Friend group stereotypes seem to be what high school is all about. There are the popular ones, the nerds, jocks, theatre kids, and the loners. The “loners” are the students that have little to no close friends. They are the kids that sit in the back of the class and never have a group to work with when a group assignment is assigned. They tend to spend most of their time alone. Some may think that they might just like being alone, but in reality, life is always better when you are surrounded by people that love and support you.

A recent study done by Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital states that “…having a close friendship in adolescence offers a sort of protection against many of the common mental health issues faced by young adults.”

Not having a close group of friends or people to talk to throughout teenage years can have a devastating impact on one’s future. Both depression and anxiety, starting in the mid-twenties, have been linked to the patient being alone in their younger years. High school is a time when immense pressure is placed on students. With loads of school work, AP classes, homework, extracurriculars, etc., adolescents need someone their own age that they can count on when things get difficult to manage on their own. Teen friendships are proven to be one of the best ways to help teens cope with this stress.

Newport Academy, an American mental therapy program for adolescents, affirms that teens with friends have “…lower levels of sadness, less jealousy, not as much worry, and higher levels of happiness.”

Friendships are a huge part of succeeding both mentally and academically.  Teens without strong relationships are in a constant battle against the continuous stress build-up, and if they are not being affected now, they will soon start to decline after graduating. Adolescent socialization may not seem like much to worry about now, but studies show that peer relationships play a vital role in both a teen’s present and future health.

Society seems to block out each school’s group of “loners” and only place emphasis on the well-known groups, such as the jocks or popular kids. However, the students that tend to be alone most of the time are usually the ones that need the most attention. High school is a very big obstacle in each person’s life and it can be very difficult to get through alone. Encouraging teens to make friends and to invite others into their friend groups is very important for both themselves and others. People need people.

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