Why your parents should get to know your friends

As a teenager it can be tempting to keep your life private and your friends private from your parents. However, there are times when it can really benefit you to have your friends get to know your parents, and your parents get to know your friends. The following is a look at why your parents should get to know your friends.

  1. Parents have a tendency to blame your friends for things you do. When you come home in a bad mood, and you are rude to your parents, they immediately assume that you are hanging out with people who are a bad influence. Sometimes, a parent struggles to accept that their child may simply be moody, or rebellious, all on their own, and that their friends have little to do with it. If your parents get to know your friends, they are less likely to blame them for your choices. This is good for you because it means they aren’t going to hound you about your friends when you make a poor choice.
  2. Gets your parents off your back. If your parents know they people who you spend time with, and they have a relationship of sorts with them, they are not going to be as strict or critical with you. They are going to be more laid back about letting you go out and do things with them, without having to check in every few hours, or outline your whole plans. They have a tendency to feel far more comfortable if they know your friends, and will not hound you about what you did, who you saw, how much money you spent, etc.
  3. They will trust you more. When your parents know your friends, and are comfortable with whom your friends are, and the values your friends have, they trust you more. It is like they know you are not likely to get into trouble if the people you hang out with are less likely to get into trouble. It eases their mind, and helps them feel more comfortable, and in return they extend more trust to you. Of course, if you break that trust, or if your friends prove to be people they do not approve of, it might have the opposite affect, but generally if the parents feel like they know they people you spend your time with, they will trust you more when you are with them.
  4. Your friends will likely be better friends. Let’s face it, some times you do not want your friends to meet your parents not because you are worried about what your parents will think of your friends, but because you are worried about what your friends will think of your parents. Parents can sometimes be embarrassing. However, if your friends meet your parents, their quirks and all, and are still your friends, you can rest assured that they are probably pretty true friends.
  5. You get more privileged. When a parent knows the kid whose house you want to sleep over, they say yes. If they have seen the way the kid drives, they are more likely to let you go with them. If they know the kid’s family, they are likely to let you vacation with them, be at their house more, etc. The more they know the person, the more comfortable they are, and the more you benefit.

What to do if your friends do things you don’t

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.

The social circles of high school

In high school there are all kinds of social circles. Some are more popular than others, some attract more people, and others are very exclusive. The social circles of high school play a large role in many teen’s lives. Where they are in the hierarchy of sociality matters. How many circles they can openly associate with is critical. Which circles they avoid is part of their identity. The following is a look at some of the social circles of high school:

Popularity:

This is the social circle most people are the most familiar. People with the same popularity level tend to stick together. The ultra-populars, nick named the “plastics” in a popular movie, stick together and associate very little in other groups. You have the regular levels of popularity, the people who are known and know people, but are not exactly popular. You then have the “un-populars.” These are the people who tend to be considered strange, weird, etc. often it is people who play magic games, or dress up like medieval warriors, or who do theater, or are nerdy.

Commonality:

The next social circle is that of common interests. A lot of your “group” is going to be determined by the things you have in common. For example, if you are in the running for valedictorian you may hang out with the other people in the running, as you have common academic interests. A lot of time, the commonality circle goes hand in hand with the popularity circle. Things that you have in common may characterize you as cool, nerdy, funny, fun, etc. The popular group may have money, partying, etc. in common. The nerdy group may have World of Warcraft, and Sudoku in common.

Sports:

This is a social circle that often crosses the boundary lines of other social circles. If you do a sport you typically have friendships within the team you are a part of, and some of those people may fall in the really popular groups, while others may be average, or nerdy. Sports usually require you to put your personal differences aside and just be friends.

Religion:

Often times in school social circles are formed by your personal values. People who value the same things in life often congregate together. This is why religion tends to create social circles. Within the same religion, you typically hold the same values and beliefs. So, all of the mormon kids in a predominantly non-mormon community might hang out together. All of the Jewish kids may sit together at lunch, or the Catholics, etc. In addition to holding similar values, you spend time with each other outside of school attending worship services, in youth programs, etc.

History:

Sometimes friendships and social circles are formed because of your family history or standing in the town. The kids the grew up next to each other will be in the same social circle at times simply because of their history of friendship and proximity to one another.

Jealousy among friends

Why teens suffer from jealousy in their relationships:

How jealousy affects friendships:

Types of jealousy typical in teen relationships and friendships:

Jealousy over other friendships.

Jealousy over possessions

Jealousy over the opposite gender

Jealousy over intelligence

Jealousy over athleticism

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.

Crossing over, how to make friends in other clicks

Making friends can be a hard thing to do sometimes. It isn’t as easy to make friends as it was when you were younger. When you were younger you could make friends anywhere and at anytime. At the park playing on the slide was always a good place. How many “best friends” did you meet there? I can’t even count how many friends I made playing in the sand, but every time I would tell my mom the kid I had been playing with was my new best friend. I didn’t have a clue to what my best friends name was but it didn’t matter. Now it does matter and now you are not five years old. There is no slide, no sand and sometimes you think if there were maybe it would be a whole lot easier.
There maybe several reasons you have for wanting to be friends with a group of people. That group of people may have a cheerleader or a student body president and the people in that group seem to be the most popular, prettiest and the people you would most want to be friends with. But just because they seem to be the prettiest and most popular doesn’t mean that you will become the prettiest and most popular girl in school if you are friends with them. You should first ask yourself do I have common interests with this group of people. A common interest is why people begin friendships in the first place. Remember the park, the common interests were we both loved sliding down the slide and we were both five years old. If the people you want to be friends with enjoy the same interest as you that is also a way to start a conversation, which then can lead to friendships. Participating in extracurricular activities is another way. If the group of people you would like to be friends with are active in sports and athletics, try out for the basketball team or the volley ball team. Even if you don’t make the team, you will make friends just by participating in the tryouts. Now if it is the cheerleader group you want to be friends with, try out for cheerleader or join the spirit club at school. You will meet new friends just by showing your school spirit plus you will have a lot of fun.
Now if you don’t have the same interests as the people you want to be friends with, then why do you want to be friends with them? Do you think you could pretend to be interested in sports or cheer-leading? You might be able to for a short time but not for too long. Is it because you feel like if I were friends with that group I will be more popular, more liked or more intelligent? And you might very well be more popular and more liked if you became friends with the people that you think are, but at what price?
If you do not share the same interest and goals, you will have to pretend to be someone that you are not. And when it comes to making friends even five year-olds don’t pretend they are something that their not.
So be yourself, don’t try to act like you are interested in sports when you are really interested in chess. Instead of trying out for the basketball team, join the chess club. You may not be as popular but you will be a whole lot happier. You may even find a best friend and with any luck you will know that best friends name. Best of all you won’t have to empty the sand from your shoes.