Lately my teens/emerging adults have been talking to me about friendship drama, which I am so grateful for (not for the drama), but that they care enough to seek out my thoughts. What I have observed is a quickness to throw away friendships when someone offends the other. They cut people out of group texts and shun them on social media.
It got me thinking about loyalty and how that is hard to teach.
The best way is to model it, and honestly, I have not always been the best example. I, too, have had a cold, cold heart when it comes to others in my past. Call it tough love or just a personal challenge, but I have prided myself in cutting people out of my life for hurting me. And truly some of those people were toxic and did not need to be in my life, but I am not talking about toxicity here. I am talking about good friends that make human mistakes.
This is what I want to teach them:
No one is perfect, including you. We all make mistakes from time to time. Forgiving others is part of the human journey.
Fight for true friendship (not physically). Do not let a good friendship go for a minor infraction. True friends are rare. You really only have a handful of people in your life (usually) who will drop everything and come to your aid when you need it. If you find someone who does that, treasure that friendship.
Time passes, and it gets harder to mend bridges. Do not let too much time pass. Cool down, and communicate calmly. And when you communicate use phrases like, “I felt like” or “I think” instead of “You did this” or “You did that…”
When you get older, you yearn for the friendships of your youth. There is something about knowing someone through different stages of your life that is special and meaningful.
Be mature about things. Instead of battling it out over social media or text, civilly communicate. If you need an unbiased mediator there to help the conversation, recognize that and seek one out.
People are not expendable resources. The best investments are in people. Work on nurturing the relationships in your life.
But more than what I say, I need to model these things. There is a lot of talk about Squad Goals and the hashtags #SquadGoals and #FriendshipGoals have many tags, but those pictures are meaningless if you do not know how to be a true friend.
And I am not trying to get dramatic here, but standing where I stand and seeing what I see, I know there can be regret down the road for words left unsaid. Try to live life without regret.
I know life gets busy, and it is easy to let friendship fall by the wayside, but try to show your kids what friendship truly is.
So is there anyone you need to reach out to today? That is showing your kids true #SquadGoals.