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Enhancing relationships: what is a friend?

Possible Learning Activities

  • In small groups, students could brainstorm how friends can help us. They put each idea on a separate card. Students group the cards and give each group a heading.
  • Discuss the characteristics of three types of friends (acquaintances, mates, and best friends) and how friends can contribute to emotional well-being and to feelings of self-worth.
  • Discuss the qualities students value in best friends, acknowledging that not everyone has a best friend and that few people have more than one or two. Note that different people value different features about friends.
  • Students can then list the qualities that they consider their best friend to have and the qualities they consider that they offer their best friend.
  • Discuss with the class how these qualities develop over time and need to be maintained. Students need to know that things may go wrong in every friendship and that everyone makes mistakes.
  • Students could now prepare two fictitious letters to an agony aunt’s column. One is from Nigel Nomates, who stands around quietly at playtime waiting for someone to ask him to play; the other is from Con Ceted, who can’t seem to make friends even though she has told everyone how fantastic she is.
  • Students discuss why these characters have difficulty in attracting friends.
  • Students write replies to both people with helpful individual suggestions and develop a list of ways that class members might help these students.

Suggested Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • identify the qualities of friendship and how to maintain friendships (3C1)
  • describe attitudes and values that help establish and maintain friendships (2C1).


(particularly taha whanau and taha hinengaro)

Interacting with others and enhancing emotional well-being through friendships.

Attitudes and Values

Being responsible for their own well-being, respecting the rights of others, and displaying care and concern for others.

Teachers' Note

For more learning experiences related to friendship, see Reaching Forward, pages 51–65, and Making Friends.