Have you noticed that when we acquire something new like a car or a meal at a restaurant, we often think about what we want out of that thing? We think about what’s going to make us happy and satisfied. We don’t often think that way about what we value in friendships and relationships, and girls don’t either.
When girls understand what matters to them in relationships, what they stand for, and what they’re looking for, it gives them a yardstick to measure what’s happening. When a conflict arises, knowing their values ahead of time allows girls to decide between:
Is this the point at which I’d end a friendship?
This is just disappointing and frustrating.
This is OK when my friend does this, because this fits with what I’m looking for.
This isn’t OK.
We don’t want girls to think about their friendship values after a situation goes badly. We want them to already know their values beforehand.
How to get the values conversation started:
Share the friendship values that matter most to you in your life with the girls who matter most to you. Ask them what matters most to them. Even if they’re at an age where it doesn’t seem like they’re really listening to grown-ups, our research shows that they are.
Here are some examples:
“Having a friend who can acknowledge my feelings is important to me. If I tell someone I’m having a bad day and they always tell me I shouldn’t feel sad, or “it’s not that bad” then I know they might not be one who will be there for me during hard times.”
“I get annoyed when someone doesn’t apologize, but it isn’t a deal-breaker if they are open to talking about it later. For me, a friend doesn’t have to talk about a conflict right away.”
If you get stuck, share why this matters:
“When you know what you want from a friendship – and when you believe in that – you won’t settle for less. You can seek out friendship with people who are good to you, listen to your feelings, who you can express your feelings with, and who you can be silly and yourself with, no matter how popular or un-popular they may be.”
Download and customize these Value-tines (or make some of your own)
Craft Tip For Younger Girls:
If you exchange Valentines Day cards, it is never to early to make them values-based. For example:
- I heart you because you are funny, kind, and a great listener.
- You are my valentine because you reach out to new people.
- Happy Valentines Day. I love the way you speak up for yourself!
If you are crafting together, asking your girl what she values in her friends is a great seed to plant.
We hope you’ll celebrate Valentine’s Day by making it a Value-tine’s Day. Talk with the girls in your life about what really matters in a friendship. And then listen to them too.