Standing Up For Friendship

Relationship Skills

Family Resources on Standing Up For Friendship

Lesson Topic

Students reflect on how personal friendships can be challenging and how to develop solutions.

Essential Question

How can I be friend’s with someone else, even if they appear different from me?

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Standing Up For Friendship

If this lesson was used in the classroom: Students considered how to react when a friend is stereotyped for racial/ethnic/religious reasons. In class students discussed friendship and how racial or ethnic tensions in society can affect a friend who is a member of a traditionally marginalized racial or ethnic group. In small groups students discussed how outside events could make a friendship challenging and how to be protective of a friend if such an event occurs.

Getting Ready for the Conversation

The videos for this module feature three different students. Marisol and Harmony are friends from different racial backgrounds who have at times encountered negative comments from other friends. Nizar is Arabic and an immigrant; he discusses how at times he has encountered negative reactions, but he has a large group of friends who stand up for him

Conversation notes:
Adolescents can face racial or ethnic slurs and actions based on negative stereotypes. It is important for students to not fear making friends with people who are from different racial or ethnic backgrounds then their own. It is also important to learn how to stand up for their friends nonviolently and offer support when other people make negative or comments.

Dr. Daniel Siegel shares how changes in the adolescent brain affects relationships and relationships with peers at Greater Good Magazine:

Article about how to strengthen good peer relationships for teenagers from Reach Out:

Constructive Conversation Starters

The first item is for follow-up after viewing the lesson video and participating in class activities.

What friendship challenges did your group and your class discuss and what solutions did the group come up with? Why is it important to be aware of the potential for some people to make negative comments or racial slurs about a friend?

Do you ever worry about (or avoid) becoming a friend with someone of a different racial or ethnic
background? Describe why.

If a friend were the target of a racial slur, what would be an appropriate set of responses? Why do you believe these actions would be effective and appropriate?

School to Home Resources on Standing Up For Friendship

Lesson Plan

Unlikely friendships

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Harmony says, “as we started talking more and more, she opened up”. Both girls said that they would not have started talking together if they had not first had to talk with each other as part of a class exercise. Why do they agree that they would not have become friends if they had not been required to talk to each other in class? Why does it make sense to have students work together in class?

Blending friend groups

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Marisol says, “It has to start somewhere”. Students at their school chose to split up by race or ethnic group to eat lunch. What was the reaction when Harmony joined Marisol’s friends for lunch? Does anything about the reactions of other students surprise you? If something similar happened at your school, would the students react the same way? Why do you believe the reaction would be as you say?

Making friends

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Nizar says, “I was outgoing, I really tried to make friends”. Does being outgoing necessarily mean that you will develop quality friendships? Why or why not? What do you do that helps you make friends? Why do you think this works?

Being supportive

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Nizar’s friend, George says, “we will protect him”. Even though Nizar comes from a different cultural background his friends still support him. How does this demonstrate friendship? Why is it important for you to support your friends when difficulties arise? Why should you support your friends at difficult times?

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