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Friends Article By Keileen Cullen

American columnist, Walter Winchell once said, “A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.”

Some friends are like seasons, they come and go. As people grow up and mature, friendships tend to do the same. Whether it be different interests or moving across the country, the cycle of dropping old friends and getting new ones is prevalent in today’s day and age. Although it can be painful to lose a friend, it can also be refreshing to find a new one with a different outlook on life to share.

Friendship is a big aspect of life, especially in high school. Even though there can be cliques, it is possible to overcome the obstacles and adversities that are faced. Here are a few ways to build genuine and strong relationships.

1. Examine yourself first. Determine who you are and what is important to you.

It is important to know yourself well before jumping into any friendships whether they be new or revisited. In order to be happy in a friendship, prioritizing what is important to you must come first, followed by determining vital qualities that are valued in a friendship.Junior Robert Depersio says that when he is looking to make new friends, he tries to find someone that has similar qualities to himself.

“I look for humor [in a friend] because I would say that I’m funny. It would be nice to have someone that shares the same style of humor that I like. Also, somebody that is easy-going and not very uptight,” Depersio shared.

2. Put yourself out there. Stay true to yourself and don’t judge a book by its cover.

When it comes to making a new friend, it can be tempting to conform to the mannerisms and attitude of your potential friend. Doing this can also lead to problems in the friendship down the road when true colors emerge, and personalities turn out not meshing well together. If you stay true to yourself from the get-go and express your needs and wants in a friendship, you can’t go wrong.

Senior Madi Kelley thinks that if she is going to make friends, she wants friends that accept her for who she is. “I’ll stay true to who I am. I won’t act a certain way just so people like me, especially if its people I don’t know. I am not going to go out of my way to get people to like me like that.” Kelley commented.

Also, don’t be picky when forming new friendships. Even though you may think from the first impression that you would not get along with a person, give them a second chance. You never know… they may end up being your best friend for life, BFFL for short.

3. Plan hangouts to get to know your potential friend on a deeper level.

Once you are done with the initial “meet and greet” stage of the friendship, it is time to get to know them a little better. Best way to do this? Talk to them about activities y’all could do together or ask them when they are free to hangout and just talk. This stage is all about getting to know the person better to see if you really want to invest more time in your new friendship.

Senior Caroline Gheen likes to break the ice by going to an event that and her new friend have in common.

“If I meet them at school then I would probably take them to a school event like a football game; somewhere where we could do something else if it gets awkward and other conversations could be started with a wide variety of people.” Gheen explained.

4. Determine if that friendship is good for you personally.

After being in a friendship for a while, it is a good idea to reevaluate the friendship and see if it is still fulfilling your personal needs. As friendships age and mature, so do people. Maybe you have decided that you just don’t get along with your friend like you used to and there needs to be a change.

Senior Walter Pickering often thinks about his friends because they are a big aspect of his life.

“I know who my close friends are and I’m not going to stress about a problem [that comes up] if they are my actually friends. I do sometimes reevaluate relationships with close friends because they mean a lot to me and I value all my friendships.” Pickering explained.

5. Don’t be overly critical if you don’t agree on all controversial topics.

Disagreement is natural. The key to overcoming these minor disputes is remaining calm. Do not let this minor issue turn into a much larger dilemma. Respecting a friend’s ideas and beliefs is a huge aspect of friendship. You can accept and respect your friend for who they are and what they think, however you don’t necessarily have to agree with them on all matters of discussion. If there were never any disagreements, everyone would get along and the world would be a boring place.

Freshman Hayes Harrigan is open to many different types of friendships of all shapes and sizes.

“I’m not very picky about other people’s beliefs. I’m pretty open to different people because I have a wide variety of friends along with my main friend group.” Harrigan pondered.

6. Do not ignore red flags. Steer clear of friendships that bring you down.

The first time you see red flags in your friendship, you should make a note of it. Absolutely do not brush it off and ignore it because it may come back to bite you in the end. Although red flags can be intimidating, it is important to not overthink when they arise. Overthinking can lead to causing larger issues that were never present to begin with. The best way to address these red flags are to talk to your friend about what is concerning you.

Freshman Camilla Thurman believes it is best to slowly drift apart.

“I like to distance myself from that person, so I don’t get stuck in a broken friendship where I’m always the “bad guy” and they aren’t supportive of my accomplishments.” Thurman expanded.

It is also pertinent that you stay away from “friends” that make you feel bad. Friends are supposed to build you up, not tear you down. Keeping this type of friend around is damaging to your self-worth, self-confidence, and mental health.

7. Ultimately understand that your friends are there to help you enjoy life and better you as a person.

True friends will be there for you through the good and the bad times. Friends are simply a supplement or enhancement to make your life just a little bit more enjoyable. Friends that challenge you to be the best possible version of yourself that you can be are essential. They make us laugh, make us cry, make us stronger, and make us wiser. Without them, life would be a little less colorful. So just remember, in the long run, friends should bring you joy, not misery.

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