Friends – we all need them. They pick us up when we are down, make us laugh until our stomachs hurt, help us to make the right decisions. They are there for the good times and the bad times and more importantly, you are comfortable enough to really be who you are without the fear of judgment. They accept you for you, shortcomings and all.
You become the best person you can be when you’re surrounded by the best of friends. Just as Taylor Swift said “In a relationship each person should support the other; they should lift each other up”. That same level of respect is needed within the communities you find yourself in.
Just like your friendship groups, communities are filled with a diverse range of people. Although you may have your differences, it is important to respect one another even if you don’t agree about absolutely everything.
So how do you maintain a healthy friendship that lasts a lifetime and be an awesome member of your community?
- Be your own best friend first. Learn how to respect yourself and set your own boundaries and respect those boundaries. Understand what values are important to you and stick by them. Seek out others who have similar values.
- Treat others the way you want to be treated. This is the golden rule. Don’t hold others above or below you, they are your equal.
- Recognise that everyone has their flaws and quirks. Accepting these flaws and quirks can make for a stronger friendship. Don’t judge your friend.
- It is okay to not agree on everything. You can have a different opinion to your friend. That’s what makes us individuals.
- Realise that you don’t need to be with your bestie 24/7. Find your own interests and hobbies. Don’t be jealous if your friend has other hobbies or other friends.
- Communication is important – don’t hold anything in. If you are uncomfortable about something, talk to your friend about it. Working through the thick and thin can make you a stronger individual too.
- Be a good listener when they need to talk.
- Be trustworthy. Make sure you keep their secrets. If they have trusted you with a secret, don’t tell anyone unless of course you think they might be in danger. Know the difference between a harmless secret and a dangerous one. Telling you their secret might just be their way of asking for help.
- Keep your word. As they say, actions speak louder than words, so if you say you are going to do something, do it.
- Never gossip about your friends. It is toxic. The stories that can spread about a person can damage how they are regarded in the community as well as affecting how much they can be trusted.
- Friends are allowed to disagree. It is normal to fight with your friend. If a problem comes up, talk about it and work through it. It’ll make your friendship stronger!
- Know that there will be ups and downs in your friendship. Sometimes your friend might need some space. Keep in mind, alone time can help the situation. Once they have cooled down, they can talk to you when they’re ready.
- It is okay to say ‘no’, you don’t have to give into peer pressure. Keeping your integrity is a great quality to have. You can tell your friend, respectfully, when you think they’re wrong or if you don’t want to do the same things.
Ask yourself these questions and hopefully, you have the same answers as I do.
- Can you talk about your feelings with this person? YES
- Does your friend accept you as you are? YES
- Do you enjoy her company most of the time? YES
- Does this person seem to understand you? YES
- Is this person really what you want in a friend? YES
- Does this person say good things about you? YES
- Does this person ever try to make you feel bad about yourself? NO
- Is your friend jealous or possessive of you? NO
- Does your friend pressure you to do things you do not feel comfortable about doing? NO
Best friends are the most valuable friends you have, but they can’t help or support you in every aspect of your life. Do not expect them to always be there, or expect them to say the things you want to hear. If you set expectations for your best friends that are too high, it will only leave you disappointed if these expectations are not met. This comes back to being your own best friend and taking care of yourself.
Remember to laugh, listen and be kind!
Community: Our motto is include – don’t exclude
A community is a group of people with shared interest. Everyone is a member of at least one community.
Whether you consider your community the people who live in your building, the people in your neighbourhood or the people in your town, you have a responsibility as a member of that community. In order for a community to thrive, members have to do things together.
Take responsibility: When you see a situation that undermines the integrity of your community; seek to change it. This could be as simple as picking up rubbish found on the ground around your home.
Be an example to others: Aim to be a great role model for others.
Volunteer: Find out how you can help other members of the community.
Are you a good friend and community member? Please share in the comments below.
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