How to Be Friends Forever with Your Best Friend

You may be popular, or you may be a loser. But you have friends. More importantly, you have a best friend. Sometimes, there are times when you are annoyed, but besides that, they are some of the most important people in your life. If all others whom you thought were your friends will turn their backs on you, a best friend will always be there no matter what. There’s a saying that goes: “Best friends are siblings God forgot to give you.”

Communicate with your best friend. Frequent communication is essential to deepening your friendship. Making sure that they feel loved and supported will help you remain friends with them. Let them know about your day and random facts about yourself. Listen to them when they speak, and respond with an appropriate amount of enthusiasm so that they feel happy.

Plan activities together. Spending time with your friend is important, as it reminds them that they’re loved. Share fun moments with them. Send them invitations to different outings, such as the movies or to a sleepover. Be sure that you both enjoy the activity; otherwise, they may feel unhappy and not want to spend time with you. Also, invite your other friends for a change in variety.

Share your secrets with them. Allowing you into your life will make them feel special. As your best friend, they will want to know about you as much as possible. By opening up to them, they will understand that you trust them and want them in your life. If they shares secrets with you, be a good friend and keep them to yourself. Although you might be tempted to share them with others, don’t break the trust put in you.

Keep in touch. When you are apart, show that you are thinking about them by calling, emailing, or texting them. Sending a short, simple message can do the trick. However, remember to give space so that they don’t feel smothered.

Create nicknames. Giving them a special name will strengthen your bond with them. Be sure that they don’t, however, feel embarrassed or hurt by the name; if they feel you’re making fun of them, it could throw a wrench in your friendship. Have inside jokes with each other.

Support their obsessions. Every person is made unique by their likes and dislikes. Even if you may not love their television shows or favorite celebrities, show that you love and support them by listening when they talk about them. You could also purchase gifts related to their likes, such as a shirt of a favorite band.

Avoid obstacles in your friendship. In order to ensure that you both remain friends for a long time, don’t allow menial situations or differences to separate you both. It doesn’t matter that she’s got the same shirt or pair of boots as you. Why should you care if he isn’t a fan of the band you love? Your similarities and differences with them should not cause a tear in your friendship.

Respect them. Above all, respect your friend, their space and their choices. You’re not the boss of them and neither they of you. Enjoy everything together for as long as it lasts.

If You Suspect A Child Is Being Harmed

If you are concerned that a child is a victim of abuse, you may not be sure what to do or how to respond. Child sexual abuse is a crime that often goes undetected. No matter what your role is—parent or other family member, coach, teacher, religious leader, babysitter—you have the power to make a positive difference in this child’s life.

1. Recognize the signs

The signs of abuse aren’t always obvious, and learning the warning signs of child sexual abuse could be life saving. You might notice behavioral or physical changes that could signal a child is being abused. Some of these warning signs include:

  • Behavioral signs: Shrinking away from or seeming threatened by physical contact, regressive behaviors like thumb sucking, changing hygiene routines such as refusing to bathe or bathing excessively, age-inappropriate sexual behaviors, sleep disturbances, or nightmares
  • Physical signs: Bruising or swelling near the genital area, blood on sheets or undergarments, or broken bones
  • Verbal cues: Using words or phrases that are “too adult” for their age, unexplained silence, or suddenly being less talkative

2. Talk to the child

If you are concerned about abuse, talk to the child. Keep in mind a few guidelines to create a non-threatening environment where the child may be more likely to open up to you.

  • Pick your time and place carefully. Choose a space where the child is comfortable or ask them where they’d like to talk. Avoid talking in front of someone who may be causing the harm.
  • Be aware of your tone. If you start the conversation in a serious tone, you may scare the child, and they may be more likely to give you the answers they think you want to hear—rather than the truth. Try to make the conversation more casual. A non-threatening tone will help put the child at ease and ultimately provide you with more accurate information.
  • Talk to the child directly. Ask questions that use the child’s own vocabulary, but that are a little vague. For example, “Has someone been touching you?” In this context “touching” can mean different things, but it is likely a word the child is familiar with. The child can respond with questions or comments to help you better gauge the situation like, “No one touches me except my mom at bath time,” or “You mean like the way my cousin touches me sometimes?” Understand that sexual abuse can feel good to the child, so asking if someone is “hurting” them may not bring out the information that you are looking for.
  • Listen and follow up. Allow the child to talk freely. Wait for them to pause, and then follow up on points that made you feel concerned.
  • Avoid judgment and blame. Avoid placing blame by using “I” questions and statements. Rather than beginning your conversation by saying, “You said something that made me worry…” consider starting your conversation with the word “I.” For example: “I am concerned because I heard you say that you are not allowed to sleep in your bed by yourself.”
  • Reassure the child. Make sure that the child knows that they are not in trouble. Let them know you are simply asking questions because you are concerned about them.
  • Be patient. Remember that this conversation may be very frightening for the child. Many perpetrators make threats about what will happen if someone finds out about the abuse. They may tell a child that they will be put into foster care or threaten them or their loved ones with physical violence.

3. Report it

Reporting a crime like sexual abuse may not be easy, and it can be emotionally draining. Keep in mind that reporting abuse gives you the chance to protect someone who can’t protect themselves. Depending on where you live and your role in the child’s life, you may be legally obligated to report suspicions of abuse. You can learn more about the laws in your state by visiting RAINN’s State Law Database.

Before you report

  • Tell the child that you’re going to talk to someone who can help. Be clear that you are not asking their permission.
  • The child may not want you to report and may be frightened, especially if the perpetrator has threatened them or their loved ones. Remember that by reporting, you are involving authorities who will be able to keep the child safe.
  • Ensure that the child is in a safe place. If you have concerns over the child’s safety, be sure to discuss them explicitly with authorities when you make the report. If you fear that the perpetrator will cause further harm to the child upon learning about the investigation, clearly communicate this to authorities.
  • If you are not concerned that the parents are causing harm, you can consult with them prior to making a report to authorities.
  • If you are a parent and are concerned that your partner or someone in your family may be hurting your child, this may be a very difficult time. It’s important to be there for your child, and it’s also important to take care of yourself. Learn more about being a parent to a child who has experienced sexual abuse and how to practice self-care.
  • Prepare your thoughts. You will likely be asked identifying information about the child, the nature of the abuse, and your relationship with the child. While anonymous tips are always an option, identified reporting increases the likelihood of prosecuting the perpetrator.

Where to report

  • If you know or suspect that a child has been sexually assaulted or abused you can report these crimes to the proper authorities, such as Child Protective Services. Reporting agencies vary from state to state. To see where to report to in your state, visit RAINN’s State Law Database.
  • Call or text the Childhelp National Abuse Hotline at 800.422.4453 to be connected with a trained volunteer. Childhelp Hotline crisis counselors can’t make the report for you, but they can walk you through the process and let you know what to expect.

After you report

  • You may not hear or see signs of an investigation right away. Depending on an agency’s policies and your relationship to the child, you may be able to call back to follow up after a few days.
  • If you are able to, continue to play the supportive role you always have in that child’s life. If making the report means that you can’t have this relationship anymore, know that by reporting you are helping that child stay safe.
  • Take care of yourself. Reporting sexual abuse isn’t easy. It’s important to practice self-care during this time.