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Tips For Group Friendships

boots

As our kids move into their teens, there seems no better arbiter for maturity than being a part of a big group of friends.

Establishing a friendship, as we all know, has its own challenges. One on one, we create and maintain a dynamic with a friend. But when we begin to navigate within a circle of people who hang out together on a regular basis, the dynamic within that friendship pulsates with individual personalities and interests and ideas and agendas. Teen friendships can be even harder.

For the past eight years, my daughter has been a part of a large group of friends she knows through the local theater company. As they have pushed into their teen years, that group has solidified. As in most group friendships, there is a commonality. In this case it’s love of acting and musicals. But also in the case of most group friendships, there is diversity. Each individual has a very distinct personality — and because they are theatrically inclined they tend to be rather big personalities in their own way.

Not altogether devoid of the occasional hurt feeling and misunderstanding, this group has matured into a thoughtful, supportive, dependable, and really fun group of people.

The following is a list of 10 tips for teenagers navigating within a group dynamic. Shall we?


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    Make each person important. Always be interested. Listen. Ask questions. Learn. A true friend knows what's going on in your life, not just their own.
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    Just say No to drama. Don't say anything to one friend you wouldn't want heard by the collective group. Encourage your larger bond by not giving in to meanness or gossip.
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    Be open to including more people in your group friendship. There is no magic number of people who can know each other well. The more the merrier!
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    Don't panic if your group of friends becomes smaller. Be happy for your friends if their attention becomes focused outside of your friend circle. If your friendship was authentic, they'll be back.
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    Be each other's biggest fans. Give compliments, be supportive, lift each other up.
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    Be available. Get offline, be present, offer to help, lend a hand. Organize new ways to bond and grow as a group.
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    Be honest. No situation was ever made better with lies. When you are trustworthy, you will be trusted.
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    Be secure in yourself. Don't ever compromise your opinions or beliefs to suit the group.
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    Don't let romantic relationships come between you and your friends. Devote time and energy to your friends outside of your relationship, and make sure your romantic interest understands their importance.
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    Celebrate your differences. Allow each other the room to grow and dedicate to independent interests. It just makes them more interesting!

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