Did you know that one in four teens feel worried, stressed or down about their friendships several times a month? Surprising? Probably not. It’s a consistent topic of conversation amongst my girl mama friends and followers. To a tween and teen girl, friends are like oxygen. The need to belong is primal and there is nothing scarier than being “tribe-less”.

One of the best predictors of a child’s well-being at school is the quality of their relationships. Friendships can be tricky, particularly for our girls. And it starts young. Most young girls, have bought into the idea of a BFF, or best friend forever. But this idea of finding a best friend and keeping her forever may be more of a myth than a reality for most girls.

Research shows that the most tumultuous years for friendships are between 10-15. I talk to my four daughters a lot about what a good friendship looks like. A strong, healthy friendship involves trust, respect, and reciprocity. No friendship is perfect, or without conflict, but here are 20 things I want girls to know about Friendship.

20 things I want my daughter to know about friendship:

  1. Not everyone is going to like you. And that’s OK. (I know it won’t always feel like it, but I promise it is).
  2. Not everyone is going to invite you. That’s okay too.
  3. You get to choose them, so choose the ones who are choosing you back.
  4. Seek out friends that cheer you on. And the ones that make you laugh.
  5. Be yourself. And let other people be themselves right back.
  6. Have high standards when it comes to friendship. Lead by example and be the best friend you possibly can.
  7. Don’t knowingly leave people out. It doesn’t feel good. Be inclusive, always.
  8. Stay away from gossip. From the get-go.
  9. The same goes for drama. Don’t engage. Walk away.
  10. You can’t be best friends with everyone. But you can notice everyone. You can smile at everyone and be friendly to all.
  11. Don’t seek approval from others. Your self-worth is not determined by anyone else but yourself.
  12. Give more than you take. Be generous, be kind, and be inclusive.
  13. Be loyal. Stick up for your friends IRL and online.
  14. Have a wide friendship circle. It makes it easier it is when friendships are tricky. Also, have friendships outside of school.
  15. Space solves most things. Emotional space and time apart is a great circuit breaker.
  16. A true friend will treat you with respect and loyalty consistently (not occasionally, not only around certain people or places.)
  17. If you can’t be yourself, or you find yourself modifying your behaviour to fit in, they are not your people.
  18. It’s not your job to please everyone. You can say no without being unkind.
  19. You’ll never regret kindness. (Never ever).
  20. A simple question to ask yourself is this: Do you like who you are when you are with them?

“I loved your post on friendship so much that I popped it on a little poster for my Yr 7 daughter. These are such wise words at a time when I know we are heading into some tricky friendship challenges (hello high school and puberty).”

Kylie Orr, Author and Writer

Thanks to the lovely reader who sent me this message. You inspired me to create a printable of my post. You can download my Friendship Manifesto here.