Listen to “Making Friends,” on This Teenage Life

Find the full episode at This Teenage Life, and wherever podcasts are found. Friendships feed…

By Beth Fertig

Find the full episode at This Teenage Life, and wherever podcasts are found.

Friendships feed the soul for all of us. But for teenagers, they also serve a more primal, even biological function. During adolescence, teenagers’ brains are changing rapidly. They’re chemically primed to seek out their peers and form attachments as they become more independent and adult. That means finding new experiences and friends. 

This Teenage Life is a podcast that helps teens feel less alone by giving them space to talk about their experiences—including the emotionally fraught topic of friendships. That’s the subject of this latest episode. 

At XQ, we value youth voice and choice so much that we’ve made it one of our design principles for rethinking how to make better high schools. We’re proud to sponsor TTL because we believe listening to students helps educators foster caring, trusting relationships—another one of our design principles.

The episode “Making Friends” is a powerful reminder of how these relationships feel for teenagers. The transition from middle school to high school can involve shedding old friends and making new ones. That can be painful and awkward. The students in this episode ask hard questions, like: What is a best friend? What does it mean to find “my people”? Making friends involves trust, something that can be broken way too easily. Some students also lost contact with friends during the pandemic, when schools were locked down. “It was during the lockdown that I got to know that I was friendless,” one student acknowledged.

We believe these are important experiences for educators to understand if they’re to fully appreciate their students and help them reach their full potential.

Listen to previous TTL episodes dealing with high school, sponsored by XQ:

Listen to How Teachers Can Help Students Feel Seen on “This Teenage Life”

Listen to Teens Discuss What Mattered Most to Them in High School Classes

How the Pandemic Changed Us: High Schoolers Share Their Perspectives

Listen: Dealing with Transitions, Like Starting High School

Art by Cloe Moreno, provided by This Teenage Life