A lot of times the teen years are years of experimentation. Teens are busy forming their identities, and they have to determine who they are, what they believe, what their values are, etc. It means that you try new things, you push the limits of style, morality, etc. You experiment with sexuality, drugs, alcohol, etc. Of course everyone does this in different ways. For one girl it might mean wearing short shorts or testing their flirting ability, whereas another girl may try drinking. This is not to say that either is okay or better than the other, but the point is that sometimes friendships get strained because your friends are doing things you don’t, or you do not like what they are doing. There are a million examples of what this could be, it might be stealing, cheating at school, drugs, alcohol, drag racing, messing around, etc. So, what can you do if you like your friends, but not what they are doing? Consider the following:
One: Define your personal values.
Sometimes when your friends start to do things that make you uncomfortable, it can be a difficult situation simply because you are not sure where you stand on the issue yet. For example, you may have had a beer or two at a party, but you have never gotten smashed, and you do not drink often. So, when you friend starts drinking excessively you feel uncomfortable, but don’t want to judge, after all you are not perfect either. So, instead you just feel uncomfortable and you find your relationship strained. A better solution is that when you friends start to do something that makes you feel awkward or uncomfortable, you have to define for yourself what your personal value is on that issue. Sometimes you already know, and it is simply uncomfortable because you thought they shared the same value with you, and don’t. Regardless, make sure you know where you stand.
Two: Make sure they know where you stand on the issue.
A lot of the discomfort when your friends do something you do not like stems from the confusing feelings of telling them where you stand. Will they reject you because you have different values than them? You have to know where you stand, and then let them know where you stand. They will either accept it or not. If they do accept it, then hopefully they will refrain from doing those things that make you uncomfortable when in your presence, and you can still have a relationship. If they don’t, you have a clear illustration of how much they respect your choices.
Three; If they pressure you, you have to make a decision.
Even if you have been friends for years, if your friends start to do things like using drugs, drinking, or stealing, it can mean an end of a friendship. They may or may not pressure you to join them. However, if you start to feel a pressure to join in, even if it is not directly from them, you may want to consider limiting the amount of time you spend with them. You may go to the mall, and they shop lift, and while they never tell you to do it, you start to feel like if you don’t do it too, you may not fit in. So, you either need to stop going to the mall with them, or start shop lifting yourself. When it boils down to it, there really is not much middle ground with these kind of issues.