Levels of Friendship

Once you are old enough choose your own friends, you are old enough to make healthy decisions about friendships. Here are some questions to consider:

1. Who am I?
What are my beliefs?
What are my values?
What are my behavioural guidelines?
What are my hobbies and interests?
What are my personality preferences?

2. What are my emotional needs?
What do I do for fun?
What do I do that shows my independence?
What are my achievements?
With whom do I belong?

3. How healthy am I?
Do I show the behaviours on the ‘green’ list below?
Am I comfortable being an ‘equal’ or do I tend to want to be
either a helper or ‘helpee’ most of the time?
Do I accept responsibility for my own behaviour and emotions?
Am I willing to work on relationships that are difficult?
Am I willing to walk away from relationships that are harmful?

It is time for you to take responsibility for yourself. You need to make sure that you respect and honour yourself.  And you need to be able to respect and honour others.

So, assess your acquaintances and friends…

Red light (Watch out!):
__ frequently expect or ask you to violate your beliefs and values
__ beg you to do things that violate your beliefs and values
__ want you to do things that your parents would not want you to do
__ almost always want you to do things that they enjoy but you don’t
__ almost always want to make the decisions about what you do together
__ make fun of you when you don’t do things their way
__ try to make you feel guilty if you don’t do what they want
__ frequently make fun of you and then say that they were only joking
__ frequently make fun of other people or speak about them negatively
__ frequently feel sorry for themselves
__ frequently overdramatize events to draw attention to themselves
__ lie to you
__ express disdain for your beliefs and values

Orange light (Be careful!):
__ sometimes speak negatively about other people in an unhealthy way
__ most of the time want to make the decisions about what you do together
__ sometimes say unkind things to you when they are in a bad mood
__ sometimes say unkind things in order to get you to do what they want
__ sometimes say unkind things when you don’t do what they want
__ frequently express displeasure when you disagree with them
__ frequently tell you that you are their only friend and that they need you
__ frequently complain but are unwilling to work to improve situations
__ sometimes don’t tell you the whole truth so they can get what they want
__ are not willing to talk about any disagreements
__ do not share your important beliefs and values

Green light (Enjoy!):
__ share your values and honour your beliefs
__ share your behavioural guidelines
__ share your interests
__ share decision-making with you
__ do not express disdain towards other people
__ talk about their troubles but prefer finding solutions over feeling self-pity
__ do not need revenge when people are unkind
__ hope that unkind people will learn to be better people
__ are willing to leave unhealthy relationships without bitterness
__ show their appreciation of you
__ honour your preferences
__ tell the truth about their own thoughts and emotions and expect you to do the same
__ leave you feeling happy and positive about life

[This page may be copied for use with students if the following credit is provided: ©2012 Sophie Rosen.]

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