Along with texting, teens are incorporating a number of other devices, communication platforms and online venues into their interactions with friends, including:. Playing video games is not necessarily a solitary activity; teens frequently play video games with others. With so much game-playing with other people, video gameplay, particularly over online networks, is an important activity through which boys form and maintain friendships with others:. Much more than for girls, boys use video games as a way to spend time and engage in day-to-day interactions with their peers and friends.
These interactions occur in face-to-face settings, as well as in networked gaming environments:. When playing games with others online, many teen gamers especially boys connect with their fellow players via voice connections in order to engage in collaboration, conversation and trash-talking. All this playing, hanging out and talking while playing games leads many teens to feel closer to friends. Social media also plays a critical role in introducing teens to new friends and connecting them to their existing friend networks. Sharing can veer into oversharing.
Teens face challenges trying to construct an appropriate and authentic online persona for multiple audiences, including adults and peers. Consequently, many teens feel obligated to project an attractive and popular image through their social media postings. When friendships end, many teens take steps to cut the digital web that connects them to their former friend. Girls who use social media or cellphones are more likely to prune old content and connections:. Along with examining the general ways in which teens interact and communicate with their friends, this report documents how and where teens interact with the friends who are closest to them.
School is the primary place teens interact with their closest friends. However, these best-friend interactions occur across a wide range of online and offline venues:. Teens also use a wide range of communication tools to get in touch with their closest friend. Molly, 14, said that together her friends make up all the aspects of what one "true friend' would be.
So really, no one person can fill every void in your life. Friendship isn't easy. To hear many of you tell it, making a good friend is almost like adding a new family member. It comes with risk and responsibility. It's almost like you are investing in this one person, whoever it may be. Sometimes what a good friend needs from you is brutal honesty, not a cheerleader. Gretchen, 15, said: "A true friend is a person who would really tell you how bad you look in that bright pink spandex suit, even though you really like it.
Friends aren't always forever.
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Angelica tells the story of a friendship that began in kindergarten. She remembers how close they were back in the days when she helped her friend cope with diabetes, sat with her after her appendix was removed, and listened to her as she struggled with family problems. But her friend moved away recently and hasn't returned her calls.
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Angelica has heard that her friend now hangs out with kids who drink and do drugs. But I feel too far away. Romance, like distance, can complicate things. Many teens told of friendships that soured after their friend began seeing someone.
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I've learned my lesson. For people who feel more comfortable following, they offer a place where rules are clearly defined. It's usually clear to clique members what they need to do to fit in. Sometimes that means sacrificing some freedom and following the leader rather than doing what you feel like doing.
Who Are My True Friends?
Clique membership is usually tightly controlled by the leaders. These social gatekeepers are the ones with the power to decide who should be hot and who should not. This type of membership control usually happens in cliques of girls. As many great kids have found, entry into a clique isn't guaranteed. In fact, a girl who is seen as likeable and popular may actually be excluded from belonging to a clique.
That's because her personality or confidence may pose a threat to the leaders.
She might not be a good "follower" — especially if she can be popular enough on her own. Sometimes her friends may even be invited to join when she isn't.
Clique members may deliberately exclude her in an attempt to take away her perceived power or the threat they think she could pose. Cliques aren't just for girls.
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Guys form cliques, too — usually around a sport, computer game, or type of clothing or music. They can be just as mean as girls about the outcasts of the social group.source
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It's not all roses inside a clique either. A person's standing within the group can always be under threat. Most of the followers cling to the leader not out of true friendship but because they want to keep their position in the group. But even the leader can lose her power. In fact, the queen bee in a strong girl clique probably worries as much — or even more — about being popular and accepted as the outsiders do.
Because no one feels secure, clique members often use the tools of flattery, humiliation, or rumors to manipulate situations and preserve their status. A few girls manage to stay friends with people both inside and outside the clique.
Coping With Cliques
But that can be hard to do because there's often intense pressure from the group to be friends only with people on the approved list. It takes a lot of self-confidence to dare to be friends with someone outside the clique.
Sometimes clique members decide they want out. They don't like being limited by the rules, and they don't like leaving others out and hurting people's feelings.