There is no magic number when it comes to friends.  Some people have heaps of friends, both close and casual, and some people have just one really close best friend.  Some people don’t really have any close friends or their friends might only be onlineThe important thing is that you are happy and have healthy and respectful relationships with any friends that you do have, and that your friends are respectful and supportive of you. 

That’s a big question! There are many different types of relationships, and respect might look a bit different, depending on the relationship type.   

However, if we are talking romantic relationships, a healthy relationship is one where both people are comfortable, safe and equal, and there is an equal balance of power – neither is trying to control or manipulate the other person; It’s a relationship in which both people are aware of and commit to: 

  • Supporting each other’s right to say no to things they aren’t ready for 
  • Giving space and support for each to  express their opinion and disagree without pressure.   
  • Treating each other as an equal  
  • To never threaten, control or manipulate – to feel safe.   
  • Supporting each other’s cultural and spiritual beliefs regardless of whether they share them or not.  
  • Hanging out with friends and family separately sometimes without feeling guilty. 
  • Always speaking to and treating each other respectfully at all times, even during an argument or in a break up.  
  • Never using any kind of physical abuse or threats of physical abuse. 

You can read more on this post - 

Sometimes, when people are disrespectful to a person it can be because they think their own wants/ desires or beliefs are more important than others’.  When we think we are more important than others, it can turn into behaviour that belittles the others, or even behaviour that is disrespectful and harmful to the others.  You haven’t mentioned what they are doing that is disrespectful, so it’s hard to answer in a very specific way, but well done for wanting to stand up for your girlfriend and your relationship. 

In Junior RespectMe, we have a session where we go over our Rights and Responsibilities in relationships, but all of these things are HUMAN rights – we should expect to be treated with respect by everyone, and to stand up for ourselves and others if those rights are not respected. These rights include: 

  • I have the right to say no to things I don’t want to do  
  • I have the right to express my opinion.   
  • I have the right to respectfully disagree with my friend  
  • I have the right to be treated as an equal  
  • I have the right to never be threatened or controlled – to feel safe.   
  • I have the right to recognise my culture and spiritual beliefs.   
  • I have the right to hang out with my friends and family without my boy/girlfriend   
  • I have the right to be spoken to and treated respectfully at all times, even during an argument or in a break up.  
  • I have the right not to be physically abused- hit, pushed or poked  

Don’t forget that you also have the responsibility to treat others’ with respect as well! When you see someone not respecting your girlfriend, you can speak up by calling it out and saying that is disrespectful but make sure that you do it in a respectful and safe way.  It the behaviour is constant and serious, you may need to talk to a trusted adult to get some more specific advice and support about what it best to do. 

There is no magical age that tells you when you can and cannot be in a relationship.  Although, regardless of age, it is important that if you do decide that you want to start dating someone, that you ask for their consent and communicate this with them.  

Some people become interested in having a special friend at an early age, others are not interested until they are well into being an adult. One of the greatest things about being a human being is friendship. Having others around to share things with and have fun together makes life more interesting. Don't feel pressured into looking for a special friend just because it seems to be the 'in thing' to do. You could end up losing someone as a good friend and that would be sad, as good friends are hard to find. 

It’s also a really good idea to talk to your parents about this as well – they may have rules that they’d like to talk to you about, but they can also help make sure you are safe in relationships and be there for you.