Friendships

Friendships

Friendships play a pivotal role in students' social and emotional lives, particularly during secondary school. Healthy friendships can therefore have a major impact on their mental health and wellbeing, helping to protect them against stress and strengthening their resilience. By providing students with a sense of belonging and connectedness, friendships develop their self-esteem, and their problem-solving and social skills.

Teaching students about friendships needs to be embedded in social and emotional learning and wellbeing programs. It’s important that these programs equip students with the skills they will need to maintain strong and healthy relationships, such as by teaching them strategies for reaching out and connecting with others, assessing their current friendships, understanding how different behaviours can impact on their relationships, and navigating friendship issues, The broad term ‘friendship issues’ refers to overt and covert incidents that happen between friends or within friend groups, such as arguments, teasing, belittling, excluding, and spreading rumours or gossiping.

A lack of skills and confidence to have difficult conversations with friends, and a belief that there is little they can do to address the friendship issue, means the issue often goes unresolved, with the student choosing instead just to ignore or avoid the offending person. These behaviours can leave young people feeling shut out without explanation, and describing feelings of confusion, stress, anger, sadness and loneliness.

ReachOut Schools has put together these resources to help teachers teach students about friendships. This includes developing the skills to navigate behaviours within friendships that cause stress, worry and hurt. Through these lessons, students will be supported to foster positive, safe and stable friendships, so that they are able to benefit from the compassion, trust, fun and sense of belonging that these important relationships provide.

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Classroom resources

Designed to be engaging and relevant to your students. 

Friendships end and change

Students examine different ways of dealing with changes in friendships and other relationships.

7-8

60 minutes

How to have difficult conversations

Through role play, students practise being assertive and explaining how they feel.

7-12

60 minutes

Making friends and building connections

Students examine ways to form new connections and relationships.

7-8

60 minutes

What makes a good friend?

Students examine healthy relationships by developing an understanding of what makes a good friend.

7-8

60 minutes

When friends aren't friendly

Students learn how to recognise when a friendship is toxic, and to develop strategies for dealing with different situations.

7-8

60 minutes

Why friendships are important

Students assess why friends are important for a sense of belonging and connectedness.

7-8

60 minutes

Wellbeing Fives

Energise, refocus and develop wellbeing in your students in 5 minutes. 

Gaining confidence to connect

Students assess different ways to connect and engage with others.

7-10

5 minutes

Friendships and stress

Assist students as they develop strategies for maintaining healthy relationships when stressed or during tough times.

7-10

5 minutes

The power of bromance

Help students explore how to maintain close relationships when a friend leaves school or the local area.

9-10

11-12

5 minutes

Trying to fit in

Students discuss peer pressure and the concept of fitting in.

7-8

5 minutes

Resources for parents and carers

Share with parents and carers to support a whole school approach to student wellbeing. 

Friendships and teenagers

Learning positive friendship skills can help teenagers in social situations.

Talking to your teen about bad friendships

Learn how to support your teenager through negative peer relationships.

Teenagers making friends

Figure out how you can support your shy or introverted teenager to build connections.

Teaching teens how to be a good friend

Hear from other parents about how they teach their teenagers to develop positive friendships.

Resources for students

Engaging and reliable content for young people to support their wellbeing. 

7 different friends you'll have in your life

There are many different types of friends you'll make in your life. Here's why you should appreciate and value them.

How to make friends at school

Having a solid squad can make those long school days way more bearable. Check out our tips for making lasting friends at school.

How to tell your friend they've hurt you

Talking to your friend about how they've hurt you, or about other friendship issues, can be tricky. Check out these tips to get you started.

Appreciating small friendship groups

Angel talks about how why she loves having a small, close squad, and why she appreciates them the way they are.