Friendships

Friends can be there to enjoy the best times, and they can help us when we're feeling down. But sometimes friendships have problems. It can be hard to know what to do, but we've got some advice to help.

different friends

Friends are different from people like family or classmates, because you choose who you're friends with, and they choose you.

Sometimes we need someone to have fun with. But now and again we need a friend to support us through a tough time. Friends should never:

  • put you down
  • make fun of you, your religion, sexuality or culture
  • put you in danger or make you feel unsafe.

Sometimes friends fall out. Usually they make up again soon, but arguments can sometimes be more serious. If this has happened to you, read our advice below.

Friends should:

  • support you, even if you're not up to talking
  • listen to you when you need to talk
  • help you if they can
  • include you in what they're doing
  • compliment you and make you feel good
  • respect you, your religion, culture and sexuality.

REAL
friends
just get me

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falling out with friends

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

Sometimes you might not like someone when you first meet them. But you might find that as time goes on you start to like them more. Try not to judge someone before getting to know them. If you give them a chance, you might just become friends.

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.

It's good to talk

If your friend has made you feel bad:

  • try to think about why they might have acted the way they did
  • ask if they're ok - they might have felt worried about something, and taken it out on you
  • be assertive - this can make it easier to say how you feel.

If you've made a friend feel bad:

  • be prepared to say sorry
  • give them time
  • ask another friend or maybe even a teacher to explain how you feel to them.

If you need advice, you can talk to us.

being bullied by friends

Sometimes in a group of friends it can be hard to tell what's 'just a joke' or 'banter' and what's 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 is not okay. This could be bullying or emotional abuse and your friends shouldn't be doing it.

Talk to a friend you trust
Try talking to one of your friends when you're alone with them - they might act differently on their own. If there's someone you trust in your group you could explain how the bullying or jokes make you feel. You could ask them to not join in if it happens again.

Get more advice on how to cope with bullying.

fancying your friend

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 worry that they don't feel the same way, or that telling them might change your friendship. 

Why not try:

  • getting someone else's opinion
    Ask someone you trust what they think about what's going on.
  • keeping it to yourself or people you trust
    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
  • taking some time out 
    It can help you to think clearly about your feelings when you're not around them. 

If your friend fancies you

It can be really confusing when friendships change. And it can be hard to understand how we feel.

If a friend tells you they fancy you, it can be a big shock. It's natural to worry that this might change the friendship. But there are things that can help:

  • talk to someone. It can really help to talk to someone you trust about how this has made you feel and what you can do next
  • give them some space. It can be really hard to distance yourself, especially if they're a close friend. But it might help them to work out their feelings and whether they can be just friends
  • be honest with them. Once you've worked out how you feel, try talking to them honestly about how you feel.

coping when you miss your friends

Sometimes things in life change which can mean we don't get to see our friends as much as we used to. You might be moving to a different 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. You could:

  • keep their phone number so you can contact each other
  • make friends on social media 
  • arrange to meet up in the future.

Making new friends

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.

Read tips for making new friends.