Want a Friend, Be a Friend

Want a Friend?  Be a Friend. 

Middle School is a time to meet new friends and decide who you want to hang out with, who your friends are, what kind of person you want to be and what groups you want to affiliate yourself with.  Many students are learning about how to be a friend and how to be friendly.  They get confused between being brutally honest and speaking your truth with tact, kindness and fairness and not saying things that are simply hurtful to others.  They are learning that their friends can be close with others without leaving them out of the loop.  They are learning how to resolve conflict without fighting or saying things that can never be taken back.  These are important lessons that will result in the development of character traits that will last a lifetime. 

As your child is learning how to develop these skills to be a good friend, you can help them by reminding them of these simple things that people do to be friendly to each other:

Smile as you walk through your day.  Smiling at the people you meet will urge the other person to smile back.  You might make their day or even save a life!  Even if you don’t like the person, still remain civil and acknowledge them. Try to smile at everyone you meet and let them know you are friendly!

- Introduce yourself to others, be outgoing and willing to start a conversation. Talk about small stuff that you know the person would be interested in. If you don’t know the other person well enough to know about their preferences, try to talk about things happening around you. (The class you’ve both been to an hour ago, the new guy in Math class, the cool new shoes your friend has been wearing, etc.) Remember to be positive and don’t gossip about others. 

Make others laugh, people enjoy someone who can make them laugh or has a sense of humor.  Do things that are fun or silly, laughing can make people feel great.

- Everyone loves compliments, so don’t be afraid to say something positive about the other person. If you are having trouble seeing the best in people?  Think of their talents. Is s/he really brainy? Do they have amazing fashion sense?  Everyone has something to value.  Give them an honest compliment and you will make their day.  But be careful, though, not to flatter them too much. Too much flattery can give the impression that you are being fake.

- Don’t swear or say mean things about others. It projects an ugly image of you.

- Be nice to everyone, even those who have been mean to you. Who knows? They might start being nice to you, too! And if they don’t, at least you are doing the right thing.

- Be eager to offer help. Especially to those who have their arms full, children they are attending to, difficulty walking, carrying heavy articles, opening a door, etc. One day, you might be like them, and they will offer their help to you. Lending others a helping hand is also a good feeling.

- Always remember to treat people the way you would like to be treated. If you are nice to people they will treat you in the right manner, and if you are horrible to people they will think that you’re mean and ignore you.

Being friendly is not hard to do and is a great way to attract new friends to you.  We all know how to be kind.  Being nice to others is the best way to make new friends.