By Brenda Yoder

People will fail you, but God never will.

It’s easy to talk about accepting yourself and having confidence, but how do you really do that in relationships with friends and peers?

It’s important to have friends who accept you and with whom you feel comfortable. How do you feel around your friends? Here are five things to consider in relationships as you grow in confidence and authenticity.

1.   Being comfortable and confident in who you are draws others to you, making you a leader rather than a follower.

2.   Rather than changing your interests to fit in, find peers who have similar interests with yours. Get involved in activities in- or outside of school where you can find friends who have similar interests and hobbies.

3.   Don’t be friends with just anyone. Find one or two friends who accept you, are loyal and share your interests and values. Spend time with them outside of school—if your parents approve. Don’t be friends with someone who puts you down or disrespects you. Be picky about your friendships.

4.   If someone doesnt accept you as you are, don’t take it personally. People who are critical of others struggle with their own insecurities and put others down to make their confidence bigger. In these cases, it’s their problem, not yours.

5.   If your friends make you change to be accepted, find other friends. It’s that simple. Friends should be people you have fun with and can be yourself with, not ones who make you feel unworthy, awkward, or bad about yourself.

Most kids you hang out with won’t be significant people in your life when you’re no longer a teen. If you change your character, interests or personality to hang out with a certain group now, you become a different person and will have heartache along the way. Don’t change who you are just to be accepted. Rest in your strengths, personality and interests and find others who understand and appreciate you. And see your confidence soar!

What things pull you down in friendships? Are there friendship struggles you have questions about? We’d love to help answer them!

Broken and Beautiful: Brenda has a Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and a BA in Education. As a Parent, Counselor and Educator her ministry is helping moms and daughters navigate the tough stuff of life. Have a question for Brenda? Email her at [email protected]

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