Michelle Garcia Winner, MA, CCC-SLP and Pamela Crooke, PhD, CCC-SLP
Making and keeping friends is something that most of us take for granted, in much the same way we take for granted our ability to learn to skip and run, be part of a classroom discussion, learn to write, stand in line, and do arithmetic. Furthermore, the nature and quality of friendships evolve as we mature. What makes for a good friend in elementary school is different from what makes a good friend in high school, and these shifts continue in our 20s, 30s, and across our lifetimes.
For young children, friendships can feel magical. To four-year-olds, friends may be kids they imagine traveling with to the moon or embarking on fantastic adventures together. As a ten-year-old, a good friend is someone you spend time with doing a variety of activities and talk to about different aspects of each other’s life. As a 16-year-old, a good friend is someone who clearly shows they care about you, even if the way they do this at times may not look friendly to those who are not their friend. By 26, armed with a strong developing sense of self, a good friend is someone to support you through the ups and downs of living a more independent life.