You don’t want things to be awkward when you’re at each other’s houses – or, worse, be banned from hanging out together!
So as much as you might hate to admit it, the parentals’ opinions do actually matter. That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide for getting the olds to love you long time…
Step 1: Be nice
This one’s a bit of a no-brainer, but it’s worth reiterating: a little bit of kindness goes a long way! Simple things like greeting someone with a smile, being polite and asking about their day don’t take a lot of effort, but they really impress the ’rents (and people in general, for that matter!).
Teen life coach Tracy Tresidder explains that by showing you’re a kind and thoughtful person, you’re sure to always be welcome at your bestie’s house.
Step 2: (Don’t) make yourself at home
Parental pet hate: people who put their feet on their lounges, go to the fridge and eat their food without asking, and generally act like it’s their own house – when it’s not. Don’t be that person. Nobody likes that person.
Always remember you’re a guest, and act accordingly. Of course, there is one time when it’s OK – even encouraged – to act like you’re at home; and that’s when it comes to helping clean up (or, at the very least, offering to), after you’ve had dinner there.
This is an absolute must if you want a repeat invite!
Step 3: Be a good friend
Er, we probably should have made this step one, coz it’s kinda the most important. Tracy explains that when it comes to friendships, parents just want to know that their son or daughter has found a good one.
“All parents really care about is the safety and happiness of their child,” she advises. “Are they emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually safe with you? That’s what counts.” To reassure your friend’s parents, aim to always:
-Be open, honest and trustworthy.
-Be supportive and considerate of your friend; be there for the bad times as well as the good!
-Accept your bestie for who they are and the fact that sometimes, you will fight – so there’s no need to get bitchy!
-Have fun in lots of risk-free ways.
-Encourage your friend to stay on the good side of their parents by obeying their rules and making sure, for example, you’re both always home on time.
Step 4: Reassess the sitch
Still feel like your BFF’s ’rents aren’t your biggest fans? Tracy advises considering the reason behind it. “Are you acting in some way to cause concern about the friendship? Are you a bad influence? Think about your own values and if you’re being true to them.”
If you realise that perhaps you haven’t been the greatest friend – but the friendship is important to you – be upfront about it. Talk to your bestie about how she feels and address any issues that might come up. Be brave and apologise to her pearz if necessary – if you can’t do it face to face, try writing a letter.
They’ll be impressed that you’re showing maturity. Finally, behave responsibly and repeat steps one through three, and with time they’ll come ’round.
What if it's my parents who don't like my friends?
Our answer is: talk to them. Ask them what it is about your BFF that they don’t like, and be open to what they have to say.
“Don’t reply or try to defend your friend,” says Tracy. “Just say ‘thank you’ and take the information away, examine it, and see if there is any merit in what your parents have said. Often, we cannot see things because we are too close to it.”
Chances are, your pearz will actually have a point – in which case you should ask yourself why you value the friendship yourself. If you find it’s because it makes you feel rebellious, it’s probably a pretty toxic relationship and you might be better to end it.
Similarly, if you’re in it for popularity, you’ll need to figure out if it’s actually having a positive or negative effect on your life. If, however, you feel like your parents have unfairly judged your bestie, go back and tell them that while you really respect their opinion, you like your friend and want them to get to know him or her better.
Stay calm and act in a mature way, and your pearz will be much more likely to hear you out.