up going for one of you two. What will that say to the other one?
  • If you have looked at the consequences you are ready to make a decision about what you want to do. However, you and your friend will want to talk about it. It sounds stupid to discuss who can like the guy, but it is smart. If you want to preserve your friendship, there has to be some boundaries. So, either one of you needs to back down from liking him, and not pursue it, or you both do. Fact is fact, and if you both try to go for him, the fact is one of you will end up hurt. Hurt by him, hurt by each other, hurt!
  • After you make the decision, stick with it. You have to be willing to give up a friendship, or deal with a little jealousy, or whatever. Really though, most of the time it is just a stupid crush, and we all know those come and go. So, chances are you will like someone new in a day or two, and the guy you liked was not worth the drama of making a choice anyway. However, only you can really know how serious you think the possibility of liking this guy could be. You can both test the water a little before deciding, but the problem with that is, you could both like him, and then the situation is even more complicated and difficult. So, before it goes anywhere with either of you, you should determine what to do.
  • When you and your friend talk about it, you might convince each other how great he is, and both end up liking him more, so instead of talking about why you like him, just be clear about how much you like him, and whether or not you see possibility with him, and why you would be ok, or not ok, with her going for him.
  • In the end, he may not go for either of you. But, you do not want some guy who never liked either of you to be a bone of contention in your friendship. And, if he does end up liking one of you, you do not want the other person to feel like a loser, left out, or undesirable. So, when you and your friend like the same guy, if one of you go for him, you will want to make sure that the other girl goes for someone else so that at least you are both enjoying flirting, dating, and the challenge and joy that comes from the mystery of guys.
  • The drama of teen friendships

    Out of all the age ranges, the friendships within teens undergo the most amount of drama. Teens seem to attract drama. Whether it is with the opposite gender, or the same gender, friendships amongst teens is often complicated and dramatic. This holds true a little more so for the females, but is not strictly a feminine characteristic or attribute.

    Why teen friendships often have drama:

    Teens are adept at communication, especially teen girls. This is a great thing, but it means that they pour all kinds of energy into it. All of that energy leads to drama. If you put all of your energy into every conversation, you start to read into every expression, every syllable and how it is pronounced, etc. looking for hidden meanings, underlying messages, vibes, etc. The fact of the matter is, most teen girls get far more out of a typical conversation than is said, and this is because when they speak, they often mean far more than what they say. For example, a teen girl might say, “Cute outfit” when they really mean, “Wow, you look horrible.” They may say, “I’m not sure if I can go tonight” when they really mean, “I will come if I don’t get a better offer between now and then.”

    Because of the way teens communicate, they are always looking for the thing that is not said, or the facial expression that gets to the heart of the matter. While boys are more direct, teens do not like putting themselves at risk, males or females, and so a lot of communication games are played, love games, etc. and this is why there is tons of drama in teen friendships.

    How to not let the drama affect your actual friendships:

    Drama creates problems more often than it does anything else, while it adds interest to life, it also means gossip, hurt feelings, insecurities, etc. So, avoid ruining your friendships with drama by deciding not to dramatize every situation. With your friends you have to agree to be upfront with each other, saying what you mean. You have to be able to talk to each other when there are problems, so that life is not about, “Did she mean this?” Is so and so mad at so and so.” Etc. You also should do what you can not to get offended too easily. Most drama comes from unintentional, or even non-existent offenses.

    Tips for avoiding drama:

    1.    Avoid gossip. Gossip feeds drama, so if you want to reduce the drama in your life, do not spread or listen to any gossip.
    2.    Stay busy. The busier you are with classes, after school activities, family time, etc. the less time and energy you have to commit to drama. Drama is more prevalent in the lives of the bored teen.
    3.    Don’t stew on things. If it is outside your control, or you are too chicken to ask what they mean outright, or if you don’t understand something someone did or said, don’t worry about it, and sit and mull it over in your head, just be laid back, forgiving, and cool.

    Finding friends in unexpected places

    As a teenager, friends, and the drama attached can sometimes be a little overwhelming. Friends change, life progresses, you change, etc. Sometimes friends, and the work it takes to make friends can seem like more hassle than it is worth.

    Why you should have friends:
    As a teenager life can be full of changes, friends help you stay sane, and often act as an anchor during that hectic time. They can guide and direct you, support you, and be someone to have fun with. Without friends, life would be boring, lonely and much too school focuses. So, having some friends is always wise, but this does not mean you need a million friends. A few close friends are often better than twenty okay friends.

    Who your friends are:
    Friends is a term that many teenagers use liberally. However, when it comes to finding friends in unexpected places, it is important to understand what it means to be a friend. A friend is not someone who is going to back-stab you, gossip about you, or treat you unkindly. In fact, they are the opposite. A friend is going to be there for you when you need them. They are going to be trustworthy, and someone who protects your secrets. Friends are sensitive to your feelings, and would never intentionally hurt you.

    So, when talking about finding friends in unexpected places, it is important to recognize this is not about finding acquaintances, or people to hang out with, but friends.

    Tips for finding friends in unexpected places:

    Never prejudge people. You never know when someone you run into has the potential to be a close friend. If you base your friend selection off clothes, hair, social status, etc. yours will be a lonely life.

    Be open to making friendships. Sometimes you miss signals given by people that want to be friends because you have your exclusive group. The fact is, you should always be willing to make new friends, especially if they will be true friends.

    Be approachable. You will not find friends in unexpected places if you are a snob, if you do not allow people to approach you. If you are short with people, rude, or stand-offish, no one is going to take the risk to be your friend who you wouldn’t normally befriend. So, be open and inviting.

    Examples of unexpected places:

    It is amazing where you can find friends. For example, you may get a job, and initially think that the people you work with are all weird. However, you may find you have more in common than you think, and that they end up being some of your favorite people to spend time with. The following are a few of the unexpected places that as a teen you can find friends:

    1.    Your job. If you want to make any money and have fun during the time at work, get to know the people you work with.
    2.    Your church. You already have a common interest, and somewhere you can spend time together on a regular basis.
    3.    Your classes. You may not have classes with your existing friends, but you will be spending an hour a day with the people in your classes, you might as well search out some friendships
    4.    In your locker section. You visit your locker regularly, you might as well spark up a conversation and get to know the others who locker in your section.
    5.    Your bus. You live close, and you are going to have to be together for at least a few minutes each day, talk and get to know each other.