- Gender and Relationships
How Many Friends Are Enough?
Friendships are Important
True friendships are important to everyone. People hang out with their friends when they feel bored, they have fun together, they share each other's joys and triumphs, and confide in each other about their thoughts, feelings and fears.
While friends are important to small children and adults, they are vital to teenagers. Teenagers go through so many changes in a short period of time that, without peers to relate to, they may feel isolated from society, feeling no one understands what they are going through.
So many changes taking place
Teenagers can share with their peers the excitement, or frustration, of physical changes taking place in their bodies, as well as the emotional changes they are undergoing. Some days, teenagers appear to be happy and confident while, other days, they are swinging at all-time lows. It's important to have a continuous level of support.
Parent - Teen Relationships
Do teens feel parents really understand their growing concerns?
Though parents are available for their teenagers - and teens who are close to their parents would be wise to take advantage of it - many teenagers feel their parents won't understand because, though they went through the changes before, it was years ago.
As a result, teens feel their parents can't be as familiar with their feelings as a person of their own age and, in some cases, they have a point.
United in groups
but able to stand on their own
Nonetheless, many teenagers have three or four great friends whom they spend most of their free time with, and they trust each other implicitly. As a group, they are united and, individually, they can stand on their own two feet. However, when troubles arise, they have a great support system to back them up, to help them through whatever situations that may arise.
The group is close knit and friendships have been long-standing and, if no major life change was to occur - it would be great for these teenagers to go through life feeling comfortable with their select group of friends with no changes taking place.
However, things change...
How does change take place?
Change is inevitable; no one can avoid it. While some things in life may remain more constant than others, everyone needs to face reality - that change is continually taking place.
What are some ways in which change takes place in the lives of friends?
Friends move away.
Some people have the privilege of having their friends remain in close proximity all of their lives. However, this generally isn't the case and, as a result, people do often, unintentionally, lose touch.
Friends develop other interests and new friendships
Friends grow older and, because no two people are exactly alike, people often develop new interests which aren't always shared by every friend. As a result, new friendships form which has great potential to affect the amount of time the original group of friends spend together.
Friends develop severe emotional issues
Though friendships are important and people thrive while having great friends in their lives, there are some situations life presents in which even the best of friends cannot provide as much hope as one would like.
This is particularly true when home lives leave much to be desired. Regardless of how people feel when hanging out with friends, home still needs to be a haven and, when that isn't the case, people may tend to withdraw from their friends.
Life happens even when it seems cruel and unfair. Family members die...friends die...leaving holes in hearts which are hard to heal. However, because of so many wonderful memories carried by those left behind to mourn, smiles will develop again and deceased friends will always be remembered.
Friends don't exactly tell friends everything, unless, they're best friends. Well, tell me, what happens if that 'best friend' of yours tells all your secrets and you end up getting in trouble because of it? What happens then? You could have told your best friend everything that you didn't want her to repeat...but she did. It's not a good feeling.
A major disadvantage in having few friends
When a small group of friends are separated by various circumstances, it's often a greater setback for them, emotionally, than if they had been part of a larger group of friends.
Being part of a large circle of friends would have helped reduce the feelings of isolation and loneliness because there would have been other friends to turn to on a daily basis.
Great friendships consist of many elements such as the ability to care, share, and understand. It consists of being patient at times, while being firm during other situations to ensure friends remain safe. Of course, friendships require a special bond - formed by these elements (among others) - and love is part of any great friendship.
Having said that ...
How many friends do you have whom you wouldn't be able to live without?
There are many advantages in having a wide circle of friends, such as:
Teens broaden their experiences and knowledge.
Their friends have a larger variety of hobbies, interests, and talents and, thus, they have opportunities to learn about, and participate in, activities which may not be possible in groups with small numbers of friends.
When it comes to a celebration, there is no shortage of friends to invite.
People are not invited only to fill an allotment of space. They are invited because their presence is desired, and required. Celebrating events with only friends present is relaxing, comforting, and entertaining. Everyone can be themselves without having to worry about what on-lookers may say or think. Also, they don't need to worry about trying to entertain those who can't seem to be entertained, regardless of the number of attempts made. Instead, they can relax and have a delightful time together.
When it comes to needing physical help, there are several pairs of hands available.
When a person asks for help in moving furniture or stacking boxes, a teenager with a small group of friends is only able to offer so many pairs of hands. While every pair of hands is appreciated, it can take a while before the job gets done. However, if there is a group with twice the number of friends involved, the job gets done in half the time. There is more time for doing other things, or helping someone else.
When emotional support is required, there's a great pool of friends to choose from.
When a girl is upset because she broke a nail, she won't likely mention it to a friend who lost a sibling to suicide; it would seem such a petty thing. She would talk about it to a friend who is caught up in the world of glamor. However, if this same girl was to struggle with a parent's illness, she would likely turn to a friend who has a better idea of what she is going through - a friend who was losing, or has lost, a parent.
'Gang' is a word that describes a big bunch of people. If you are going through a big problem and a few friends can't help, you have your GANG to back you up. Gangs are also known as 'low lives.' Well guess what? It ain't what you think. Gangs are formed to help satisfy needs that parents and a small group of friends can't help.
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It's great to have a support system...
Support systems are great, regardless of the size.
Some teenagers are comfortable only having three or four close friends at a time and, if that's the case, they would be miserable trying to keep up with having seven or eight friends in their lives.
However, as one friend moves on, room should be made for another to keep a constant balance.
The best situation
How many friends should people have?
A small group of 5 or less
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