From the Principal - Your child's friendships post-lockdown

Posted 4 November 2021 1:54pm

It is very likely that friendships changed during lockdown, and throughout the pandemic. Childhood friendships are based around presentism. FOMO is a thing. Childhood friendships have an invisible thread that is tremendously strong, and during certain years (approximately 11-24yo) is a stronger pull than the tug of family. Imagine being put in remote exile during this time of your life.

The gift of technology has allowed us to remain connected and we are, digitally, more connected than ever before in this so-calledFourth Age. However, digital connection does not replace face-to-face interaction and can lead to poor or diminished relationships. Personally, I found myself making many more phone calls during lockdown. Technology does not create disconnection, it amplifies what is already there.

In my conversations with the students this week, they have reported that there has been a change in how they communicate, and one insightful young lady said “close relationships aren’t just about opening up to each other’. Friends want experiences, time together. It is not so much what they are talking about, but how they are talking about things. After much investigation, I have to say, there is no one rule, and how to make and retain good friendships remains one of the great mysteries of the universe. But the one fact all the research agrees on is that these are vital skills to learn in order to lead a happy life.

No one is born knowing how to be a good friend. We must all learn and practice. A few lessons and reminders from Preschool: share everything, play fair, don’t hit people, put things back where you found them, clean up your own mess, don’t take things that aren’t yours, say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody, and when you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.

Tips and tricks from the senior students captured over the recent weeks:

1. Prioritise making time for each other.

‘Friendships grow through shared experiences and quality time together. Good friends don’t let you do stupid things… alone.’

2. Open up and allow each other to be vulnerable.

‘A good friend is someone with whom you can be yourself and they can be themselves around you. Friends are people who know you really well and like you anyway.’

3. Pay attention to the little things.

‘A good friend is able to read between the lines of what's being said because they know you well. Good friends can communicate with just facial expressions, usually a nod and a knowing smile.’

4. Be willing to challenge each other.

‘A good friend pushes you to try new things, and in this way, you can challenge one another and support each other along the way. They agree with you but they often disagree with you too.’

5. Be open

‘By remaining open-minded and not insisting that you are always right, you show that you value your friend’s bizarre and creepy ideas. This includes having those weird conversations with your friend where you think “if anyone heard us, we’d be sent to counselling”.’

6. Look out for them.

‘A good friend is a courageous friend who will stand up for you even if it doesn't benefit them. Basically if you have friends who are as weird as you, then you have everything. Who decides what weird is anyway?’

In closing, friends do not try to control each other and do not demand perfectionism from each other – friends find their tribe, their group, their wolf pack and hold on tight for the ride. Remember, take care of your relationships and everything else will fall into place.


Mrs Anna Owen