Having positive relationships and finding your crowd
The people around us are really important in terms of our happiness and resilience. Some of them make us feel better and happier than others. Let’s be bold and make sure the people whose company we share are having a good impact on the way we feel.
Work out who’s got your back
Spend some time thinking about the people around you and how they impact on you. Try making a list of people in your life who can help you and the types of things they can help you with. This’ll make it easier when you need to ask someone for help!
Now, use your journal or a notebook to keep a ‘buzz diary’. After classes, activities or hanging out time at home, record who you’ve spent time with and give them an emoji to describe how they make you feel, for example, a happy, okay, angry, laughing or sad face or something else.
After a week, look at the patterns. Who makes you smile? Or is there a so-called friend who isn’t quite up to scratch? Is there someone who makes you feel bad about yourself or who has a bad influence on how you behave?
Make your move
Spend more time with the good guys
Think about what a good mentor looks like. They’re trustworthy, they make time for you, they help you feel good and they encourage you to make positive changes. Friends should do the same! Why not pick a friend or friends who fit the bill and plan to spend more time with them one to one and in person! Maybe make it weekly.
When you’re hanging out with people, aim to do it with people who make you feel good. This will lead to more fun, but it will also act as a buffer against uncomfortable situations too.
Think carefully – your friends could be of all ages and from different parts of your life.
Spend less time with the bad guys
Is there someone who makes you feel bad about yourself or who has a bad influence on how you behave? Why not be really honest with yourself and pledge to spend less time with them? This is a tough one, but avoiding toxic friendships has the potential to give you one of the biggest boosts to your happiness. That’s got to be worth it. Are you worried about fallout? Try reducing your contact little by little to minimise the risks.
Get help to help you make your moves
Don’t forget that other people can help you, or you can spend your time doing other activities to occupy you. Could your teacher change the classroom seating plan without singling you out?
Could building up some of the other moves in Bounce Back give you reasons for not being around so much? For example, maybe you can no longer hang out Thursday nights because you’ve got basketball training? Or perhaps you could encourage them to put their time into other activities.
We know that sometimes, making changes with relationships just seems impossible. If you are dealing with a particularly difficult situation, call on the professionals You could contact ChildLine, for example. They are trained and will treat your call in confidence meaning they won’t talk to anyone else about it.
Take your time and use your journal or notebook to learn what works:
How have you been able to spend more time with positive friends?
How have you been able to spend less time with people who bring you down?
What’s happening as a result? How are you feeling about things?
It will help as you form new relationships to work out: is this person someone I’m going to give my time to or not?