U R Enough - Page 14

Friendship Busters and Friendship Builders!

© Holli Kenley 2014

Over the past several weeks, we have been hearing a lot in the news about famous athletes who have been physically hurting their girlfriends and wives. And because of video cameras, we have seen the awful evidence of it! It is hard to talk about subjects like this, but it is so important to be aware of abuse and violence that is taking place in relationships that are meant to be kind and loving! Whether it involves a friend on the playground, or a classmate in middle school, or a boyfriend/girlfriend in high school, sometimes what starts out as casual teasing can turn into more serious acts of harm! Let’s take a look at 3 Friendship Busters and 3 Friendship Builders!

Friendship Busters are negative words and actions that tear down individuals and tear apart relationships. The really tricky and serious thing about Friendship Busters that I want you to remember is that they most often start out as funny pranks or kids just joking around. But over time and as kids get away with these behaviors, individuals are injured, friendships are destroyed, and romantic relationships can become abusive. Read on carefully! Here we go!

3 Friendship Busters!

1. Verbal Varmints!

Many times, especially in elementary school, the easiest way to make fun of others is to say nasty things about them. It might be teasing them about the way they look or what they are wearing. Or it might be poking fun of how they play a sport or how they struggle with a certain subject. As kids get older, the verbal varmints become more serious – like gossiping or spreading rumors, judging or criticizing someone’s race or background, and positing or texting cruel things online. And then in high school, when kids start dating and begin having more serious relationships, the verbal varmints can become very harmful! Boyfriends or girlfriends and even so-called best friends become possessive or controlling, spread vicious rumors or texts, put each other down, and even threaten one another. This is important, young people. The verbal varmints start with small hurtful jabs or jokes…and then they usually get worse!

2. Emotional Enemies!

Along with the verbal varmints or sometimes by themselves, kids want to hurt other kids by becoming their emotional enemies! What do I mean? It means saying or doing things secretly and behind individual’s backs that will deliberately hurt their feelings. At elementary and middle school ages, the most common emotional enemy is excluding someone from a game, an activity, a group or party. Or, playing mind games such as pretending to be someone’s friend one day, and then rejecting them the next day. It’s ganging up on someone such as passing messages or texts to others, getting them to agree to mistreat another individual. In high school, these same kinds of behavior are also common, but they tend to get much more serious and severe. Jealousy, envy, and rivalries between friends and in romantic relationships can lead to two extremes – sudden exclusion from a group or circle of friends to complete possessiveness and controlling behaviors in a romantic relationship. What is so scary about emotional enemies is that the victims usually feel very isolated and very alone. And tragically, as emotional enemies get away with busting down friendships and breaking down individuals, over time they turn into physical defrauders.

3. Physical Defrauders!

Sadly, not only have many of you seen and heard the news about our sports stars hurting their loved ones, but some of you may have witnessed physical defrauders yourself – in your own homes, in your friends’ homes, and at other places like school. Physical defrauders are individuals who have moved beyond the verbal varmints and the emotional enemies, and now inflict physical harm onto another individual. Today, with younger people, we call it bullying. On the playground it looks like pushing, shoving, punching, and kicking another person. In middle school and high school, it can involve one person against another, or it can be a group of kids ganging up on another person – fighting, shoving, hitting, spitting, or biting. With older kids and adults, we call the physical harm abuse. Many young people in romantic relationships experience this kind of physical abuse – a boyfriend shoving his girlfriend on the ground, punching her, threating her or her family, and much worse.

Young people, these Friendship Busters - Verbal Varmints, Emotional Enemies, and Physical Defrauders - are ugly, and they are hard to talk about! However, this is important! You must be aware of them and what they do to you and to your relationships! By understanding these Friendship Busters, not only can you get help, but you can be empowered to be part of the change – you can become Friendship Builders!

3 Friendship Builders!

Let’s take a look at 3 Friendship Builders – empowering attitudes and behaviors that build up others and you! Think of them as solid bricks, building a strong foundation inside of you! Get ready! Let’s get started!

1. The Acceptance Brick

In order to become a Friendship Builder, you begin by getting rid of the verbal varmints and emotional enemies!

If you are calling people names on the playground, or texting cruel messages or posts, or playing mind games with your friends, girlfriends or boyfriends – stop!

If you are excluding others or playing friendship games – stop!

Now, grab hold of the acceptance brick!

It is a brick that says you will not judge others, put them down, control them or boss them around!

You will look for ways to include others, to compliment them, and to help them!

When you take hold of The Acceptance Brick, you commit to accepting others for who they are – just as you would like to be accepted for who you are!

2. The Respectful Brick!

Once you have The Acceptance Brick securely in place, add on The Respectful Brick! Now, read carefully.

Being respectful doesn’t mean you have to agree with everyone; it means you respect their right to be here on earth and be who they are!

It means that just like you want others to understand your right to be safe and to be the unique person you are – you want the same for them!

It means you make a commitment not to participate in name calling, social networking pranks, or in bullying or physically abusing friends, boyfriends, or girlfriends!

And here is a tricky one – you stop hanging around with kids who disrespect other kids! And you stand up for the victims!

Respecting others and being a Friendship Builder feels good! Let’s keep going!

3. The Protection Brick!

As you continue to build your tower of friendship, you will add on the final brick – The Protection Brick! As you are working on treating others with acceptance and respect, it is critical to accept and respect yourself in the process! How do you do that? With The Protection Brick! What does that mean? It means you put strong boundaries in place! Think of boundaries as in invisible fence around you that keeps you safe. However, you must be the one who shows others that you have a strong fence protecting you! Here are some suggestions:

Don’t hang around with kids who hurt you or make fun of you!

If someone continues to say or do things that hurt you, tell a trusted adult. Remember, if bullies think you won’t tell, they will continue their bullying!

Don’t react to mean or cruel stuff or try to get revenge, but do stand up for yourself! Let them know that the next time anything happens, you will tell an adult. Hold your head up high and walk away.

If you are in a controlling friendship or overly possessive romantic relationship, consider talking to a counselor or a trusted adult. If you feel your life is in danger, you must report it to the authorities.

I know I’ve shared a lot with you! And this is hard stuff. But, I want you to know that I write about this because you are important! Each of you deserves to live a healthy and safe life!

Start today. Start now!

Grab hold of the Friendship Builders !

Grow your friendships – ones that are loving and kind.