Do friends know us better than we know ourselves? What this means for social development in adolescence

The saying goes: Know thyself. But what if someone knows us better? Researchers studying relationships have found that our friends may actually know us better than we know ourselves. This comes into handy when working with teens struggling to form their own sense of self. Social development in adolescence can be rough, especially for teens with poor self esteem or who struggle to socialize with their peers.  

The relationships teens form with their peers during social development in adolescence can influence their overall future success. When teens enter adolescence, they often seek independence. This will most likely come in the form of spending more time with their friends than family members.

Why do our friends know us better?

According to an article in Psychology Today, friends may know us better than we know ourselves for several reasons. These include:

  1. Seeing through self-protective biases: Everyone is protective of their own image. During social development in adolescence, feeling of self consciousness and low self confidence can drastically affect the way we see ourselves. Friends don’t usually care about the way we portray ourselves (as much as we care about it, at least).
  2. Friends observe our behavior: Our friends know us so well they may even be able to predict our actions before we even can. This is because our friends observe daily behaviors that we may not notice about ourselves. For example, we may make a certain facial expression when around a person we have a crush on. Only our friends notice the change in facial expression or behavior because they are able to observe our behavior as an outside figure. They can help us be aware of the changes in our behavior that we may not have noticed without them.
  3. We blame the situation, our friends blame us: Friends can open our eyes to what is really going on when something goes wrong. Usually, we are more prone to blame the situation around  us or others for our actions. Outside observers, like our friends, can see that we are really to blame for whatever happens to us. Because of this, friends really do know us better than we know ourselves.

Improving self awareness during social development in adolescence

During social development in adolescence, it’s important for teens to understand that things that happen to them are based around a combination of their own actions and the situation they find themselves in. It’s also important for teens to be honest with themselves about their behaviors. Good friends can help carry teens through the tough times of adolescence, which can improve a teen’s chance of success and happiness.

Elevations RTC helps struggling teens

Elevations RTC, a residential treatment center for struggling teens, can help your teen struggling with emotional and behavioral issues find success.

For more information about Elevations RTC, please call today.


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