Playlist teacher guide - Changing friends

Playlist information

Playlist summary

This playlist provides opportunities for students to explore practical strategies for how to make new friends and end relationships that aren’t working for them.

Playlist purpose

As result of engaging with the media items in this playlist students will:

  • Understand when it is time to end friendships that have become disrespectful or toxic.
  • Explore practical strategies for making new friends.
  • Explore respectful ways to leave a group if the group behaviour is disrespectful or doesn’t fit with your values and beliefs.

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Learning objectives

  • Understand how to behave respectfully and ethically as a member of a peer group.
  • Develop the skills and confidence to know when and how to leave a peer group or end a peer / group relationship if there are conflicts or problems.

Key messages

  • Transition from primary to high school sees changes in peer connections which can impact on wellbeing and behaviours.
  • Effective interpersonal skills are required to negotiate and establish new relationships with different people during this period.

Year level(s) appropriate for

Year 7, Year 8, Year 9

Australian curriculum links

Investigate the impact of transition and change on identities.

Investigate the benefits of relationships and examine their impact on their own and others’ health and wellbeing.

Evaluate strategies to manage personal, physical and social changes that occur as they grow older.

Evaluate factors that shape identities and critically analyse how individuals impact the identities of others.

Examine the impact of changes and transitions on relationships.

Investigate how empathy and ethical decision making contribute to respectful relationships.

Propose, practise and evaluate responses in situations where external influences may impact on their ability to make healthy and safe choices.

Media items

Changing friends introduction

Type: Slides.

Duration: 5 minutes.

Source: The Good Society.

Summary: These slides introduce the Changing friends playlist.

Teacher notes:

Slide 1: Transition and change in relationships 

  • Adolescence coincides with the transition from primary to secondary school. 

  • Changing schools contributes to a major change in social structure. Students often need to develop new friendships and define their place in a new social hierarchy.  

Slide 2: Interest-based friendships 

  • Interests develop and can change as students enter high school and friendships once based on common interests may not have that common thread any longer. 

  • If a group participates in activities that just don’t interest you any longer or when members of the group seem less interested in your thoughts, suggestions, or conversations, it might be time to leave. 

Slide 3: Friendships can change 

  • Social status goals (increased prestige and perceived popularity) become more important and are one of the driving motivations behind bullying behaviour.  

  • Manipulation and aggression are often used as deliberate strategies to acquire power and influence, gain dominance and to increase and maintain popularity with peers during adolescence.  

  • An increase in bullying behaviour appears to occur at age 11 and in the immediate transition period from primary school to secondary school.  

  • Bullying emerges as young people interpret, reproduce and become part of the social order around them.  

  • Bullying highlights the biases, prejudices and moral values of the wider community related to appropriate gender behaviours, sexuality, cultural homogeny, ability, and wealth or economic status. 

Positive and respectful relationships

Type: Page.

Duration: 4 minutes.

Source: The Good Society.

Summary: Our relationships are essential to our identity and well-being, but not always easy or free of conflict. Positive and respectful relationships require effort to develop and maintain but the rewards far outweigh the effort, for the individuals and the broader society.

Teacher notes:

Additional resources that explore these concepts further can be found as follows:

Making new friends

Type: Page.

Duration: 4 minutes.

Source: The Good Society.

Summary: Whatever your age or situation, you can learn to overcome shyness or social awkwardness. You don't have to change your personality, but by learning new skills and adopting a different outlook you can overcome your fears and build rewarding friendships.

Teacher notes:

Loneliness among young people is a problem that has been slowly uncovered in polls. 86 per cent of millennials reported feeling lonely and depressed in a 2011 study. A study in 2014 found 18-24-year-olds were four times as likely to feel lonely all the time as those aged 70 and above.

How to make friends at school

Type: Web.

Duration: 3 minutes.

Source: ReachOut. ()

Summary: Whether you are the new kid or have decided to develop new friendships that better align with your thoughts and values, there are ways to tackle the prospect of making new friends.

Survey questions:

  1. Question number 1. Have you tried any of these tips before to make new friends? Answers
    1. a.Yes, they worked well
    2. b.Yes, but I didn’t have much success
    3. c.No, it’s too scary to walk up to a stranger and start a conversation
    4. d.No, but I think it’s worth a try
    Discussion points:

    Making new friends can be scary and challenging, particularly if you are not naturally outgoing. Sometimes it is much easier if a group of people approach an individual person who might look like they are alone in the playground or not part of a group.

    To unpack this in more detail, you could ask students to complete the following tasks:

    1. Create a Tips for new kids list that includes their top ten tips for how to make new friends at their school
    2. Create a How to make everyone feel welcome list that includes strategies students can use to make new students feel like they are part of a group and welcome at their new school.

A gazillion ways to make new friends

Type: Video.

Duration: 1 minute.

Source: ReachOut. ()

Summary: If you’re dealing with a bullying situation, it can often affect your whole friendship network. Here are a gazillion ways to get out there, meet new people and rebuild your friendship crew.

Survey questions:

  1. Question number 1. Is making a new friend as easy as going up to them and starting a conversation? Answers
    1. a.Yes
    2. b.No
    Discussion points:

    Online social networks like Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, and WhatsApp allow you to “instantly” friend someone who you may have only just met. Some of this mentality of instant friends is being replicated in the offline world as well.

    It is important when establishing a new friendship that you take the time to get to know the person before making any big commitments of friendship.

    It is also important to not rush into taking online friendships into the offline world. These days it is very difficult to really know who you are interacting with online if you have never met offline. It is important to be cautious about who you meet up with offline and when and how you meet up.

    Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of taking it slow when forming new friendships.

    Discuss why it is important to take your time if you need to change friends or end relationships.

I Hired A Life Coach To Help Me Make Friends

Type: Video.

Duration: 8 minutes.

Source: BuzzFeedVideo. ()

Summary: Steven realises that he’s awkward when making friends but want that to change. This video looks at how a life coach helped him develop strategies to make friends.

Survey questions:

  1. Question number 1. Have you ever tried to make friends with someone you have admired from a distance? Answers
    1. a.Yes
    2. b.No
    Discussion points:

    If someone you knew was having trouble making friends what 5 tips or pieces of advice would you give them to make it easier?

When friendships become disrespectful

Type: Page.

Duration: 4 minutes.

Source: The Good Society.

Summary: Friendship break-ups are never easy, but sometimes they’re necessary. A clear sign that the friendship might be nearing its end is if the relationship feels difficult more often than it feels fun and easy going.

Suggested activities:

Explore with students if they have ever experienced a toxic friendship. Ask students to identify what things might characterise a toxic friendship.

Explain to the group that all friendships have their ups and downs, and it doesn’t mean if you are in a down time that you should end your friendship. But it is important to ensure that your friendships never leave you feeling bad about yourself.

Encourage students to take this quiz to learn the signs of a toxic friend.

10 Signs You Have a Toxic Friend

Type: Video.

Duration: 5 minutes.

Source: Psych2Go. ()

Summary: Friends are supposed to be supportive and uplifting, but people can change overtime; we should learn how to recognise the red flags in a toxic friendship.

Survey questions:

  1. Question number 1. Have you ever experienced or been witness to a toxic friendship? Answers
    1. a.Yes
    2. b.No
    Discussion points:

    It’s not always easy to know where you stand in a friendship, but there are ways to spot when it’s no good.

    For further information on how to recognise and handle a toxic friendship direct students to this article by ReachOut.

Signs it’s time to break up with your BFF

Type: Video.

Duration: 2 minutes.

Source: Seventeen. ()

Summary: Breaking up is hard, especially if it involves your bestie. This video highlights the tell-tale signs of a toxic friendship.

Survey questions:

  1. Question number 1. Have you ever had a bestie that you have had to break up with? Answers
    1. a.Yes
    2. b.No
    Discussion points:

    It’s not always easy to know where you stand in a friendship, but there are ways to spot when it’s no good.

    A toxic bestie might:

    • gossip about others or about you
    • criticise you, either subtly or not
    • constantly remind you of your past failures
    • try to manipulate you into feeling a certain way or doing something you don’t want to do
    • stress you out
    • demand too much, without giving anything back.

    The best way to decide whether a bestie might not be healthy is to be honest with yourself about how you feel when you’re with your bestie.

    • Do you generally feel worse when you hang out with them?
    • Do you feel drained of energy any time you spend time with them?

    If you answer yes to either of these questions, it’s time to move on … find yourself a new group of friends, and eventually a new bestie.

Changing friends conclusion

Type: Slides.

Duration: 5 minutes.

Source: The Good Society.

Summary: These slides conclude the Changing friends playlist.

Teacher notes:

To conclude this playlist, ask students to undertake a reflection activity about what they learnt about groups. To provide structure to their reflection work through the following slides:  

Slide 1:  

Ask students to write down three things they learnt about making new friends.  

Slide 2:  

Ask students to write down three things they learnt about dealing with friendships that become disrespectful.  

Slide 3:  

Ask students to write down three things they learnt about how to break up with a toxic friend. 

Slide 4:  

Ask students to turn to a partner and go through the Connect – Extend – Challenge thinking routine by discussing the following questions:  

CONNECT: How are the ideas and information presented CONNECTED to what you already knew?  

EXTEND: What new ideas did you get that EXTENDED or pushed your thinking in new directions?  

CHALLENGE: What is still CHALLENGING or confusing you? What questions do you now have?

Activities and extras

The conversations generated through engaging with this playlist could be built upon and reinforced using role plays, scenarios and group activities where students practise and refine strategies for:

  • Recognising and calling out behaviour that is toxic to a friendship
  • Having a conversation with a bestie about behaviour that you don’t agree with
  • Starting a conversation with someone that you don’t know.