Carly Raby (Participation Manager) gives expert video advice on: I've fallen out with my friends and they're making my life miserable - what should I do?; I want to make friends but I don't know how - please help me? and more...
What is a friend?
A friend is someone who's kind to you, and who treats you in ways that you like being treated. Furthermore, a friend is usually someone with whom you've got things in common, you can have fun, and forget about your normal, day to day niggles, worries and stresses, so you can really let go and switch off. Essentially a friend is someone who will always be there for you, and who will always try to make you feel okay and support you in any way they can.
I've fallen out with my friends and they're making my life miserable - what should I do?
If you've fallen out with your friends and they're making your life miserable, you really need to look at what they're doing to make you miserable and whether they were really all that good friends in the first place. You can feel miserable because they're just not talking to you - because you've fallen out about something - and then it's really important to try to have a conversation with them as quickly as you can and try to get back to where you were before. However, if they're actively doing things to make you miserable, then I think you really need to consider whether they were all that good friends in the first place. Ask yourself whether your life would be less valuable without them in it, or could you let them go and make some different friends who behave in ways that are better for you, who are kinder to you and nicer to have fun with.
My friends aren't talking to me and I don't know why - what should I do?
If your friends aren't talking to you, the most important thing is to find out why. Some people don't talk to people because they find it awkward to discuss what the problem is, but the quicker you can open up your discussion with your friends about what the problem is and see if there are any solutions to the problem, the better, really. If your friends refuse to speak to you even though you're trying to speak to them, then I think you need to wonder whether they were all that good of friends in the first place. If they were really true friends to you, and you were trying to talk to them about the problem, they'd be more than happy to talk to you about the problem back, and try and identify some ways forward. If they're not, maybe just try to hang out with some different friends for a while and try to join in with some of the different people in your year or people you know until your friends have got to the point where they do want to talk about it; or maybe just leave them altogether.
What is a clique?
A clique is a group of people who all stick together and spend a lot of their time together. You might find there are groups of people who all sit for lunch together, or who all walk home from school together, and sometimes cliques can feel quite exclusive. It can feel like a clique is a group who won't let anybody in, but what you often find is they're a group who just get on very well, or it makes sense for them to travel to school and back together, or they like to take lunch together. They might be perfectly happy for you to join in with that.
My schoolmates are very cliquey and it makes me feel left out - what can I do?
People can be really cliquey at school, and in all walks of life. I think lots of adults will find that when they start new jobs or they go to different places, people can be cliquey, too. People make friends in lots of different ways. Some people are cliquey because they feel safer in groups, and they like to be friends with lots of different people. Some people like to be friends with just one special person at a time. It really depends on how you like to make friends and how you feel most comfortable. If there are lots of different cliques, and you feel that you're really isolated, one of the best ways of moving forward is to find one or two people that you really feel comfortable with, who may or may not be part of different cliques. Try to talk to them when you're on your own and find things in common with those one or two people. Eventually, you'll probably get accepted into their cliques, and realise that it's not quite as cliquey as you thought it was.
Why are my schoolmates so cliquey?
You find that some people are cliquey because they're more comfortable being friends with lots of people and they like to be part of a group. A clique makes them feel happier and more accepted at school. Other people just want to be friends with one person, have a best friend or two friends that they're very close to. People are cliquey because they're comfortable being completely accepted into a group. When it comes to things like lunchtime, clubs or going home, they know that they're already going to fit in. They don't have to worry about who they're sitting with or where they're going to go next. The group will come and collectively sit with them, and they're very comfortable and accepted around them. That's why my schoolmates are so cliquey.
I want to make friends but I don't know how - please help me?
Making friends can be a very difficult thing to do, especially when you're starting out - at a new school or club, for example. It's very difficult to make new friends right at the beginning because you feel like everybody knows each other already and you might not be accepted. Actually, people usually are really interested in new people starting; it brings life to things, and they like finding out all about you. The most important thing to do when making new friends is to get over the nerves that you might be feeling. Try to take a deep breath and make eye contact with people. Find people that you feel are comfortable people to talk to, and start chatting about yourself, finding things in common with other people and spending time with people that you feel you get on with.
Do I have to be in the cool gang to be able to make friends?
You don't have to be in the cool gang to make friends. Its quite funny talking to people in cool gangs because they don't often feel they are in the cool gang themselves, or they don't know if they are. There are lots of different groups of people at school and some groups will think they are cooler than other groups. The most important thing to do is to find friends that you genuinely get on with, that you feel you've got things in common with and that are fun to be around, rather than wonder if you are hanging out with the cool gang.