Real Talk with Teens: 4 Questions on Friendship

In a culture replete with Facebook "friending," Instagram "liking," and Twitter "following," it seems that the once obvious line between intimate connection and casual acquaintance becomes ever more blurry for a generation of kids growing up entrenched in social media. The fact is "friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family" (Proverbs 18:24). My concern is that teenagers repeatedly see their friends "come and go" on social media but rarely experience the "true friend" who "sticks by you like family."

Because too often, our teens focus on how many friends or followers, tags or likes they have. And that’s the extent of their consideration.

For example, my daughter recently lamented that one of her followers on Instagram unfollowed her, lowering the number to "just" 110.

With all the focus on quantity — on the amount of people who "come and go" — is there a way to realign our kids' attention on the quality of those relationships? To help them discern whether or not a person might be a true friend who sticks by them like family?

When teaching high school English, I learned that a good way to help foster self-reflective students was to ask questions and listen well.

That said, here are a four conversation-starters to get our teenagers thinking about the quality of their friendships — both online and otherwise:

1. Do you feel "built up" after connecting with this friend?

Words hold power, the ability to build or destroy. People who deliberately seek to encourage are people who refresh and energize their company.

[Read the rest of the article at For the Family.]