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Friendships

Friends are great. They can have a laugh together and support each other if they are unhappy. Sometimes friendships can have problems too and it can be hard to know what to do.

Good times and bad timesTwo friends laughing together

Having close friends is great, and some friendships can last a whole lifetime. There will be good times and bad times, just like in any relationship.

If you fall out with each other, it can be really upsetting.

What does being a friend mean?

You will make lots of different kinds of friends in your life. Some friends 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 people like family or classmates, because you choose who you are friends with, and they choose you.

Being a friend can mean different things. Sometimes we need someone to have fun with, but sometimes we need a friend to support us and help us through a tough time. 

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
• include you in activities and conversations
• not put you down or bully you
• respect you - this should include respecting your religion and culture

I’ve fallen out with my friend. What can I do?

Sometimes friends fall out. Usually they make up again soon, but sometimes the arguments 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 another friend or maybe even a teacher to speak to them for you and explain how you feel.

Sometimes they might just need some time to calm down. 

The most important thing is that you both get on like you used to. It’s not important who ‘wins’ an argument or who is ‘right.’ Ask yourself: is the fight worth more than the friendship?

  • I don’t have any friends and feel really alone. How can I make friends?

    Some people find it easier to make friends than other people. If you find it hard, it’s not your fault. Try these things to help you appear confident, even if you don’t feel it:


    - Look people in the eye and smile.
    - 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.

    Check out more tips for making friends.

    Most people feel good when they’re with other people who feel good about themselves. It’s important to be positive about the good things about yourself. Read more about building your self-esteem.

    Remember that other people might be feeling nervous about making friends and talking to other people too, even if they seem really confident. Lots of people talk to ChildLine about finding it hard to make friends and how this makes them feel.

  • I’m worried about missing my friends. What can I do?

    Sometimes things in life change which can mean we don’t get to see our friends as much as we used to. For example, you might be moving to a different secondary school or college, or your family might be moving house. This could mean you don’t get to see your friends as much.

    Think about ways you can stay in touch with your friends. For example, you could:

    - give each other your email addresses, so you can stay in touch by emailing
    - make sure you get their phone number so you can call and text them
    - arrange to meet up in person regularly

    When things change, remember that this can also be a good opportunity to make new friends. Think about your close friends. At one point, you weren’t friends with them and you had to get to know them for the first time. If you start a new school, there will be people there who you don’t know – but you might become really good friends with them.

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

    Good friends are there to help and support each other. This isn’t always easy though. Sometimes it’s hard to know how to help if your friend is upset. You can find out how you can support them by reading our advice for helping a friend.

  • I think I’m being bullied by my friends

    Sometimes in a group of friends it can be hard to tell what is ‘just a joke’ or ‘banter’ and what is bullying. Are the jokes always aimed at you, or do different people in the group get teased sometimes too? If the jokes are always about you personally (for example, about your appearance, intelligence, race or religion) then this isn’t okay. This could class as bullying or emotional abuse and your friends shouldn’t be doing it.

    You could try talking to one of your friends when you are alone with them - they might act differently on their own. If there’s someone you are particularly close to in your group and who you can trust, they could be a good person to talk to. You could explain how the bullying or jokes make you feel and ask them to not join in if it happens again.

    Being teased or bullied a lot by your friends is really tough. It’s natural to feel hurt if this is happening to you. You don't have to put up with it. You can tell someone you trust about what’s going on and it’s okay to start finding ways to make new friends if the situation carries on.

    We have lots more help and advice about bullying.

  • I fancy my friend. Should I tell them?

    Romantic relationships sometimes start with two people being friends. If you get along well and have fun together, sometimes this naturally grows into something more than friendship. However, it’s normal to be worried that having a crush on your friend might change the friendship. Every situation is different.

    Getting someone else’s opinion can help. If you have someone you can trust, ask them what they think about the situation. It’s important not to tell too many people before you tell the person you fancy. If your friend finds out that you have feelings for them before you have had a chance to tell them yourself, it could be embarrassing for both of you.

  • I keep comparing myself to my friend and I wish I could be more like them

    When it comes to things like confidence, body image or popularity, it’s not healthy to compare yourself to someone else. Everyone is different and people are good at different things.

    You might think your friend is really popular and always confident. But it is likely that they feel insecure or nervous in some situations.

    Social networking sites like Instagram and Facebook can also make people jealous of their friends. It’s useful to remember that on these sites people only upload photos of themselves when they are having fun or looking good. Most people don’t upload photos when they are bored or not feeling confident. Social networks are just the highlights of someone’s life. Someone’s account doesn’t show the full reality of their life, so it’s important not to compare yourself to your friends on social networks.

  • It feels like me and my friend are drifting apart. Is this normal?

    Sometimes it’s natural for friends to drift apart. This is more likely to happen when there is a big change in life – like if you and a friend go to different secondary schools.

    Friendships are normally best when they aren’t forced. If there’s a friend that you feel you are naturally growing away from, that’s okay – it’s likely that there will be another friend that you are getting closer to.

    Drifting apart doesn't have to last forever. Sometimes things can go back to how they used to be before you drifted apart.

  • Two friends have fallen out and I feel stuck in the middle

    Sometimes friends fall out for so long that it’s hard to remember why they argued in the first place. It’s really frustrating to feel stuck in the middle.

    It’s important to be honest with your friends. Tell them that you know they are having problems with each other, but you don’t want that to affect your friendship with either of them. It’s also a good idea to tell them that you don’t want to pick sides. You can say how you feel without being rude. Find out more about being assertive.

  • My friend has started spending time with someone I don’t get on with…

    It’s okay to not get on with some people – we can’t always be friends with everyone we meet.

    However, it’s also important not to judge anyone before getting to know them. Sometimes you might get a bad first impression of someone – but if you give them a chance you might start to like them more.

    We can’t choose how we feel, but we can choose how we act. So if there’s someone in your group who you don’t like, it’s important to make sure you’re not nasty to them. You can get along with someone and hang out in the same group as them without being really close friends.

Useful links

Radio 1 has some great advice on making new friends.
BBC Radio 1

Get advice from TheSite on how to help a friend if they have an eating disorder.
TheSite.org

Read more advice about dealing with friendship issues from CBBC.
CBBC

Friends

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?

 
 
 
 
 
Friendships 

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