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Healthy friendships

Whether they’re friends you’ve had since you were young or people you only know online, it’s important that your friends have a positive effect on your life.

Friends should be caring, kind and trustworthy. If your friends make your feel sad or upset, this might be a sign that this friendship isn’t healthy.

Here are some ways to help you tell healthy friendships from unhealthy friendships.

How does your friendship make you feel?

A healthy friendship should make you feel:

  • Valued
  • Accepted
  • Respected
  • Listened to
  • Happy
  • Safe

An unhealthy friendship might make you feel:

  • Like you’re not good enough
  • Like your opinion doesn’t matter
  • Judged for what you do or what you like
  • Sad, scared or worried

Warning signs of an unhealthy friendship

  • They are jealous. Your friend gets jealous if you spend time with other people.
  • They are mean. Your friend calls you nasty names or is unkind about you or your appearance.
  • They are controlling. Your friend tries to monitor and control what you do and who you speak to.
  • They pressure you. Your friend tries to make you do things you don’t want to.
  • They threaten you. Your friend says that bad things will happen if you don’t go along with what they want.

Dealing with unhealthy friendships

If you think it might have an unhealthy friendship with one of your friends, trust your instincts and speak to an adult you trust about how you’re feeling.

If you want to speak to someone confidentially, you can call Childline on 0800 1111 or speak to The Mix by texting THEMIX to 85258.

If a friend is pressuring you to do something sexual online that you don’t want to do, speak to a trusted adult or report it to CEOP.

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If you are under 18, report online sexual abuse to one of our Child Protection Advisors at the CEOP Safety Centre.

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If you're over 18, call 101 to speak to your local police. 

In an emergency

If you're ever in immediate harm or danger: 

  • Call the police on 999 straight away
  • Tell an adult you trust who will be able to support you through a difficult time

Talk to someone

Childline logo

Free, confidential support online and over the phone for young people under 19.

Call 0800 1111

The Mix logo

The Mix is a charity that provides free information and support for under 25s.

Use their crisis messenger by texting THEMIX to 85258.

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