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?

Assess yourself.

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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