Help Your Teen Define The Word “Friendship”

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A Note From The Santa Monica Teen & Family Therapist

Some people prefer to have just a few very close friends, while others like to experience a variety. – Sandra

“I like to sit with different people on a day to day basis. Some friends think that I am not sitting with them because I do not like them. What should I do?”

It sounds like you get along with, and are well liked by many people. That is a very positive thing. It can be challenging, however, when friends have different definitions of what they think friendship means.

To some people, being a friend means that you spend all your time with them. Others may be accepting of the fact that you may have more than one friend, or group of friends. I think it could be helpful to talk to the people who are complaining, and find about their definition of friendship.

If your friends are merely feeling a little insecure, re-assuring them that they are still very important to you may help them to let go of the fear that you no longer like them. If they are the possessive type, and don’t want to share you with anyone else, you may want to let them know that your definition of friendship is a bit different than theirs.

After talking with them, if they are still being critical of your choices, you will need to look at whether you think it is worth your giving up all of your other friends to be with them. This is entirely up to you.

The bottom line is that as hard as you may try, you won’t please everyone all of the time. You can, however, do your best to be honest and clear about who you are and your definition of “friendship.” In this way, the people who choose to be your friend will know what to expect, and can simply enjoy their time with you.

If your teen or young adult child is struggling socially or emotionally, I can help you to discover the cause and remedy it.

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