Monday, 18 May 2015

When Friends Grow Apart

Caitlin M is a 17-year-old from Simsbury, CT. She likes to write, make things with clay, and really wants a dog. Her two favorite subjects are art and English.
Two friends met each other in elementary school. They have always gone to each other’s birthday parties, have had countless sleepovers, and count on one another for support. However, as middle school and high school come along, these two friends see each other less. They don’t talk as much and they end up in different friend circles. Eventually, they stop talking to each other and fail to even acknowledge the other when passing in the halls. This scenario, while sad, is one that happens to almost every young adult.
All friendships do not last. This is a fact. While it is hard to admit, it is necessary to realize when a friend is growing distant so that a teen can either try and put more effort into the friendship or let that person go. Evaluating the friendship and what it has meant to a teen is important, and it sometimes is necessary to understand how the two friends grew apart and if this parting is mutual. If a teen finds that, in fact, their friend has been distant for years and hasn’t really been nice to them, it could be a better idea to move on and be content with the good friends that they do have.
Moving on from a friendship is never easy. Parents can help by talking to their teens so that they know when they are having friendship troubles. While offering advice is nice and shows that parents care, most teens will not listen to the advice. Instead, they just need an open and non-judgmental ear to which they can pour their thoughts out to. Parents can, however, encourage their teens to try different activities, such as new sports or clubs. Branching out in this way enables teens to meet more people that they might have never gotten the opportunity to know, and in this way the teen can make more friends with people who share a common interest. Sometimes having these new friends can fill a loss that an old friend leaves.
It may be hard for a teen to see their former friend at school with new friends, sharing inside jokes and laughing. It is even harder if a teen notices that their former friend is consistently ignoring them and not even smiling in the halls. It is important that parents remind their teen that these things happen, and that in this scenario it is better to be the bigger person. A teen should no go out seeking revenge or bad-mouth the person behind their backs, as this only leads to a hurtful cycle and can cause the teen to lose even more friends.
Growing up means that people change and grow apart. This is natural, if sometimes painful. Parents should always remind their teens that they are always there to lend an ear or be a support system. Sometimes it is these little things that make a big difference.