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Summary: A friend is someone we turn to when our spirits need lift. Are you such a one or trying to be one.

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YOUTHS MAKING FRIENDS AND COPING WITH PEER PRESSURE

It is no doubt that everybody needs friends but when you are young, friends can have more influence over how you dress, act, and think than your parents do. It has generally been said “show me your friend and I will tell you who you are”. If friends play such an important role in shaping especially the life of youths, the question that remains is, who then should be your friend? And to what extend should your life be influenced or shaped by their opinion?

This paper will attempt to answer the above questions. It will in the first part deal with some practical ways of making real friends and then look at how you can cope with pear pressure. In No Way is this an exhaustive treatment of the subject but it is intended to give you the opportunity to explore even further some of the implications of friends and peer pressure.

There are people who have a very difficult time making friends. Even those who are good at making friends need to be intentional in making real friends and know what the secrets of making them are. A proverb says “a friend is loving at all times and becomes a brother in times of trouble Prov. 17:17. There is more to friendship than having a shoulder to cry on. Friends must correct others even when it hurts. When a real friend sees you going the wrong way, he/she will try to warn you before its too late. Even if he knows you may not like what he/she says.

Would you allow a bruised ego to cause you to reject someone who has cared enough about you to tell you the truth? Prov. 27:6 says “there is more trust to be put in bruises from one who loves than in effusive kisses from one who hates. A person who thinks straight and talks straight is the kind of person you should want as a friend.

COUNTERFEIT VERSUS REAL FRIENDS

Not all friends bring out your best or are good friends. Many youths learn things from friends like, stealing, lies telling, smoking, drug, sex, etc. Once the influence of counterfeit friends has caused us to form certain habits it becomes difficult to give up or to break the habits. And sometimes the tendency is to continue to struggle and pray after we fail – often it would help if we pray before hand asking God for strength when you feel the urge to do evil Prov. 13:20, says He that is walking with wise persons will become wise but he that is having dealings with the stupid ones will fare badly. If you keep friends with those who love God, you can avoid some of the ugly things in your life.

FINDING REAL FRIENDS

Where can you find friends who love God? Within the Christian congregation look for youths who not only make a profession of faith but have works to back their faith and devotion James 2:26. If such youths are difficult to find, get some Christians who are older than you. Age need not be a barrier to friendship.

HOW TO GET FRIENDSHIP STARTED

a). Have an active interest in others: Jesus built friendship that were so strong that his friends were willing to die for him. Why? For one thing. He cared for people. He reached out and help others. He always wanted to be involved Matt. 8:3. Having an interest in others is the first step in making friends. Knowing the person’s name is a way of showing interest, sharing a meal together assisting someone with a need can serve to deepen a friendship.

b). How you listen. Jesus words in Lk. 8:18 calls upon us to pay attention on how we listen. Though it refers to listening to the words of God, it provides us with a principle that applies well in developing relationships. Being a good listener is vital in building a friendship. It may requires keeping an eye on the interest of others. Leading towards the person, ageing with the person, asking questions etc.

c). Be loyal John 13:1. The main quality of a friend is his loyalty. Being able to stick with you when times get rough. Being able to defend or stand by your friend even when others say belittling things. Prov. 18:24.

d). Share your feelings. Jesus endeared himself to others by revealing his deepest feelings. He let it be known that he “felt pity” “felt Love” or was deeply grieved” Matt. 9:36, 26:38, Mark 10:21, John 11:35. In one instance he even cried. This does not mean you pour out your emotions to everyone you meet but you can be honest with everyone, and as you get to know and trust someone, you can gradually reveal empathy. “fellow feelings” for others is essential for meaningful friendship. I Peter 3:8.

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