Relationships and identity
Being a teenager and becoming an adult is an exciting time. It is important you make close and personal relationships with others and be part of your local community.
To help you grow and become more independent from your family or carers, now is a good time to build friendships.
Many people develop friendships at school or by meeting people with similar interests. Although your friendship group may change over time, it's okay to have either some close friends, know lots of people or be part of a big social group.
Having good friends is important and it's okay if you feel lonely or find it difficult to get on with some people. To help you look out for at what a good friend is and what a good friend isn’t you can watch this short video created by Norfolk Safeguarding Board.
If you are looking to meet new friends, or want to learn a new skill or attend a local event with your friend you can. Support groups and services are in place to help increase your independence as you're going into adulthood.
As you are growing up, it is normal to feel attracted to both boys and girls.
Some people realise they prefer people of the opposite sex, while others feel they prefer people of the same sex. Some people realise they are gay, lesbian or bisexual at an early age, while others may not know until later in life.
Some young people may also be confused about their sexual identity. You could be asexual, where you're not interested in sex at all, or transgender, where you feel you identify as the opposite gender.
LGBTQ is an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning. These terms are used to describe a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
To find your LGBTQ support you can visit:
- NHS: am I gay, straight or a lesbian
- NHS: mental health support for LGBTQ people
- your local youth hub
- Kent Youth Health
- The Be You Project
- Young Stonewall
- Mencap: national charity supporting you and your family with sex and relationship advice
- Mencap: easy read guide for understanding sexuality and relationships
- Deaf rainbow UK
- a guide to using pronouns
- a guide to LGBTQ acronyms.
Relationships and sex
Every relationship is different, but it should always be based on honesty and trust. Both you and your partner should have an equal choice in decision making and nobody should be asked to do anything they don't want to do. Relationships don't have to be sexual, but if you do want to have sex it should be when you both feel ready.
To find relationship support you can visit:
- your sexual health and contraception options page
- school age parents page - for young people who are pregnant or have a child, young fathers (or fathers-to-be), parents and families of young people who are pregnant
- Mencap website - national charity supporting you and your family with sex and relationship advice
- Mencap - easy read guide for understanding sexuality and relationships
- BeFree Positive Relationships website.
Relationships and the influence of alcohol and substances
- If you are under 18, contact With You
- If you are 18 or over, contact The Forward Trust if you're in east Kent or contact Change Grow Live if you're in west Kent.
It is very important that you are in a safe relationship and no one is trying to harm you or make you do things you don't want to do. This can include being touched without your consent, being asked to perform sexual acts on someone or someone taking inappropriate pictures of you.
You can get support from Domestic abuse in Kent and Medway.
Or, you can download one of the below reports, to find out more about domestic abuse in the UK: