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Friendship Relationships in Adolescence – What It Is and Types

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Friendship in adolescence turns out to be a very important topic, both for children and their parents. This is because they are the new people who will accompany them to a large extent. It will be present before the decision-making and representative changes of the stage. In this post, we explain what friendship means in adolescence, as well as some of its characteristics. All this with the intention that you can guide and understand your children in this new stage.

What does friendship mean in adolescence?

To begin with, we must establish that friendship is about a process of construction. That is, it requires time, space, patience, and objectives. Above all, it is developed as a team. To be able to interact in the best way, ideas, creativity, and actions will be needed, together with knowing how to listen and respect. This is the meaning of friendship, an affective bond that is built, which can vary in each adolescent.

There are as many meanings of friendship as there are people and bonds in the world. These will depend on various aspects in the life of the adolescent, that is, his context, needs, learning, and beliefs acquired during the childhood stage, with his family, and some models of both his daily life and the media.

Each one will give a different role to friendship and in turn, will elaborate judgments about the others or establish parameters to choose or differentiate their friends from the rest of their acquaintances, giving a value to the actions that the other does, to personal characteristics, etc.

For example, if you think, according to your experiences or those of close referents, that you can only have a single true friend and the others are not, because it is very difficult to find one that really is, your “filters” may be very different from that of a teenager who learned that there is no limit of friends.

There will also be those who identify friendship as that bond that supports unconditionally, a space of non-criticism, total acceptance, and no discussions, or on the other hand, someone else may think of it as attentive listening, a constant accompaniment. Among other meanings we will find those that only take into account specific events, constructive criticism, keeping secrets or helping and encouraging the other through words or actions, etc.

What friendships does my child have or build?

There are endless examples of the meaning of friendship, but the idea is that in order to know more about your children’s friendship circles we recommend knowing the meanings and learnings that your child built and that he continues to modify in his daily life according to his experiences. Opening spaces for communication and active listening to what happens to him can give you answers to why he moved away from certain friendships, why he began to try new activities or forgot about some others that you would swear he would never leave.

Being able to understand what your child’s vision of friendship is will give you a guide to how he will build those friendships and what kind of characteristics he looks for in the other, thereby detecting red lights or possible difficulties that he will face in the future. Here are some aspects that would be convenient to find out:

  1. What is your concept of friendship?
  2. What do you think a true friend does? (this will tell you both what he is looking for, what he builds, and probably what he is willing to toast).)
  3. What limits have you imposed on your group of friends?
  4. What features do you look for in your friends? We talk about tastes, personality, physique, etc.
  5. What is the most precious thing you have learned or brought you a friendship?
  6. Under what circumstances would you walk away from any friendship?

Characteristics of friendship in adolescence

Something very important and that we must not lose sight of is the stage in which they are. Friendship takes on certain characteristics of the experience at this age. An example of this is that looking at the other as an equal who is living situations very similar to their own, may feel more confident to approach and ask for advice or chat about issues that as adults may cost us work to engage or that we are not willing to dialogue.

They are discovering and building their identity, so friends can allow them to open their panorama to things they may never have heard at home or with close people, we talk about music, sports, beliefs, etc. This mixture of worlds will lead them to question many things they had not thought of before and to look for new ways to discover the world. It is for this reason that friendships can make them feel accompanied, understood, supported, and above all protected, as part of a group, belonging is one of the most sought-after characteristics. With companionship, they will mediate with the passage of experiences and analysis, until they can understand that they may not be pleasant in the eyes of all people, but that this is even pleasant when it comes to groups that do not share their same vision before life.

Types of friendship in adolescence

The groups of friendships are very different from the family, which mostly seeks to teach, guide, care, and advise, so together these two types of bonds will allow adolescents to become independent, be more critical, and “mature” or rather take their actions to better functionality. There are neither good nor bad friendships, it is simply a series of decision-making and analysis about what kind of interaction you want to engage within the friendship, how you can get to this, and what characteristics these people should have.

In conclusion, the meaning of friendship can be varied, for some it will mean company, for others it will be fun, learning, support, understanding, etc., which will depend on each person. However, we can say on a large scale, that it is an affective bond that is built as a team. By being built between two or more people, each member will have the opportunity to modify the way they relate, as well as to choose if they want to be part of that relationship, all this depending on their learnings and skills.

We hope that this article will help you to understand a little more about the bonds of friendship in adolescence and with it advise or guide your child in the best way.


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