Heathdale flower 09th June 2022

A Good Friend

Loneliness can be tough, especially because having meaningful friendships is so important. But what makes a good friend? Find out how to spot a good friend - and how to be one.

Heathdale flower

Every parent knows the gut wrench of when their child says they are lonely, or their friends are absent. Well, we have had a lot of absence, and for some, coming to school when their friends are absent is tough.

Having good friends who love and support you for who you are is really important for your happiness. Our children need to figure out what makes a good friend and learn how to be there for friends when they need them most.

Here are some handy hints from ReachOut for how you can talk to your children about their friendships.

Why good friends are so important

Research has shown that the better the quality of your relationships, the more likely you are to be happy. So, being a great friend to someone and having friends support you is good for your well-being. But what exactly makes a good friend?

Signs of a good friend

Friends will come and go in your life. No matter how long your friendships last, the most important thing is that your friends accept you for who you are. A good friend walks the talk and shows that they care by their actions – big and small.

A good friend:

- is there for you, no matter what

- doesn’t judge you

- doesn’t put you down or deliberately hurt your feelings

- is kind and respectful to you

- is someone whose company you enjoy

- is loyal

- is trustworthy and willing to tell you the truth, even when it’s hard for you to hear

- laughs with you

- sticks around when things get tough

- makes you smile

- is there to listen

- comforts you when you cry

How to be a good friend

If you treat the people around you in the ways described above, then you’re already a good friend to them. But it’s not always easy to know how to be there for your friends.

Listen to them

Try to understand a situation from your friend’s point of view. Ask questions to get a sense of the problem or issue, but the main thing is to listen to them. You don’t have to have all the answers, and don’t assume that your friend wants advice – they might just want to talk so that they can work it out for themselves.

Ask them what they need

If you’re worried about someone and you want to be there for them, ask them what they need. You’ll then know what they find helpful during tough times, and you can offer them support in a way that’s genuinely helpful.

Keep in touch

Even if you don’t live nearby, show your friends you’re there for them by making an effort to keep in regular touch through social media, texts or calls.

Tell them how you feel

You don’t have to make a big deal about it all the time, but you can make a real difference to how someone is feeling just by letting them know how important they are to you. So, go for it!

Be willing to make a tough call

If you think your friend’s safety is at risk, you might need tell your teacher. It can be a tough call, particularly when you’re worried about how they’ll react, but remember that good friends care enough to step up, and that you’re doing it to protect them from harm.

As the Golden Rule says in the Gospel of Matthew 7:12, “In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you."