By James Logan Healthy Eagle reporters | Healthy Eagle reporters recently interviewed Dr. Lauren Burgoon, a pediatric resident at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia. A pediatric resident is a doctor who is training to primarily care for children.
Logan reporters asked her questions about friendship. “Our friends help us have a connection to other people, have somebody who understands us and to have fun with,” Dr. Burgoon said. “Everybody needs someone who supports them outside of their family. Friends make you feel like you belong, which is not only important for adults but for kids, too.”
There are many health benefits to friendships. Good friends can help you reduce stress, get through tough times, and encourage you to choose healthy habits, according to mayoclinic.org, a large healthcare organization.
Check out the information that Dr. Burgoon shared with the Healthy Eagle.
A good friend can make you feel healthier, both physically and emotionally. Dr. Burgoon said that a good friend makes “you feel like somebody else knows you and accepts you for who you are. That’s important. We all need to be accepted for who we are. If somebody has a hard time, friends help us know that things are going to be OK.”
- Good friends try to take care of you and make sure you’re not alone. People who talk about you behind your back are not good friends.
- To make new friends, Dr. Burgoon suggested saying “hi” to someone new and see what you have in common.
- A healthy friendship is one where kids are nice to each other. “Friends respect each other and watch to make sure other kids aren’t being bullied,” she said. Good friends “notice your friend looks down and think, ‘I’m going to help lift them up,’ or ‘my friend had this great thing happen, I’m going to help them celebrate.’ ”
- Sometimes kids get jealous. Dr. Burgoon said that’s normal. She said to talk about problems. “Sometimes people can feel left out, especially when there’s a new friend added to your group. If someone feels left out, an easy thing to do is to include them.”
- A lot of kids feel shy. You can try talking to a trusted adult like a teacher or a counselor. Or, and this one requires some bravery, go up to a group and ask if you can join in. If you make a little effort, you’ll find that other kids will want to hang out with you.
- If someone is bullying you, Dr. Burgoon said, they’ve stopped being a good friend. You can walk away from them because no one deserves to be bullied. “If things get out of control and it’s getting too hard, please go talk to an adult.”
- Don’t bully others. If your friend is bullying someone else, tell them to stop. Dr. Burgoon said bullying “makes people feel small and sad and can even make them feel physically sick. They can have stomach troubles and headaches.”