More Moving Targets
More Moving Targets – and They Are Moving Faster
Note. The teen journey might have a common foundation, but everyone experiences it in their own way and developing relationships with others is no exception. So, the following information is very general and you will need to apply it to your own unique experience.
Peer Relationships Often Come and Go
Relationships with peers during the teenage years can come and go at a dizzying pace. Peer relationships become deeper and more important, but they also become more challenging because everyone involved is growing and changing. Everybody is a moving target – experimenting, learning how to relate, discovering who they are and what they want in a relationship. It’s hard to make connections and keep them with all that motion. Particularly when you don’t have years of experience with mature relationships to rely on.
Some teenagers have a circle of friends that lasts for many years. Most teenagers don’t and go through several groups, multiple relationships with individual friends and may have periods where they don’t feel very connected at all. Often ,relationships have to end or become much less important in order for the people involved to grow. That goes for groups or cliques also.
All of this can happen with best friends, casual friends and acquaintances, cliques or “crowds.”
When the Relationships Don’t Develop – Feeling Unconnected
It can be extraordinarily painful when you are not well connected to others. It can not only feel bad, but cause you to doubt yourself and your desirability as a friend. That feeling of not being very connected – or connected at all – to others happens to almost all teenagers at one or more times and it is one of the toughest parts of being a teenager.
The key to weathering those times is to understand that it won’t last forever, that it’s a matter of the right fit not being there with everyone changing and to look at new ways to form connections – individuals to talk with, groups to join, activities to begin, etc. That might not sound very powerful, but those actions can really make a difference – particularly if you persevere.
There is no magic solution, so you just keep moving forward and also keep building your competencies and getting more and more clear on your identity – not letting temporary relationship problems stop you in pursuing your other challenges.
You have people come into your life shockingly and surprisingly. You have losses that you never thought you’d experience. You have rejection and you have to learn how to deal with that and how to get up the next day and go on with it.Taylor
It’s a Rollercoaster
As with most of the teen journey, this is a rollercoaster with lots of ups and downs. As you (and your peers) get more experience with relationships and you develop your relationship skills, the ups become more frequent and the downs become less traumatic and less frequent. Relationships are always a rollercoaster ride, but the teenage relationships are often the scariest.
The key is to enjoy the ups and deal with the downs – don’t let yourself be diminished (it’s about fit not worthiness) and learn from all the experiences.