Words For Your Daughter On Friendship
“Ain’t no pain like from the opposite sex.” You may remember that lyric from a seriously old school Will Smith song called “Just The Two Of Us.” But I’d like to add an addendum to that line. Emotional pain inflicted by the opposite sex hurts a lot—yes—but I would argue that being at odds with one of your best friends hurts just as bad. You can’t sleep. You feel sick. It consumes your thoughts. It’s all you talk about to other people. Sounds a lot like the way you behave after a breakup or during a fight with a romantic partner, right? That’s because you and your besties are connected. You can’t feel at ease if there is upset in your close friendships. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in friendships over the years, and I really wish I’d been given some sort of handbook for friendship when I was younger. It may have prevented me from losing good friends. Here are words about friendship to tell your daughter.
Cherish childhood friends
Always put them first. Even if other exciting new friends come around, don’t blow off your childhood friends in favor of new ones. You have a proven track record with your childhood friends—you know that’s a friendship with staying power. So never turn your nose up at it to hang with somebody who seems more interesting, all because she’s novel. Nobody compares to a childhood friend.
Good friends don’t put you in danger
A good friend would never put you in harm’s way. She would never pressure you to do something that you don’t feel safe or comfortable doing. She won’t pressure you to hang out with questionable characters or go to shady parties in remote locations. The moment she sees you feel afraid, she’ll do what she can to fix that—not enhance that.
Good friends don’t try to change you
A good friend won’t ever try to change you—she loves you just the way you are. The only way she may try to change you is to help you love yourself more, see your strengths, and put your skills to use. She may just help you shine brighter, but she won’t change who you are at your core.
You don’t need a lot of friends
You really don’t. In fact, they’ll come a time in life when you inevitably comb through your friend group, and decide that you could do without some of them. There just isn’t time to maintain close friendships with that many people. So water the garden you already have. You don’t need to try adding a dozen more roses.
Beware of those who have a lot
Be wary of those who do seem to have a hundred friends. You’ll find that the person who has a hundred friends does so because she struggles to connect with just one single person. Having a lot of friends gives you an excuse to never create a real bond with just a handful—you’re too busy jumping from group to group.
Make time for your handful
Don’t get too busy to spend time with your small, close group of friends. Know that life will get in the way, and it will only get busier. There is no calm time coming, when it will be easier to make plans. You have to work hard at making time for your close friends, but it’s worth it.
Don’t ditch them for a boy
Don’t disappear from your friends every time a boy (or whichever gender you’re romantically interested in) comes into the picture. Why should a brand new person get more respect and attention than your friends who have been there for you forever? It’s not healthy to spend 24/7 with a new romantic interest, anyways, so see your friends, and pace out those interactions with your new boo.
Don’t let a boy ask you to ditch them
Never let a romantic interest ask you to ditch your friends for him. Any boyfriend who actually cares about your happiness and wellbeing won’t ask you to do that. In fact, he’ll encourage you to spend time with your friends.
Don’t hold a grudge
Too many elderly individual can tell you that they had a falling out with a once best friend, and now don’t even remember what it was about. Don’t hold grudges towards your best friend. Talk it through. Work it out.
A real friend doesn’t care what you do
A true friend doesn’t care how you spend time together—just that you spend time together. So she won’t push you two to go to some high profile, red carpet event if you don’t want to. She’s just happy to stay in and order delivery with you.
Watch out for ladder climbers
If success comes your way, keep your eyes peeled. Should new friends arrive who seem too good to be true—they are. They’re just trying to network you and climb the social ladder. This is the time to hold onto your true, old, childhood friends closely. Don’t let the flatterers have your attention or time.
Don’t let circumstance affect your bond
Whether one of you hits it big and the other always has a modest income, one has kids and one doesn’t, or you move far away from each other, don’t let circumstances affect your bond. Stay in touch. Visit each other. It’ll feel like you picked up right where you left off, every time.
If all of your friends say something, listen
If several of your good friends tell you something that’s hard to hear—like you are in a toxic relationship or you have an eating disorder—listen. They know you better than anybody, and they get no benefit out of having this hard conversation with you. They just tell you because they love you.
Be there for them, even when it’s tough
When your friend is going through something—a divorce, an illness, the loss of a parent, handling a newborn—be there for her. Have her on your radar. Think of ways to help her regularly, even if it’s just calling to check in. Don’t only be helpful when it’s easy and convenient for you. Make the time to help her.
They’ll be your family one day
One day, these friends will be your family. Your parents will be gone. Your children will have moved away. All you’ll have left is your friends. So treat them, starting today, like family.