More than at any other age, during adolescence friends become an important part of your lives.
It is a lot more fun to ‘hang out’ with friends than go with your parents to attend a family wedding. Friends can ‘understand’ you because they also go through similar life experiences and they are easier to talk to than your parents, or other adults.
That is why so much of your time even after school is spent chatting on Facebook, sending messages on the mobile or talking on the phone.
Some of these friends have a positive influence in your life because you play sports with them, study with them or just enjoy spending time with them. They also help you go through life’s ‘ups and downs’ by patiently listening to your problems and being supportive.
However, some of you also feel the need to belong to a particular group of friends and adopt their ways. This may not always be very healthy. You may need to wear expensive clothes and make-up and may need to go for outings and also own expensive gadgets (Blackberry, Android or iPhone) which your parents may not be able to afford.
This ‘peer pressure’ to conform to a group can also lead you to smoke, drink, take drugs, drive bikes at high speed and have a girlfriend/boyfriend.
Since friends are such an important part of your life, it is important to choose the kind of friends you want to make.
During adolescence you also crave relationships that are close or intimate... you fall in love.
Falling in love is a wonderful feeling because you feel ‘wanted’ and can share your deepest feelings.
However, it is important that these relationships be based on trust and respect. It may be sometimes too early to make a commitment in these relationships because things change with time. When you are an adult and more settled emotionally and financially, it will be easier to take these decisions.
At this age you may not be able talk to your parents about having a ‘girlfriend/boyfriend’ because they may not approve. Also, your preoccupation with the person you love may interfere with your studies. This may upset your parents. You need to sort out your priorities... Sometimes ‘falling in love’ can also lead to a broken heart when you separate or when you discover that the other person is not interested in you.
This can be very difficult for you to deal with but it is more important that you share your feelings (anger, sadness) about this with people who understand you. Also, even though it is painful, you need to learn from the experience and move on with your life...