Who is affected by ‘Friendship Struggles’
You may be reading this because something in the title resonated with something going on in you own life.
- Perhaps you are a young person at university finding it difficult to find friends.
- Or perhaps the friends you have, seem to feel threatened or jealous about you.
- Or maybe you are at secondary school and feeling like the friends you have always hung around with are not being very friendly to you any more.
- Perhaps you have moved to a new school, or new area and are finding it difficult to find new friends
- Or maybe as a parent, you are naturally worried and concerned about your child being lonely, bullied, withdrawn or unhappy and don’t know where to turn to.
There can be many reasons why we, or our children, experience friendship struggles at certain times in our lives.
But What Can We Do When This is Happening to Us?
The first thing to remember is, you don’t have to suffer alone. And the best thing you can do is talk to someone about it.
This might be a trusted friend, a parent, teacher or counsellor.
Remember, whatever might be going on in your friendship circle, it is probably not your fault, and most likely comes from the insecurity of those who seem to be behaving in a rejecting or unkind way towards you.
There are all kinds of reasons which make other people behave unkindly towards others, and most of the time it springs from their own sense of insecurity, or they may feel threatened by you in some way.
Parents, if you are worried, you can:
- Keep a closer eye on your child
- Be a bit more understanding if they are ‘acting out’ through their behaviour – try and let them know you understand they are angry/irritable/upset.
- Asking direct and ‘closed’ questions is not always helpful, and often results in children telling you they are ‘fine’.
- Watch out for changes in their old behaviour – eating habits, time spent alone or increased time on computer games, withdrawing from meeting up with friends.
- If your child does confide in you about a friendship problem, it is better to try and stay calm and not get too angry on their part. Lots of understanding for the way they are feeling is usually the best way.
- Try and involve your child in finding a solution to their problem. This might be by agreeing to talk to a teacher at school, or perhaps gaining some counselling support, if you feel the problems might be a bit deeper.
If you are away from home for the first time, it is very common to experience struggles in the first few weeks, or at any time for that matter.
There a lots of new situations for you to get used to, and amidst all the social navigations, there are inevitably going to be academic pressures too.
If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed or unhappy, it can feel like everyone else is having an amazing time, and this can add to your sense of misery.
Please be reassured, there will be many others who feel exactly like you, and there is no shame in admitting to yourself you need help.
Try to keep communication open with friends and family at home, as they will want to support you as you settle in.
If you have concerns about any aspect of your life at uni, including the other students, speak to a pastoral care, or personal tutor.
Remember, Student Support Services are used to handling enquiries and concerns that students have, and can point you in the right direction for support. Reach out for help.
And of course, the Student Counselling Services will be able to offer the right support if you go along and arrange an appointment.
Above all, remember, things will get better.
If you have concerns for yourself, or your child about anything that has come up for you after reading this article, please feel free to get in touch. Counselling can support you in many ways, helping to understand yourself and others, and break free from difficult situations.
Click on the link below to find out more about how counselling can help you or your child.