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From the best friend you’ve had since you were five to the new student you met in your math class, it’s important to have good friends. And as it says in For the Strength of Youth: “Everyone needs good and true friends. They will be a great strength and blessing to you” ([2011], 16).

But how do you find and keep good friends?

We asked youth in England about what true friendship means to them. Check out some of their stories about their true friends and how those friends have strengthened them. You might find that your own friends are a great strength to you too.

What makes someone a good friend?

Aaron M.: I think you should be excited to see your friends. You should care about them and you should know that they care about you. You can feel comfortable around them. You don’t feel like you have to act like someone else when you’re around them.

Leighton H.: Someone who supports you and comforts you.

Maddy H.: Someone that you trust.

Rachel P.: I think that a lot of what makes a good friend is having someone who is there for you, who supports you.

Emma F.: My best friend has always been there for me and reached out to me. When I left high school to attend homeschool, she started texting me. She’s like, “Hey, what are you up to? We should hang out.” And I didn’t really have that many friends at the time, and so we just ended up being best friends. She always knows when I’m feeling sad. Somehow, I don’t know how, but she just always knows.

How Do Your Friends Support You?

Hannah P.: I’ve had friends come to my performances for my show choir when I was in it.

Andrew S.: My friend helped me incredibly with football.

Bella F.: For a religious studies class we went on a trip to a Church meetinghouse, and all the missionaries were there. It was fun. I also thought it was a really good way to choose who my good friends were going to be because you could tell who really respected other people’s religions. They’d say things like, “Oh, so you don’t swear?” And they’d say, “OK, great, I won’t swear around you” and stuff like that. We talked about how we don’t drink coffee and stuff, and they said, “OK, we don’t have to go to coffee shops.” They were just all really respectful.

Emma B.: My friends have just been so open to talking about my religion and saying things like, “You know what, I don’t necessarily believe what you believe, but I’m totally open to understand so I can know what you know and what you believe in so I can help you stay strong.”

Calvin B.: Since I moved, I haven’t really met anyone at school. So all I know are people at church. When we’re all at a youth activity, they’re nice to me.

Emma F.: When I first moved here, I didn’t have very many LDS friends because there weren’t that many young women in our ward. I ended up making one friend at an LDS youth convention, and that made all the difference for me in coming to activities. And so she introduced me to her friends, and eventually I had LDS friends, which is helpful.

To read more of the responses from the Oxford Youth, click here