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Friendship - for kids

honesty; respect; listener; loyalty; friendship; friend; self esteem; lonely ;


Everybody needs friends. You can feel very sad and lonely if you don't have someone to play with and be with - it happens to everybody sometimes.  Here are some ideas to help you in making friends and keeping friends. Having friends is also about how to be a friend and how to be a friend to yourself!

What is friendship?

  • Spending time together.
  • Sharing ideas and treats.
  • Having fun.
  • Respecting each other's differences.
  • Loyalty, sticking up for each other.
  • Caring for each other's safety and wellbeing.
  • Both of you working on the skills to keep your friendship going.

Who am I?

Start by asking yourself some questions. If you like yourself, others will probably like you too.

  • Am I a friendly person?
  • Am I a positive person who looks forward to each day?
  • Am I a good listener?
  • What am I good at?
  • What do I like to do in my spare time?
  • What do I like about my looks?
  • Do I like myself?

You will have times when you mess up or feel ashamed about things you may have said or done, but you're still OK as a person - believe it or not that happens to everyone, even parents and teachers!

If you are feeling sad and can't seem to find things that you like about yourself, here is something you can do.

  • Print out the sheet at the end of this topic and ask people like mum, dad, grandma, your teacher, family friends or your friends to fill it in with you.
  • Or talk to a trusted adult about how you feel.

If someone doesn't like you don't worry - you can't expect everyone to like you. After all, you don't like everyone either, do you?

You can show what a nice person you are by always being pleasant and good mannered - even to people you don't like.

Friendship skills

How to be a friend!


  • friendsTalk - be interesting, keep up with what's going on around you, eg TV, sports, music, shared interests - so that you have something to talk about.
  • Share the conversation, so that you each get a chance to be listeners and talkers.
  • Listen to what your friends are saying and ask questions about it.
  • Praise your friends when they do something well.
  • Use your manners - say please and thank you. Friends like to be pleasant to each other.
  • Think of yourself as being a friendly person, look friendly and be friendly - and others will find you friendly.
  • Be helpful - do things for your friends without keeping a score on who's done the most favours.
  • Give back things you have used or borrowed from each other (this is a good idea for brothers and sisters, too).
  • friendsBe aware of others' feelings - think before you speak. (Sometimes it is a good idea to keep your thoughts to yourself rather than upset people's feelings.)
  • Handle conflict - by being clear about what you want and how you will compromise.
  • Share your time with other friends.
  • Be honest about your feelings, eg. "I don't think this is a good idea becauseā€¦" But don't always try to be the leader - try out other people's ideas.
  • Try to understand people by thinking about things from their point of view.
  • Don't argue and get upset if your friend doesn't agree with you about something. That's O.K. She has the right to an opinion too.

Things you should try not to do:

  • Don't brag about what you've got or done.
  • No put downs - you wouldn't like it if someone did this to you.
  • No prejudice - don't make comments about country, colour, religion or physical appearance. "If you can't find anything nice to say about someone, say nothing," is a good motto for everybody.
  • Don't take over - let others tell their own jokes and news.
  • Don't fight your friends' battles. You can support your friends by helping them to deal with their problems:
    • Be a good listener
    • Help them to stay safe.
    • Encourage them to try.
    • Be there when they need you to be.
    • Help them to make good choices.
    • Encourage them to look for help from trusted adults.
  • Don't talk about them without their permission.

You are a unique (only one like you) person with lots of different sides to your character, so you can have different friends who share your different interests, eg friends at school, in your street, in sport clubs, at church, in your family, etc.

It's good to have a best friend but it's good to have other friends too.


What makes a good friend? 

  • Having equal shares, not one always the leader and the other following.
  • Having lots of fun together (if not, you'd better look for another friend!)
  • Both of you working at keeping the friendship.Giving each other some space.
  • Even best friends need some time to be alone or with other friends, so don't try to 'own' each other.
  • Respecting each other's differences.
  • Feeling safe talking to each other about your feelings and problems.
  • Trusting each other and looking out for each other.
  • Not sharing their secrets. (If your friend tells you that he or she is 'unsafe', encourage them to tell a trusted adult.)

Being 'popular', and having real friends, is not always the same thing.

Most adults would think themselves really lucky to have one true friend - someone they can trust and rely on for their help and support when they need it. Real friendship lasts through good times and bad times.

Remember: Good friends can play with other people sometimes and still be friends.

Being your own best friend

faceYou can be your own best friend.

Sounds weird?

Think about it.

Who are you with all the time? Yourself.

So, take some time to really get to know yourself.

What kids say 

This is what some children have written about their friends:

Friends are always nice to each other.
Respect your friends and they'll respect you.
I like friends a lot.
Encourage one another to be good.
Nice people are usually good people to be your friends.
Deserting your friends is very unkind.
Sticking up for one another is what good friends do.
By Matthew

"I like my friend James because he is funny, he shares with me and he is kind."
Phillip, age 7.

"I like making friends by helping them and sharing with them."
Evan, age 6.

"My best friend is Jessica, because she likes me."
Emma, age 6.

"My friends are Emily, Kendall and Erin. They are kind, friendly, they share, they like me and they play with me."
Susie, age 8.

"I like Basty because he is nice, he shares, he's funny and he makes good remarks."

"I like Kim because we both like riding and talking about horses."
Becky, aged 11.

What do you like about your friends? friends What do they like about you?

Dr Kate and Dr Kim say

Dr Kate and Dr Kim
"It's good to share the good times and the bad times with friends. You can have different friends who share your different interests. Best friends are special. Most people would say that they are friendly with lots of people but they only have a few close friends, even when they are grown up."


Friendship chart

click here to see the Friendship Chart.

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We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.


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