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Friends are great. They can help each other when they are unhappy, be there to talk to and have a laugh with. Sometimes friendships can have problems too and it can be hard to know what to do.

Good times and bad timesA group of friends laughing together

Having good friends is great, and friendships can last a whole lifetime. Like all relationships, friendships go through good times and bad times.

When your friends are unhappy or you have fallen out with each other, it can be really upsetting and make you sad.

What does being a friend mean?

You will make lots of different kinds of friends in your life. Some you might know for only a short time and some you may know for your whole life. They are all important and can make a real difference to you. Friends are different from other people around you, like family or classmates, because you can choose who you are friends with, and they choose you. 

Being a friend can mean different things. During a difficult time, it might mean supporting you and being there for you to talk to. In happier times, it could be someone to share all the fun and have a laugh with. Being a good friend means making sure that you are there when your friends need you too.

Friends should:
• try to be supportive
• listen to you when you need to talk
• want to help you if they are able to
• not put you in danger

Some of the things you’ve told us about what being a friend means are:

“I think a friend is someone who you can trust with all of your wildest dreams and secrets, without having to worry about what they will think.”

“Friends are just for fun, they cheer you up when your down, but my real true best friend is my everything, I'd walk the world for her and she would do the same because although we live over 150 miles apart, we still make effort to see each other and when we do it's like old times”

“One of my friends means the world to me she always there 4 me and shes always the first person i call if somthing goes bad (someone dies ect..) shes so kind and helpful and we have alot of jokes together”

My friend is really unhappy, what can I do to help?

It can sometimes be difficult to talk about what’s happening in your life, and it isn’t always easy to tell someone about it, even if they are your best friend. If your friend is upset, you can find out how you can help them by reading our advice about helping a friend.

  • I’ve fallen out with my friend, what can I do?

    Sometimes you and your friends may fall out. Everyone has rows with their friends, and usually you make up again soon. But sometimes the rows are more serious. These can feel terrible. People who were part of your life, whom you relied on, are suddenly not there.

    Try talking to your friend and explaining how you feel. If you have hurt them, be prepared to say sorry and find a way to make it better. If your friend really doesn’t want to talk, you could ask a teacher or another adult to speak to them on your behalf and explain how you feel.

    Sometimes they might just need some time to calm down before you can be friends again. 

  • I don’t have any friends and feel really alone, what can I do?

    Some people find it easier to make friends than other people. If you find it hard, it’s not your fault. There are some things you can do that can help you appear confident, even if you don’t feel it.

    Some things you can do to help you make friends and feel more confident could be:

    • Look people in the eye and smile, even if you don’t feel confident. The friendlier you are the easier it’s going to be for them to come back and be nice to you too.
    • Get involved in clubs or events at your school and talk to people there.
    • Join a team or club after school or at the weekend, to meet more people. It takes a bit of time for anyone to break through and make friends, no matter who you are.
    • Remember that other people might be feeling nervous about making friends and talking to other people too, even if they seem very confident. Lots of people talk to ChildLine about finding it hard to make friends and how this makes them feel.

    Find out what other young people think about making friends on the ChildLine message boards, or come and talk to ChildLine about how you feel.

  • How do you feel about your friends?

    These are some of the things that young people on the message board have said about what their friends mean to them:

    “my friends are everything to me!! they're pretty much family! if one of thems down then im always there and if theyre happy so am i! i dont know where id be without them!”

    “my mate means the world to me. She is my safety net when I am down. She makes me smile everytime I see her and I look up to her as a role model. My best mate reminds me of the song 'lean on me'” 

    “My two best friends mean the world to me, they're kind and helpful and they're dead understanding about my aspergers and anxiety- they help me out with stuff like organisation that I struggle with and they listen when I'm anxious which helps. They're really great mates.” 

    You can contact us anytime about how you feel if you are having problems with friends. We can help you find a way to feel better about your situation 


Are you having problems with your friends and would like to talk to other young people about it? You can post a message on the ChildLine message board.

Friends message board

Anything missing?

Is there anything else you'd like to read about on the Friends page?



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