One of the toughest times in teenagers’ life is finding the right circle of friends. Shirley Vandersteen, PhD, highlights the value of finding the right friends: “Good friends are vitally important to your mental health and to the quality of your life.”
Since there are a lot of diversities out there when it comes to personality and opinions, it becomes hard to look for those peers that appreciate values and respect one another. But even so, there are instances that young adults can identify which types of friends are best fit for them. As long as they have the standards of choosing which ones are beneficial to their overall development, there is a guarantee that they will have the best companions.
Loving The Imperfections
With society’s view on what is in and out, teens are fonder of giving themselves to those people who are not contributing a healthy environment for them. There are too much judgment and bullying that seem to control what types of friendship these young adults should choose. It is as if these kids are always trying so hard to look good for others and not considering their emotional and mental needs. With that, instead of loving their imperfections, they work so hard to change themselves only to be accepted by their chosen peers. In line with this issue, teenagers must realize that friendship is not about perfection. It is about loving everything about the person. It should not have to limit one’s potential of becoming himself. There must be an avoidance of judgment and bullying.
The concern with a lot of people is they try so hard to do everything that pleases everybody. With the current trend and social media impact, everyone wants to fit in. With that, most young adults get confused with their personality because there is a bit of a standard that seems to take over their right and wrong choices. So, instead of hanging out with people who are also lovingly different in their ways, most of these confused teens prefer to enter a circle that shares the same personality, opinions, and perceptions. That includes getting in the wrong direction. What these kids should realize is that being different is not a crime. And trying to be unconventional is something that is not shameful at all. The best circle of friends encourages each of their peers to become more confident with their individuality.
Shainna Ali PhD, LMHC, notes, “In a healthy relationship, your friend does not have to be your clone to understand you. Even when your differences are highlighted, compassion, respect, and empathy can help you to feel understood and are crucial in a healthy friendship.” If that is not the kind of people teenagers’ share their life with, there is a guarantee of undesirable growth.
A great friendship is not measured by how much one can give to another. It is not about who gives more and who gives less. Friendship is something that develops, supports, and encourages people to become themselves. Meaning, there is a focus on lifting each others’ strength and not bullying them and destroying their confidence. Yes, finding these types of circles is indeed hard because no particular teenage group shares the same values as everyone.
Suzanne Degges-White, PhD, adds, “The investment we make in friends – both those who provide instrumental or emotional support – is well worth the time involved in building and maintaining these relationships. There is no price that can be placed on the security of knowing that people will be there for you when you just don’t feel up to being there for yourself.”
However, young adults should remember two things. If there is too much cultural toxicity, they should leave immediately. If there are self-growth and development, they must keep the friends they currently have.