High school can be tough. I know I’ve had my fair share of sad, embarrassing, and overall hard times over the last few years. The friends you have during this time can really make or break your experience.
I think the younger you are, the more your friend group just depends on where you live, who’s in your class, and who has the same extracurriculars as you.
When you get to high school though, it is your chance to kind of find “your people,” those who are the most like you, who you can laugh with and cry to. Something I think happens a lot is people sticking to the same friend group years after they’ve outgrown it because they’re afraid of having no one, even if the friends they have aren’t the best for them.
I’ve dealt with all different kinds of friends: clingy, detached, too involved in my life, and barely there at all, those who care way too much, and those who don’t seem to care at all. All these kinds of friends have different benefits and drawbacks.
I think in order to find the friends that are right for you, you need to figure out what kind of friend you are. Do you like a big group to have around all the time or would you prefer a tight-knit circle? Do you want many friends or two or three super close bonds? These are all things you must consider, because it’s hard for it to work for different types of friends without resulting conflict when your friend doesn’t act the way you expected them to, or even the way you wanted them to.
I think it’s really important to remember that you don’t have to be who anyone else wants you to be. You are allowed to be who you are, and do pretty much what you want. As long as:
1) you’re not hurting anyone, and
2) your parents are OK with it.
You should be free to live and be friends with whomever you want. I’ve definitely experienced situations where I felt like I was being controlled, and because of who I am, really angered me, and caused me to lash out. Even though the people doing it to me probably weren’t trying to control me at all, but were looking out for me.
I want you to know that you can and should remove yourself from situations that make you unhappy. Your main priority in life as a young person should be to make yourself happy. Parents, grandparents, and all people in serious adult relationships must put at least one person ahead of themselves, that’s just life. But in order to reach that step in your life, you need to figure out who you are – and by extension – who you want to be surrounded by.
That brings me to my last point. Live for yourself, be friends with who you want, leave situations that make you unhappy, but do this all respectfully.
If someone doesn’t want to be your friend anymore, leave them be. Accept that people are allowed not to want you in their life anymore. That’s 100-per-cent allowed and acceptable, always. Do not gang up on them, attempt to ostracize them, or send other people outside of the situation after them. That’s immature, sad, and overall embarrassing.
On the reverse, if you don’t want to be someone’s friend anymore, don’t drag their name through the mud. Regardless of how you feel they treated you, shut your mouth about them except to your mom or your dog. All talking crap about them will do is anger them more. And, since you are the one who created the situation, it is your responsibility first and foremost to find the high road and stick to it! My point of all this is basically, keep your mouth shut. You’re better than gossip and petty revenge, and you’ll thank yourself later for taking the high road.
I think a lot of us are just trying to find our place in high school before we need to find it in the real world. Many people hurt others in their attempt to understand themselves. And that is OK. Really, it is, because the pain of losing a friend hurts, but I don’t think anyone would want their friend to stay in their life if it was causing that person to be unhappy. I think even high-schoolers, at their core, just want to make other people happy, even if they behave selfishly from time to time.
It’s okay to want to find your place, and the people who belong in that place with you. But with the friends you meet along the way, to replace those that have been with you since the beginning, be respectful, and keep your mouth shut. No offence.
Angèle Hatton is a Grade 12 student at Cobequid Educational Centre who hopes to pursue a career in journalism.