Gratitude Makes Friends!

Is there a connection between showing gratitude and making friends? Absolutely! Research shows that people who are grateful and thankful are often happier, more resilient, and more social. This week's lesson will help students make the connection between their level of gratitude and developing healthy relationships.

Elementary and Secondary Lesson


  1. In small groups of 4-5 students have students think about and share their answers to the following questions: What does it feel like for you to be around people who are always in a negative mood? Would you want to be friends with people like that? Are you that kind of person? 
  2. After some group discussion, have students go back to their seats and list the top FOUR attributes they look for in a friend on a sheet of paper. 
  3. Once they are complete, have students engage in a class discussion to share out some of the attributes.
  4. Teach students why “demonstrates gratitude” should be on their list of attributes to look for in a friend. Make the following three main points: 
  • People who are grateful show an elevated positive mood more often than not.
  • People who are grateful are often shown to demonstrate other positive characteristics such as trustworthiness and responsibility. 
  • People who feel that their friends are grateful for them are likely to maintain those friendships longer. 
  1. Have students write notes or walk around giving gratitudes to each other. I.e., “I am grateful that you are so helpful to me.” 

Follow Up Activity/Additional Resources

Have students share in small groups how it felt for them to express feelings of gratitude to their friends. Then, have students write a letter of gratitude to a different person and deliver it to them! Provide an opportunity to share how the experience turned out for them. 

Teacher Tips

Friendships are key for us all to be successful! Often times, when the social life of a student is hampered, it greatly affects their desire to even attend school. With this in mind, it is very impactful for teachers to model expressing gratitude before their students. Take some time to think about things you are grateful for from your class and share those things on a regular basis, unprompted. This will show students how to do the same!