It’s important for all of us to have friends, people who care about us and make us smile. Whether you’re feeling lonely or just open to exploring new friendships, here’s how you can make new friends.

Friends

Making new friends

Joining a club, youth group, online forum or getting involved in an activity you enjoy is a great way of meeting new people. Do some research about what is available in your area and choose something that interests you. If you are unsure of where to start, ask someone to help you, or ask others for ideas.

Help other people- Volunteering in your local community can be a great way to meet other people.

Be a great listener-Introduce yourself to new people, ask questions about them, really listen to their answers.

Make an effort – Don’t wait for others to arrange something. Ask your new friends if they would like to hang out! Invite them to take part in activities with you.

Old friends

You may have friends that you have made in school and may want to keep in touch with them. Planning trips to the cinema or walks with your friends can help you to do this. If you both have a mobile phone, make sure you get your friends number before you finish school for good.

There are lots of different activities that you and your friends can do together, here are a few ideas:

  • Go to the cinema
  • Go for a walk
  • Go Shopping
  • Go out for lunch/dinner
  • Go for a coffee
  • Go to the zoo
  • Go bowling

You can do some research on the internet about what is available in your area!

Friendships takes time

  • It takes time to get to know a person
  • Take the time to learn about a person’s hobbies
  • It takes time to learn what a person likes and dislikes
  • It takes time to know if a person can be trusted

In a healthy friendship

  • You both want to be friends
  • You treat each other with RESPECT
  • You feel happy and safe
  • You share the cost of activities
  • You are nice to each other
  • You listen to each other
  • You may sometimes have to take part in an activity that you do not enjoy as much as your friend does, it is always good to compromise in this situation as sometimes your friend may have to do the same thing for you!
  • Healthy friendships are not always online
  • Consent from both people is required in a healthy friendship, you should never have to do something that you don’t want to.

Romantic Relationships

New friendships can be very exciting and after a while there might be someone you  meet who you develop  stronger feelings for  that you want to go out with on dates.  It can be fun and exciting but sometimes a little bit scary and confusing as they may not feel the same way!  You might need some support to ask someone out on a date or to understand how they feel about you. Remember to always respect someone’s decision and if they say no it means no.

In romantic relationships you:

  • Go on dates together
  • Are committed to each other
  • Learn a lot about each other
  • Might hold hands or kiss
  • Might eventually have sex

In a healthy dating relationship

  • You are HONEST with each other
  • You feel safe
  • You do not feel forced to do anything

Sometimes a relationship may end, this can be a very sad and difficult time for some people. Always remember though it’s good to talk to your friends or family if this happens as letting out your thoughts can help you to feel better.

 What is consent?

Consent is between 2 people in a relationship

  • It means you are ready for sexual behaviour in a romantic relationship
  • It means you are old enough to make the choice
  • It means you know what could happen after sex
  • It means no one is forced in ANY way
  • Some sexual behaviours are:
  • Touching each other in personal places
  • Kissing
  • Intercourse

Consent is extremely important, if you do not want to do something that the other person does then just say no! You never have to do something that you don’t want to do or don’t feel comfortable with.

Being Safe

It is important that if you do have sex that you practice safe sex. This means that you should use contraception to make sure the woman does not become pregnant. It is the responsibility of both the woman and the man to take care of contraception.  For more information or advice about contraception you can contact your doctor, nearest sexual health clinic or talk to someone you trust.

If you don’t use contraception you also leave yourself at risk of getting a sexually transmitted infection (STI), some of these can cause you problems if left untreated including infertility so it is important that you keep yourself safe. If you think that you may have an STI you can get checked out by your doctor or sexual health clinic.

What is bullying ?

Hurting someone else on purpose over and over again. This can be through:

  • Name calling
  • Hitting
  • Pushing
  • Threatening someone.
  • Deliberately leaving someone out.
  • Spreading rumours

Almost everyone will be affected by bullying during their life to a certain extent. This can be as a child or young person or it can happen as an adult in work.  It can even happen  to an older person in the community. It can happen anywhere, at school, college, home, online and at work.

Types of bullying:

  • Physical – Anything that hurts you by touching you is physical bullying- hitting, kicking, slapping, pushing someone on purpose.
  • Verbal – name calling, gossiping, threatening someone, insults, teasing, intimidation, homophobic/ racist remarks, inappropriate sexual remarks.
  • Financial – when someone by force, controls another person’s money or possessions. For example, stealing money, not allowing someone to decide how they spend their money and preventing them having a job.
  • Emotional- spreading rumours, leaving someone out, gossiping, harming someone’s reputation, ignoring someone, making fun off someone, embarrassing someone in public.
  • Cyberbullying – using technology- through the internet, emails, mobile phones, social media. This can include; sending mean text messages, send/posting pictures online that are not yours, making mean comments online about someone.

Signs of Bullying:

No single sign will indicate someone is being bullied, but you can watch out for:

  • Belongings getting ‘lost’ or damaged
  • Physical injuries, such as unexplained bruises
  • Feeling nervous, losing confidence, or becoming upset and quiet.
  • Problems eating or sleeping
  • Bullying others

Effects of Bullying:

Bullying can have long term effects, such as:

  • Difficulty in making and keeping friends
  • Acting out of character
  • Feeling unwell
  • Develop health problems like anxiety and depression
  • Feeling lonely

What should you do if you are being bullied ?

  • Talk to someone you trust, whether this is a parent, carer, friend or responsible adult and tell them what is happening.
  • Spend more time with people who make you feel good about yourself.
  • Do not become a bully yourself, remember to be kind.
  • Never feel like you are to blame.