Aunty, how do you choose a good friend to hang around? My name is Natasha and I am 16 years old.

Natasha, we all need good friends in our lives. Because every one of us has different habits that change as we grow, it’s best to choose a friend who always has your best interests at heart.

Unfortunately, there’s no secret formula for finding a good friend. In maths, it’s easy to know that 1+1=2, but friendships are not that simple. Choosing a friend requires careful consideration of different things. Here are some things to think about when choosing a good friend:

  • Be a good friend yourself. If you want a good friend to hang out with, you must be a good friend to them in return. Keep in mind the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have done unto you.
  • Don’t force your way into their life. Take time to understand how they view you. Are they also interested in becoming your friend?
  • When choosing a good friend, look for a person who tells the truth. An honest person is not afraid to tell you when you mess up, but also congratulates you and celebrates your success.
  • Learn to be trustworthy, how to keep secrets, be supportive and respect friendship boundaries. When you show your friends that you have boundaries and won’t accept some kinds of behaviour, your friendship won’t end. Rather, you will win their trust. You should also learn to listen, never belittle others and be approachable so that people want to be around you.
  • Don’t let your emotions overwhelm you into doing something that might ruin a friendship. For example, some people easily get mad when their friend turns down an offer to go out together if they had another plan, such as visiting a relative. In that case, your emotions have taken over, and you have forgotten that the other person also has the right to make their own plans. Keep that anger at bay by accepting that other people can have a place in your friend’s life as well. Don’t be selfish because showing your friend that you are not happy about their friendships with others could undermine your relationship.

Natasha, my dear, I am giving you this advice so you can be careful about when you choose your close friends. But I know that you also have the ability to think about and manage your relationships. Above all, listen to your conscience and don’t worry if you only have a few friends. As time goes by, you will meet more and more new people, and some of them will become good friends.

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