School is one of the many places you’ll meet new people, make a lifetime of connections and friendships. This is one particular feat that looks and sounds so easy but is it? Well it solely depends on who you are as a person, both in character and personality and often times your principles, take a look back at how you made friends while a still young, you and your friends either grew up together, your parents worked in the same place or you had the same babysitter during weekends, so easy, but here you are now in wide vast environment ready to meet new people with no past connections… Below are a few tips on how to make and maintain healthy school relationships.
1. Be a friend
If you want to make a friend, you be one. It is often easy to make friends when you’re the one reaching out to people rather than wait for people to reach out to you. From Saying simple hellos in the school hallways, to asking someone what they’re up to after class, offer to do homework together, to even inviting someone for ice-cream after school, a pro tip is to make it a point to remember the little things such as names, clubs they tell you they’re in to remembering date times when you are to meet.
2. Be genuine and intentional
One of the most underrated traits of healthy relationships is being genuine in wanting to keep that friendship. Show your friends you mean it, treat them how you would treat a family member, ask them how they are, how they find school life, be of help if they didn’t understand an assignment or class, even offer to tutor them, the more you treat people with kindness and being genuine, you eventually do attract genuine people to thus having healthy balanced relationships.
3. Be present
Today’s world is so full of tech savvy students and social media is definitely a trend. Most people are so immersed in the online world that they forget to be totally present, but being present is actually key in maintaining healthy relationships and friendships. When hanging out with friends, put your phone away, listen to what is going on in their lives, know which activities they participate in school, their favorite subjects, their favorite teachers and what type of music they listen to. Just being in the moment with friends is healthy and takes away school pressure and even makes school not so overbearing and rather an enjoyable environment.
4. Seek quality not quantity.
We honestly love to be affiliated with the popular groups, to be known by the masses. That if you are friends with someone then you’re cool, if you dress like them then people like you, but isn’t that too much work to put in just to be known. Most of such school relations are more superficial rather than deep, so go for quality not quantity, the smaller your circle the deeper the connection, the healthier the friendship. Having three or four people who will be there for you regardless is more important and carries more weight than having several acquaintances some of whom won’t remember your name.
5. Be a good spot but maintain your personality
Part of the point of being friends with someone is to hang out with them, participate in school activities together such as volunteering in school projects, fun activities such as hiking, going shopping, to the movies even sleepovers. Be sure to be present in such as they help you know your friends better, help connect you more and just help you enjoy their company more. Trick is to maintain your personality and continue being yourself, learn to say no if something doesn’t sit well with you, if an activity is illegal choose to opt out, if it goes against your principles don’t participate, do not compromise yourself just to please your circle.
6. Be your own person
Putting emphasis on the above tip, remember to always be you, never change because a friend put you up to the task, the whole idea of healthy friendships especially in the school environment, is to enhance your social and people skills but keep you whole as a person. So don’t change your fashion choices if you feel comfortable in your clothes, or your taste in movies and music, nor don’t try to change your friend’s tastes either, you can acquire tastes and borrow ideas to enhance yours but never lose yourself, now that’s how to maintain healthy friendships.
7. Drop friendships that don’t seem to work
Well sometimes we want to be friends with people but not all relationships work. Just like relationships outside school, school friendships can sometimes be toxic and overwhelming, especially when you often find yourself disagreeing with your circle, arguments can stem from liking different people, classes, teachers. You can never be for anyone nor can you be for everyone, if you feel your friends don’t understand you, or are uncomfortable expressing yourself to them, then maybe they just are not your crowd, walk away and find people with common interests and where you feel comfortable being you.
8. Always take time for yourself
For some of us, especially introverts, spending a lot of time with people is such an uphill task, it literally just drains most of our energy, but this doesn’t mean you become a loner or stay away from people completely. Matter of fact building friendships is encouraged, just plan out your schedule to fit both you and your friends. Create time for hanging out with friends however limited then go home and soak in your alone time doing some of the things you love including school work.
9. Expand your circle with purpose
So this might contradict the seek quantity not quality point, but look at it in this perspective, you have your close friends yes but they might be limited in skills, or you have other interests outside what you would usually with your friends, connect and make friends with people who share the same interests such as joining the drama club, or soccer or even music. If you want to learn a new language, make friends with someone who also wants to learn the language or is already acquainted with it. Creating such connections helps you balance out your personal interests outside your circle while still enjoying their company when doing things you'll love.
10. Let your circle build you up
Do your friends help you build your academic life? Are you helping each other reach set goals or are they helping you skip class and derailing you from doing your school work? Rather ask yourself are you helping your friends in their school life or is it you that is making them lag behind? Asking you questions such as are they good for me or am I good for them? What good are we doing for each other or what bad are we doing for each other? Hard questions right? But so much needed in this conversation, charity as they say begins at home in this instance home is you. Analyzing your relationships like this will help improve you as a person as well as your relationships.
With all these said, once we resume or join school let us be intentional with our friendships and mindful of how we relate and interact with fellow students and friends so as to build healthy and meaningful relationships. Let us know your thoughts and continue keeping safe.