When I was in middle school, I desperately wanted to be part of the popular crowd. I had the sense that if I only befriended a popular girl, then I would be better for it, and happier. I would belong. However, I felt out of place, as I had a severe hearing loss, and although hearing aids helped to an extent, I missed out on a lot of conversations.
I found my chance to fit in on my soccer team, where one preppy girl started inviting me to hang out with her. Carmen* was always seen with the preppy group, which also involved the popular girls and cute jocks. She had a boyfriend on the basketball team – a star player that all the girls swooned over. She was pretty, with long brown hair and brand name clothes, and she lived with her family in one of the upscale neighborhoods in town.
I remember when she first invited me to the popular table. I was so excited and nervous – but tried to act calm. “Come sit with us!” she called out and I came and sat down, clutching my brown lunch bag with my mom’s writing scrawled on the outside.
The girls started gossiping and talking loudly.in the crowded cafeteria. Carmen asked me a question and over the din of the noise, I could not understand her. I asked her what she said. “What?” she replied back boldly, sarcastically. “What?” she said again, a devious smile playing on her lips. Embarrassed, I uttered a fake laugh, trying to laugh at the fact that I could not understand her. The girls at the table snickered as well. It was humiliating on the inside, but I did my best to appear calm on the outside, wanting to be with the in crowd. Internally, though I wondered if Carmen truly was a friend to me.
I thought that by pretending to be someone I wasn’t, that I would be more accepted, more well liked, more popular. However, that was not the case for me – Carmen’s mean sarcasm was just one of many instances of her pettiness, and by end of first semester of seventh grade, I could no longer be friends with her.
Since that time, I have learned a lot about what the qualities to look for in someone to determine whether they can be a good friend. It is important for young girls and women to have a friend they can trust and confide in. I am privileged to now have a best friend that I met in college that exemplifies the traits of what friendship truly means.
Below, here are some traits of a good friend. If you ever think about someone who you want to get to know better, look for these things that may determine their friendship potential. Ask yourself these questions:
- Are they trustworthy?
- Are they reliable?
- Are they honest with you and others?
- Are they non-judgmental of you and others?
- Are they responsible?
- Do they listen well?
- Do they support you in your choices, views, dreams?
- Do they stick around when things get tough?
- Are they confident in themselves?
- Are there things you both have in common that you like to do?
- Do they appear empathetic to you and others?
- Do they avoid gossip about people you know and care about?
- Do they have a sense of humor?
- Do they bring out the best in you as a person and friend?
- Are they fun to be around? Do you enjoy hanging out with them?
These are just a few things to consider when you decide you want to get to know someone on a deeper level of friendship. Avoid the Carmens” of the world and find the friend that makes your life better because they are in it!
**Names have been changed to protect privacy**
Written by Anna R.