How to Build Positive Friendships and What It Means to Be A Good Friend
It can be challenging to navigate friendships in the teenage years. Adolescent boys are striving to become their own people, separate from the family unit that has definite them during their early life. As their interests begin to change, their friend groups may begin to change as well. Teaching your son what a positive friendship looks like, and how to be a good friend in return, will help him create a positive friend group that can help him navigate those teen years.
Building Positive Friendships
Positive friendships are built on trust. Being trustworthy means that his friends are being honest with him, they are dependable and show loyalty and support. Without a foundation of trust, friendships will remain superficial. When making new friends, have your son think about who he trusts in his friend circle. Is there someone who he can go to when he’s struggling with a problem? This also includes friends that he feels comfortable enough to be honest with. If he feels that he has to hide certain interests or aspects of his personality around certain friends, that may be a sign that he recognizes that it is not a positive friendship.
Good friends also know how to empathize and compromise. Sometimes young men are taught that being a “man” means to not show emotions that can be equated with weakness. Teen boys need to learn that being vulnerable with friends is not a negative thing. When they have a friend group that they trust and can be honest with, this opens them up to create friendships built on empathy: understanding how the other person feels and how their behavior can affect others. Being able to empathize with their friends will also help them be able to compromise. If one friend becomes controlling or dominating the friendship is sure to deteriorate. Having the ability to compromise means understanding that no everything is a win or lose situation. There are times when maybe not everyone gets exactly what they want, but they can get most of what they need to feel satisfied.
While each friendship is unique, all friendships are built on that feeling of trust and honesty. At the end of the day, a good friendship feels good. If they find a friend is being controlling, overly critical, taking advantage, or has a negative impact on their life, it is time to re-evaluate that friendship.
Equinox RTC Can Help
With decades of experience working with adolescents in residential treatment, our founding team developed a clinically intensive, trauma-informed, neurologically-based and adventure-filled program focused on the specific challenges and needs of young men. The Equinox Difference focuses on respected, evidence-based approaches to the recovery from trauma, loss, depression, anxiety, relationship deterioration, and impulsive and addictive behaviors. Our holistic approach–which treats the mind, body, and soul–is just one aspect that sets us apart from other treatment programs for troubled teens.
Success in working with young men requires specific and unique areas of neurological, emotional, and physiological emphasis and a keen eye to recognize what works for each individual. For more information please call (877) 279-8925.