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Bridging the Gap

By Claire Mistretta

Typically friends are at the top of the priority list for teenagers.  Sometimes, however, teens may find it difficult to find healthy friendships or even impossible to find great friends.  There are three major things to understand if you’re looking for successful friendships.

Claire Mistretta spending time with her best friend Mackenzie Burpee!  

Claire MistrettaMAKING FRIENDS: Making friends can be extremely tough.  The most important thing to do, in order to make friends, is literally get out there.  Join a club, join a team, or get involved in a youth group.  When you get involved with what you love, you’re more likely to find a friend that has the same interests. 

Keep in mind, though, that a friend won’t always be the exact same as you.  My best friend and I are actually complete opposites, but we go to the same church and are involved in the same youth group.  Because of our common interest, we met each other and became great friends.  

Also, you have to be open. I know it’s not easy, but if you’re going to be shy and not put yourself out there, finding a friend may be very tough.  

The trick is to be open to everyone.  When you’re trying to make friends, you can’t judge someone based on their appearance.  You never know who someone is on the inside based solely on what’s on the outside.  

Finally, don’t be impatient.  Making friends takes time and you have to understand that everyone has a different story.  You don’t want to make someone feel uncomfortable by forcing the situation.  

KEEPING FRIENDS: Making friends is one thing – keeping friends is another story!   The most important thing is to behave like someone that YOU would want as a friend.    Love your friend like a sister or brother.  Be kind, loving, caring, and respectful.  When you’re like this to your friends, it’s almost contagious.  When both friends are like this to each other, it’s really great for the friendship.

Develop trust!  You need to trust the other person and they need to trust you.  This trust needs to be genuine and real.  Without trust, it is difficult to remain such close friends.  Sometimes we really want to trust a person, but they give us reasons that cause us to no longer trust them.  

A couple of years ago, I had a group of friends.  We were really close for a long time. I felt like I could trust them.  Assuming they’d keep a secret, I told my friend something really personal.  Well, I was wrong!  One of them told other people.  Ever since then, we haven’t been friends because I feel like I can’t trust her.  

LOSING FRIENDS:  Unfortun-ately, losing friends actually can happen.    Some losses are due to fights which can be the result of many different circumstances.  Some friends expect to agree with each other about everything – all the time.  These expectations can often lead to more arguments.  

Losing friends can also happen quietly.  One person might begin to exclude or not welcome you.  If this occurs, find the friend and talk to them.  Let them know how you are feeling.  If they continue to ignore you, it might be time to end that friendship and move on to new ones. 

These are only a few ways that friendships can be lost, but no matter how it happens, losing a friend can be extremely hard.  You may go through that hard time of not having a best friend again and may even have to start back at step #1 – Making Friends.  But stay optimistic!  Think of this as an opportunity to find a better friend for yourself.   

During our teen years, friendships not only mean the world to us, but they often can feel like a crazy roller coaster ride!  They will have their ups and downs, twists and turns.  Just remember – you are amazing for who you are and there are great friends out there looking to find you too! 


Couch Middle School RAMSClaire Mistretta is a 6th Grade Journalism student at Couch Middle School. ‘Bridging the Gap’ is a Couch Middle School column written by teens to help ‘Bridge the Gap’ between teenagers and parents. Couch Middle School, located in Grayson, is a part of the Grayson Cluster. The Principal is Devon Williams.