by Rheagan Rizio
In high school, it’s easy to get caught up in your own workload. Homework, grades, and test scores become your life, and everything else takes a backseat. It’s easy to think that you’re the only person in the world who is struggling. Although seems like your friends’ problems are insignificant, it is see things from their perspective and not dismiss them because you think that you do not have time for their trivial issues.
Your friends have as many problems as you do. It may not always seem like it, but they’re probably struggling just as much as you are. It is important to recognize this, and to be considerate of your friends for this reason. If they’re in a bad mood or having a bad day, don’t just get angry, try to empathize with them. They could be having personal problems, something could be wrong at home. You just don’t know, and you won’t know until you ask.
Put yourself in their shoes. How would you feel if you were upset and your friends just blew you off to do other “more important” things? If you were unhappy about something, it’s likely that you would want your friends to take notice and ask you what’s wrong. When we’re little, we’re taught to “Treat others the way you would like to be treated.” It’s still important to follow this advice, now more than ever, because of our teenage tendency to rely on peers more than parents.
You can’t look at your friend’s problems from only your point of view. Everyone is different, and everyone thinks differently. Something that may not seem that major to you might be extremely important to your friend. Your personal feelings about the matter are not important, what’s important is that it matters to your friend. Even just knowing that you are there, and that you are willing to help them out if need be, could be enough to get them through whatever they are going through. And if they come to you to vent to you, don’t make fun of them for their issues or ignore them because you don’t think you have time for them. Listen to what they have to say, and only offer your advice if they ask for it.
It may seem like a weird thought now, but high school won’t last forever. When these four years end, your exact grades on particular tests won’t matter. Your class ranking won’t be what you remember. But your friends and the memories that you make with them will stay with you forever. If you trivialize their issues and never listen to them, then you’re not being a real friend. People are naturally social. They need others, and they rely on them. Friendship is a two-way street. You need to be a friend before you can expect friendship in return.