Social well-being requires clear communication and consideration for others’ feelings. Active listening demands undivided attention, eye contact, and genuine interest. When people take turns listening and speaking (dialogue), both feel appreciated and heard. Friendship is a human need that requires real effort to make it last. Desirable friends show kindness, integrity, and caring.
Healthy relationships include some conflict or disagreement because each person has had unique experiences, which have shaped their world view. Differences do not have to lead to disagreements, however. Practicing perspective taking or “taking a walk in another’s shoes” can expand how we see life, build empathy for others, and help us to learn and grow from different perspectives around us. When conflict occurs, resolution strategies can help us keep those friendships that provide meaning in our lives.
Interview. Practice active listening and perspective taking by interviewing someone in your neighborhood or community that you do not know very well. Create a list of interesting questions, listen intently, and ask follow-up questions. Repeat things that they say so they know that you are truly listening and are interested in what they have to say.
Friend Assessment. Ask your child who their closest friends are and what they admire about them. Discuss any attributes that they wish their friend had and any conflict that may be felt between them.