Are You a Good Friend?
What does it mean to be a good friend?
by Lynn Whitehead (revised, originally published in 2008)
Suitable for Whole School (Sec)
To explore what it means to be a good friend.
Preparation and materials
- You will need five volunteers. Each volunteer will need a set of three cards, one with 'A', one with 'B' and one with 'C' written on them. They are to hold them up to indicate their answers to questions you will ask in the assembly.
Invite the volunteers to come forward and give each of them a set of the three cards with A, B and C on them.
Explain to everyone that you are going to ask the volunteers a series of questions about friendship. To answer the questions, the volunteers will hold up the letter relating to the answer they agree with the most. Point out that the quiz is simply a bit of fun and the answers should not be taken too seriously!
Invite the students in the audience to make a mental note of the answers they would give to the questions.
Now ask the following questions.
1. You hear a member of your class saying insulting things about your best friend. Do you:
(A) tell the person to stop being horrible and walk away
(B) join in with the laughter and say nothing to your friend
(C) tell your best friend everything the person said, in huge detail even though you know your friend will feel bad hearing these things - you love to have a bit of a gossip?
2. Your friend has fallen out with another member of the class. Do you:
(A) try to encourage them to get along together
(B) say nothing - it’s none of your business
(C) do everything you can to encourage them to argue - you love a good argument!?
3. Your best friend is in trouble with a teacher for something you have done. Do you:
(A) own up to the teacher and take your punishment
(B) let your friend take the blame - that’s what friends are for
(C) tell everyone that it was your friend who had done wrong - you have no problem telling lies if it avoids you getting into trouble?
4. Your friend has started attending a new club at school and you are seeing less of each other. Do you:
(A) encourage your friend with his or her new interest - if he or she is happy, you are happy
(B) find new people to spend time with - there are plenty more fish in the sea
(C) make lots of horrible comments about the interest he or she has chosen with the aim that your friend will feel so bad he or she will give it up?
5. You hear your best friend is going to be beaten up after school. Do you:
(A) go and see a teacher, so he or she can speak with the people who are making the threats and sort out the problem
(B) tell your friend in gory detail exactly what is going to happen and let him or her worry non-stop for the rest of the day
(C) say nothing - you have had a boring day at school and a good fight on the way home might be quite good fun!?
- Ask the students to work out which letter they answered with the majority of the time. Read out the following scoring system, making it clear that the quiz is just for fun and the answers do not really indicate the type of friend they are!
Mostly As: You are a true friend. You have the courage to stick up for others and are always loyal and understanding. You will always be thought of as a good friend.
Mostly Bs: You are a friend, but not a good one. You do not think of the feelings of others and your friends are simply people to hang around with, they can easily be replaced.
Mostly Cs: You are a poor friend. You think simply of your own image and popularity.
The Book of Proverbs in the Bible has a lot to say about friendship. Here are just four of examples of the advice given (GNB):
Friends always show their love. What are they for if not to share trouble? (Proverbs 17.17)
Gossip is spread by wicked people; they stir up trouble and break up friendships. (Proverbs 16.27-9)
Friends mean well even when they hurt you. But when an enemy puts his arm around your shoulder – watch out! (Proverbs 27.6)
Some friendships do not last, but some friends are more loyal than brothers. (Proverbs 18.24)
Finish by asking the simple question, ‘What kind of friend are you?’
Time for reflection
Muhammad Ali once said, ‘Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It’s not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.’
Thank you for friends.
Help us to be good friends – loyal, honest, dependable and true.
‘Cross over the road’ (Come and Praise, 70)