How to Have Deeper Friendships as a Teenager
Being a teenager, the world is thrown at you. Some days we feel like grown-ups, other days we remember we’re just kids. We become more self-aware – both fortunately and unfortunately so. Yet, we are still trying to figure out exactly who this “self” is.
As wonderful of an opportunity as the high school experience can be, finding our place to belong within it is difficult at first. Finding those who see the world the same way, laugh at the same absurdities, and dream the same dreams can be the greatest guide one needs to take what is thrown at us with open arms.
Despite what others may say about teenagers, I believe our friendships can be and are fruitful and profound. Here are three ways to create these deep relationships, ensuring that they outlive high school, long-distance colleges, and the life following thereafter.
1. Discover Together
Discovering new places and hobbies with a friend is an exciting way for you to discover more about each other. Visiting a nearby city or learning an instrument together gives you an experience to bond over. It also shows you just how well you live life together. You may even discover a talent or interest of your friends that you never knew about.
2. Spend Time with Each Other’s Family
For a girl who is super close to her family like me, it’s so important to see if my two favorite people mesh well together. Besides testing out the compatibility between the people you love the most, one’s home is often where they are most authentic and comfortable. Seeing this side of your friend or allowing your friend to see this side of yourself leads to a greater connection and authenticity essential to any relationship.
I love having friends over for dinner (or for making dinner), not only to introduce them to the people who have raised me and shaped me into who I am, but also because I’m comfortable being wholly myself at home and can finally share that with someone outside of it. If your parents are up for it, inviting a friend on vacation with your family is also a great way to do this.
3. Work Through Discomfort Together
No friendship is perfect. There are disagreements, miscommunications, and moments of imperfection. With a mature and understanding attitude, however, these disagreements can result in a greater bond than before. I know what it’s like to want to let something go, either due to the fear of confrontation or a fear that your friend will get upset at you. I also know what it’s like to want to resort to pettiness. It’s easy to only care about how you were wronged or how you feel.
Instead of ignoring the situation or creating a tense environment for the two of you, I propose to talk about it. Tell them how you are truly feeling, and be open to their side of the story. Understand them, and after all things considered, be forgiving. Not every conflict is the same, and forgiveness may not be an option. But at least you gave the time needed for yourself, and your friend to think without anger or pettiness.
To read more about friendship, check out How to Brighten a Friend’s Day!
And for more tips on how to make and keep strong friendships, click here!