GET IDEAS
SHOP BY DEPARTMENT
lyfia

Tween - how do you say you don't want to be BFFs when someone asks?

lyfia
11 days ago

So my daughter was the mean girl a couple of weeks ago and talked behind one of her best friends backs and it came back to bite her. They've been friends since kindergarten on and off, but mostly on and the last couple of years have been BFFs (although my kid has a few of those).


This all came out because I was asking why she wasn't talking to her friend. The things she said were pretty tame and was in response to a question from other kids, but word got back to her friend with her responses and she questioned my daughter and my daughter just ignored it. I made my kid apologize to her friend and she does feel really bad about it and hopefully she can learn something from it which I'm trying to help with as well. Her friend is now her ex-friend and good for her friend is all I can say and I hope she sticks to it as my daughter deserves it.


When talking to my daughter it appears that her responses were based on that they seem to have grown apart and my kid doesn't like talking about the interests her friends have and feels like that is all she talks about. I sort of expected this would happen at some point as they are vastly different in that sense, but similar in some other ways. However, I need some ideas on how to tell my daughter how to handle if something comes up again so she doesn't hurt the feelings of anyone again and maybe there isn't anything she can say that won't cause an issue.


Everything I read online seems to relate to how to handle it on the other side or to just slowly step away from a relationship when they no longer want to be friends. I think she would have been fine with continuing to be more casual friends, but there were some things that ended up pushing her over the edge. One was her friend always "hitting her" my daughter says hitting, but I'd say it is more like a friendly swat like some people do, but my kid is very sensitive to that stuff and the other is she thinks her friends talks too much about something she has no interest in whatsoever.


The questions my kid responded to when asked by others and she was honest, but obviously honesty can be hurtful and especially when it comes from someone else. She was overheard saying she doesn't like her friend that much because she hits her and she is sometimes annoying and another one was when she was asked who was her best friend and she said another girls name and was then asked what about this other one and she said "eh not really" and I can completely hear her saying that last part so I know she did and I pointed that out to her when she used the same phrase later for something else.


However, what would have been better ways for a tween to handle these responses. We had a talk about that we don't talk about others if it is all negative and if she wants to do that to talk to us so that we can help her address what the problem is or if she just needs to vent. We did say it is ok to not like people or disagree with them, but there is no call for being unkind even if we don't like them. It is better to ignore than talk about it where it will get back to them. We also asked if she would like to hear the things she said and she agrees she did not handle this well.


The other one though with answering about the best friend part is tougher. How do you respond to that when you no longer want to be BFFs, but don't want to hurt the persons feelings. I really don't want her to lie either and she is kind of like me there a bit too honest.


Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Comments (32)

  • eld6161
    11 days ago

    The first lesson is to never talk about friends with other friends. Hard I know as tweens and teens love gossip.

    I do remember when my youngest was on the other side and a “friend” told her how awful her formal dress was that my DD wore to a special event.

    We had a discussion on why someone would feel the need to go out of their way to hurt someone else’s feelings. I told my DD’s before jumping in think, “What good could come out of this?” If the “friend” took this advice, she obviously would not have said what she did.

    Very interesting topic. I have never had a BFF nor have my daughters. We have a few special close friends, but no one has ever been delegated as a BFF. So, can’t address that.

    I am sure you will receive much wisdom and advise here.

    You are a good mom.

    lyfia thanked eld6161
  • lyfia
    Original Author
    11 days ago

    Thanks eld we did cover the first lesson and that was the easier one and also what to say if someone wants to talk about somebody else with her, but how to answer when questioned about if she is her BFF is where I'm completely stumped when she no longer feels that way.


    I never had BFFs either, but rather several close friends so it is little difficult to navigate this part, plus I was more a tomboy and at this age my friends were mostly boys and a few girls whom I'm still friends with today even though we live an ocean apart.

  • Related Discussions

    How do I know when someone responds to a question I ask?

    Q

    Comments (6)
    To delete your post: go back to the post you made and in the upper right hand corner of your post you will see two icon's when you hover - a pencil and an X. If you click on the X it deletes the post after you confirm it. If you click on the pencil it allows you to edit the post. If you need to find the post you made, go to Your Houzz and click on the tap labeled "posts" to find it.
    ...See More

    Would you suggest that they change it even if they don't want to?

    Q

    Comments (74)
    I'm not a fan of the yellow, but what's really jarring to my eye is the mantle/shelf being installed 6-10 inches above the fireplace surround. If they would paint that space between the shelf, brackets and fireplace surround the same white as the shelf, etc. it might look a bit more cohesive. If they would spend the money/time, I would move that mantle/shelf so that it sits directly above the fireplace surround. Good luck!
    ...See More

    Contractors don't do what they say---why???

    Q

    Comments (35)
    A comment was made that people in the construction industry don't want to work. Could not be further from the truth. Since the market has improved, we cannot keep up with demand. In our area, 50% of the builders and subcontractors in the residential construction industry closed down during the recession. Many working for subcontractors left the area entirely. There is far more demand than those of us remaining can begin to meet. We cannot find ANYONE even remotely qualified to work in the remodel industry - and every company we know is in the same boat. The only people that one can find are drug addicts, have criminal records, are illegal or are young people that have never learned a skill of any sort (but they know how to play video games!). These are not people that we can bring into someone's home while the family is living there. It is just as frustrating for us as it is for the consumer. Every company is weeding out projects based on what they feel they can do. You hate to not go for an initial visit, but you know unless it is really the sweet spot for what your company does, that you probably can't take the project on. Depending on the company and their circumstances, they weed out projects or potential clients for different reasons. Doesn't make it right or wrong, but consumers do the same thing - it's not a double standard. Over the past 10 years, I can't begin to count the number of times that we were asked for an estimate and the consumer would not make the time to go over it once it was done (just email it to me type), some would not even return calls when we called to get an appointment to go over the estimate, one was not even home when we got there for the appointment. We always ask in the initial meeting what the budget is and 99% of people will not tell us. That is the quickest way to know whether the scope and budget are out of line so everyone can stop and not waste the time of the consumer or the contractor. Yet consumers let the contractor go off and do the work only to find when the estimate is presented that it is 2-3 times the budget. Not blasting consumers, just saying it is a two way street and both have their faults. None of this defends what is happening, but hopefully sheds some light. Should we get back to people better, absolutely. But when you're working 7 days a week, it's hard to remember the niceties sometimes. Maybe the key for the whole industry is better phone screening and turning down the opportunity to start with (or referring it to someone else). I know we are turning down work, and it's hard to do after 7 very lean years. You don't know when the bubble is going to bust again. Good luck. Adjusting your budget should make a big difference.
    ...See More

    Why do some of you say "we" when answering a dilemma?

    Q

    Comments (35)
    When I write "we" the pronoun is always clearly defined in a previous sentence. Usually it's Husband and I and I'm referring to our usual course of action or our past experience. When I read "we" therefore, 99% of the time I'm assuming the pro who wrote it is referring to their company's usual course of action or previous experience. Not always, obviously.
    ...See More
  • l pinkmountain
    11 days ago

    This same thing happened to me when I was 13. I got in a minor tiff with my BFF, (and it was about a similar thing, talking behind my back and not being accurate, exaggerating), and I didn't speak to her for months and months. I just cut her out of my life. And why, because at 13, I started to realize that we were different people with different ways of being in this world and different interests. Well welcome to the world Missy! As time went on, I realized how petty that was, because everyone is imperfect and different, including me. My friend exaggerates, and sometimes my husband now accuses me of the same thing, which really pisses me off, because I just see it as colorful language, so there's my interpretation, and his insistence on being the arbiter of accuracy, which often is folly. Accuracy is a scientific concept, rarely do we want to take the time to actually be accurate in our daily conversations . . . when I switch to more accurate precise language my husband is still pissed off because now I'm boring him to death, nagging . . .

    A common folly of teenagers is the idea that . . . everyone sucks except me and thee, and sometimes I wonder about thee . . . maturity is being able to see the good and bad in everyone, including yourself, and dealing with it. That's an adulting skill, to be able to get along with a diversity of people. I'm still learning new skills in that realm at 60 . . .

    My parents gave me the same advice you are giving, if you have grown apart, just accept it but one can grow apart from a friend and still be nice to them . . . kids need to know how to navigate around this chronic, "all or nothing" mentality that is so rampant in our society. It is unnecessarily limiting and really stressed kids out, I see it all the time in my students, it makes it difficult for them to be resilient.

    Some truths don't need to be told, it's not lying to not drive home something hurtful. Another important adulting skill is knowing how to detach. A sage piece of advice my mother gave me over and over again is "Don't make other people's problems your problem." Your daughter can't control the other people in her life, only her response to them. The best thing you can do is to get your daughter to focus on more positive ways of thinking and being. Let the other stuff go!! She can pick and chose companions and activities without driving home her dislike for other alternatives. Stay on the positive side of the Force, so to speak . . . :)

    My friend and I reconciled. I apologized. I learned from the experience. We are still friends to this day. She is quite imperfect, we have different lives and different interests and I would never trust her with a secret I would never want repeated . . . and we love each other like family . . . and both our families and work lives are messy and filled with imperfect humans and we've both had to figure out how to deal with that over the years . . .

    I think detachment and resilience are two challenges of our times. To be in this world but not totally "of" it, to live one's own truth without having to make it everyone else's . . . you've given your daughter some excellent advice for starters. So now she has to learn to live with the discomfort of maybe not having a BFF who is her whole world . . . which is the challenge of the teenage years, the need for support from peers vs developing an independent self . . . the best thing your daughter can do IMHO, is to just keep talking with you about such things, but also learn to relax.

    At the same time I was fighting with my BFF, I was also getting after-school tutoring from my Algebra teacher who was counseling me on how to get over my math anxiety and not feel like every problem was an insurmountable catastrophe. He used to say, "Just relax and everything will be cake-city." Which was a ridiculous saying, but what he was doing was making me feel capable and valued, something I wasn't getting at home. That's the best you can do for your daughter . . . no small feat. In the camping world, we call that the "I Am Lovable And Capable" aspect of the self, and we train kids to give IALAC boosters to themselves but also others. It's a helpful way to navigate the teen years, a tangible goal. It's possible to be around people you don't necessarily "like" but not destroy their IALAC's in the process of developing your own . . .

    lyfia thanked l pinkmountain
  • arcy_gw
    11 days ago

    Mom GET OUT OF IT and STAY OUT OF IT.

    You have no idea the feelings behind what went down. You have one side. It's time for your child to manage her life. Reality discipline bites but if this happened I have to say what she's been taught up to know wasn't what she needed. Love her. Listen to her. Assure her another day will come and better is around the corner.

  • DLM2000-GW
    11 days ago
    last modified: 11 days ago

    ^^^ Well I guess you've been told! I'll be back with my thoughts in a bit.

    edit - meaning two posts up

    lyfia thanked DLM2000-GW
  • IdaClaire
    11 days ago
    last modified: 11 days ago

    Gah, Arcy. Just... GAH. So needlessly unkind.


    "What she's been taught up to know [sic] wasn't what she needed" -- ?? Lyfia reached out here because she needs guidance, not because she needs her parenting over the course of her daughter's life to be called into question.


    The tween years are so difficult, both for the child and for the mama. I'm so sorry this is happening, but it's certainly not uncommon. I remember many years ago when I too decided (at around the age of 12-13) that I didn't care so much for a girl who had been an important part of my life at one time, but I felt I'd moved on. I will never forget when she came to visit me one day, and brought me a poster for my room depicting two adorable puppies, with the message "IF YOU WANT A FRIEND, BE ONE." Even at that tender age, I felt chastised and guilty for how I'd treated the girl. To this day, I feel a twinge of sadness just thinking about it. I think the most valuable thing you can do is to continue to talk with your girl, instilling empathy and understanding. I think continuing to encourage her honesty and openness is a good thing, but perhaps guide her in how to temper her words to be as kind as possible. Kind but firm, which is something that some of us only learn much later in life. Still, this is a great opportunity to begin to help your daughter come to an understanding of what that means.


    At the end of the day, this too shall pass, and as I'm sure you know, it's just one of what will be more relationship foibles along the way. That's just what happens to us as we mature, and there's no way around it. As much as you don't want your daughter to engage in "mean girl" behavior, I do think it important to encourage her to remain authentic and open, and just drive home the point that such honesty makes people vulnerable - on both sides - and is best delivered as diplomatically as a tween girl can manage.


    Best wishes. You have a sweet heart.

    lyfia thanked IdaClaire
  • DLM2000-GW
    11 days ago

    So let me phrase some of that a bit differently. One of the goals is to teach empathy, to understand how her words or actions can impact another, right? It's a process, does not happen in one fell swoop and this may be her first big oops lesson. Another goal is to help our kids understand the natural consequences of their actions. Forgot to bring her homework to school? The teacher will mete out whatever the consequences are in her classroom. Goal for mom is not to rescue her and drive the left behind homework to the school and allow her to deal with this on her own. But again, this is a process and there are always those instances where the line between unwarranted rescue and compassionate assistance is blurred. No one gets it right all the time.

    Knowing a bit about you, my guess is there is a bit of the apple not falling far from the tree on this one. She is your daughter, she is taking cues from you and your relationships but she does not yet have your adult understanding of how to navigate this with a bit more finesse. Social communication can be a minefield and helping her understand how to reply to direct questions with softer version of truth to spare feelings is important. The goal is not to teach her to lie or to invalidate her feelings about this friendship but that there is sometimes a bigger goal to be met with a more encompassing end game. As she gets older she'll learn when being blunt about something is worth whatever fallout may happen and that her truth in that instance is what matters most.

    lyfia thanked DLM2000-GW
  • Marlene Oliver
    11 days ago

    Communicating by yelling is a very bad example to set for anyone, tweens or adults, arcy.

    lyfia thanked Marlene Oliver
  • Moxie
    11 days ago
    last modified: 11 days ago

    Teach her the importance of knowing what her personal boundaries are and how to be clear about maintaining them.

    Physically, if someone touches you in a way you don’t like, tell them immediately, clearly and directly. Saying “don’t do that” can often be done lightly and with humor if the touch isn’t extremely inappropriate. If the person persists or the unwanted touch is violent or sexual, a different approached is needed.

    Emotionally, is trickier. Sometimes is possible to just let things fade away. If one person wants to maintain a close connection but you don’t, it’s time for an honest discussion. Try to be kind, but understand that it may be painful for the other person. It won’t be as humiliating as hearing it through the grapevine, however.

    Ditto what localeater said!

    lyfia thanked Moxie
  • Lars
    11 days ago

    In my high school per-calculus class, some people in the class started gossiping about Rodney when he was out of the room. My friend Frank said, "Don't talk about Rodney when he is not here - wait till he gets back!"

    The point is that you should not say something behind someone's back that you would not say to their face. So if you pretend that the person you are talking about is in the room, then you can say whatever it is that you would want that person to hear. Or, you can be like Frank and tell people to wait until the person is actually in the room before you talk about them.

    lyfia thanked Lars
  • blfenton
    11 days ago

    I noticed that you addressed the issue about talking about someone in less than flattering terms - Does she know or understand why she did it? That's where I would start.

    And "Tame" to one person can be devastating to another especially for tween and teen girls.

    It sounds like this has been a hard lesson for your daughter but it's great that you are guiding her through this and helping her to understand the power of words and the value of friends.

    I don't get the BFF thing either. I like some people more than others but that's natural.

    lyfia thanked blfenton
  • l pinkmountain
    11 days ago

    Two somewhat conflicting issues, one is to learn how to not engage in cliquey behavior, which is a great life skill for not only social situations, but also invaluable in the work world. Lot's of careers stalled by burning bridges . . .You don't have to be "friends" with everyone, but the basis of good manners is to learn how to get along with as many people as possible. Such things can be taught. I know the current ethos is to try and obliterate all the troublesome people from our lives but I think that's a fools errand. Better to learn how to cope with all the difficult challenges one might encounter in the interpersonal realm. Such is resilience and believe me, when your daughter gets to college, she will be very happy if she has that tool in her life's toolkit. So many who don't have that skill can crash and burn . . .

    On the flip side, if your daughter has a peer who is making her uncomfortable by hitting her, even in fun, then she also has to be able to get the respect for boundaries that she needs. So time to employ the ol' "When you do X, it makes me feel Y." As in "I know you don't mean any harm, but when you hit me, even if it is just in fun, it feels uncomfortable to me and I would appreciate it if you would stop doing that."

    lyfia thanked l pinkmountain
  • yeonassky
    11 days ago

    So much good advice here! I almost wonder if I have anything to add but here we go.

    There are times when you have to step back and times when you have to step in and be involved and I think this is one of those times where you have to be involved.

    I think that she may have already learned that what she says has consequences but I would reinforce that if I were you.

    Just an observation. It does sound like she has emotionally distanced herself from her friend. As long as she doesn't attempt to badmouth her friend any further perhaps the breakup will be accepted by all and both sides will recover fairly easily. At least for some people they emotionally bounce back.

    Hopefully after this situation your daughter says things kindly and without malice directly to people who she is having a relationship with.

    If she wishes to simply blow off steam about a friend perhaps she needs to write it in a journal that no one can get hands on or talk to a neutral person like a counselor.

    lyfia thanked yeonassky
  • lyfia
    Original Author
    11 days ago

    Thank you I appreciate the feedback and I will provide the answer like localeater suggested as that will give her what she asked me on what she could say. We have talked endlessly about what we share and don't share with others and have constant arguments about it as it relates to our rules for her using Facetime with friends and we talked about one of them again as it is somewhat related to this and she finally said she now understood one of our rules that she always argues about.

    I think learning from actual actions is a good thing as most people learn them better that way than being told. I only regret that it had to come at the expense of her friends feelings.

    My kid is generally considered to be the kind kid (always mentioned by teachers in conferences) and until she is an adult I will not butt out of her life as it is my job as a parent to teach her things. She will learn from mistakes, but will also need guidance as she grows up. I'm a hands off mom in general and have never bailed her out of anything and won't going forward either. Tough you forgot your lunch you will have to eat the school lunch and so what if you don't like it, there will be something you can eat. Forgot to turn in your home work sorry you talk to your teacher about it. I'm here to help her understand when she's done something wrong and help her if she wants help, but unless it needs adult involvement I will stay out of it except for guidance.

    The only butting in I did here was talk to my child about the issue and that she had to apologize as we apologize when we do something wrong. I gave her a timeline to do it and she decided to just do it immediately rather than wait until the time was up (I gave her 2 days). She asked what she should say instead if someone asks who is her BFF to not be mean. I only had the adult responses of what to say and she didn't like those as she said it could still be taken the wrong way. I'm out of my league with this stuff and never dealt with it, but I'm teaching my kid to be kind and polite whether anybody here thinks that is right or wrong. My choice.

    We've had the touching my body discussions plenty of time, but she says she did and said all the things we'd discussed already and her friend still does it (I don't know how true this is because I only have one side). I told her she needs to talk to us about it sooner before it becomes a problem so we can figure out a different way to deal with it if what you've tried doesn't work you need to change how you do things. With that I mean I would help her figure out ways that she could make it stop. Unless it is a serious issue that needs adult involvement I would prefer she learns how to deal with these things herself.

    Yes I only have one side here and frankly I'm on her friends side (the side I don't know). What my kid did was mean and not nice and she realized it, but she just didn't know what to do about it. She's hopefully learned her lesson besides already knowing not to do this she now knows what happens and she has to live with the consequences.


    After our talk she did realize why she did it and it was because she wanted distance from her friend. My word choice and I think she said she didn't want to be friends anymore and I asked you mean close friends or not even talk at all. She said she'd be fine talking to her, but just didn't want to do it as much as now.


    I really like the journal idea and will suggest it to her - I said she could vent to her parents about things as it would also allow us to help out with anything where she could use a different perspective, but a journal might appeal to her.

  • SEA SEA
    11 days ago

    It's not easy to go through the tween years, whether you are the tween or parent of. I wrote out a post to you but discarded it because I find advising people on raising their kids is tricky. But I support you. I'm happy to have the tween years behind me, I'll say that. Two girls. I got to do it twice. Yeah me! Middle school years are especially difficult because their brains are in such a turmoil from puberty (my teacher daughter says they have mush for brains from all the chemical changes happening-has a master's degree in education and has specialized in tween and teen brain development-has since apologized to me for being a tween herself at one time) and the transition to upper grades and the social changes that occur. They change so much during those tween years and outgrowing friends is common. It sounds like you are trying to be a good mom and let her clean up her own life messes at the same time. And you don't need to qualify your parenting style to us or anyone.

    I tried during those years to teach my kids to strike a balance of being kind and considerate and learning how to set your own boundaries at the same time. Sometimes they took the mean girl road. Other times, they handled it with grace. That is a hard life skill to teach and learn. The hitting thing from the friend, even in jest, that's a no. This is a good learning moment for setting boundaries while trying to be polite. If polite doesn't work then perhaps growing distant is a good practice as that's a slippery slope with friend practicing passive-aggressive tendencies on your dd and perhaps others. Ipink wrote a good passage on that. That one was the main reason I discarded my post as I couldn't articulate my thoughts as well as Ipink did :) I wrote mine before she did, or I would have said--"what pink said." :) Hang in there.


    lyfia thanked SEA SEA
  • mtnrdredux_gw
    11 days ago

    I think sometimes simple is best. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I think the "best" friend designation can only cause trouble and would avoid it. I also think I would want to know if my behavior annoyed someone and if they had different interests.

    lyfia thanked mtnrdredux_gw
  • Oakley
    11 days ago

    "Her friend is not her ex-friend and good for her friend is all I can say and I hope she sticks to it as my daughter deserves it."

    I'll read the replies later, I gotta run off but the above floored me. No one, especially a child, deserves not to be forgiven and rebuild a friendship. She messed up, now she can try to put the pieces back together. That doesn't mean they have to be BFF's, but at least keep in touch with each other by texting or something a couple of times a week.

    It was just last year before Covid when I told my then 9 yr old GD who also has a best friend since Kindergarten, to never deny a friendship, no matter what they look like, how they dress or the house they live in because friends are hard to find once you get older. She got my drift. Wish my mom had told me that.

    The kids I turned my nose up to in school for whatever reason, we are now close because of FB and often talk about "why weren't we friends in high school? We love the same things!"

    It's your daughter's ex-BFF who needs the lecture right now. :)

    lyfia thanked Oakley
  • lyfia
    Original Author
    11 days ago

    @Oakley my daughter knew better and I disagree and don't feel that her friend has to forgive her if she doesn't want to and certainly should not be forced to and I think standing up for ones self does not need a lecture. If she changes her mind that is great, but frankly my daughter did something that to some is unforgivable and it certainly erodes trust in a friendship. I always tell my daughter the same things you told your granddaughter, but I also say that it is ok to not be friends with someone if she doesn't want to, but that she should still be kind. Sometimes ending a friendship means standing up for what you believe in and that is different from person to person of what that is and if they want to forgive they are free to forgive. If a person I was close to did what my daughter did I would just distance myself as I don't need that drama in my life and yes the friendship would not be the same and I would just move on to the it's someone I know, but not a friend.


  • Oakley
    11 days ago

    It's because of her very young age I think it's cruel punishment. She feels bad, and good for her because I'm sure she'll think twice the next time. If she was old enough to be our friends, drop her sorry you know what. :)

    Seriously, it's her ex-friend who needs to be taught how to respond to this situation..because of her age. If your DD's ex is going no contact on her at this young age, that's emotional abuse & could silently be eating her up. She doesn't deserve it because did apologize and mean it.


    I'm the type of person who can easily forgive someone who hurts me & feels bad afterwards, and gives me a sincere apology.

    lyfia thanked Oakley
  • localeater
    11 days ago

    It is ok to end a friendship. There is not necessarily a need for forgiveness for ending friendship. In lyfia’s situation, family rules said apologize you were unkind, but nobody said the friendship needs to be rebuilt. Probably, the young woman need to peacefully coexist, but that’s not friendship.

    I’ve ended friendships. One example that still hurts a bit, is two sweet woman I worked with for many years. Their jobs were terminated but mine continued, when projects came up where they could fill the need I went out of my way, to recommended them. We were pregnant together, we nursed babies together, our children played together. We regularly met up for a girls night out 1x every 4 -6 weeks. One girls night out, I was overwhelmed, I explained, I am working, my 3 year old was just diagnosed with 2 auto immune diseases, I am just hanging on. I really love these nights out and I need them but the responsibility to organize is to much, I need one of you to own setting up next month. Next month never happened and I am still hurt, we do still exchange Christmas cards and occasional communications but I learned a lesson.

    lyfia thanked localeater
  • deeinohio
    11 days ago
    last modified: 11 days ago

    The tween years are about learning more about yourself and what you like. Unfortunately, that sometimes means the friendships made as a 5 year old kindergartner don’t ‘fit” the 13 year old: maybe one likes playing sports, one likes drama, one likes the orchestra,, one likes the other sex a bit too much. We adults have friends at different phases of our lives, too. DH and I had other single couple friends we enjoyed when we were newlyweds, but one by one, they began having children and breaking off and disappearing. Then, as we ourselves had children, we had friends we would see at sporting events or school events. We moved on until now when our friends are probably those we will have the rest of our lives. We are like-minded (or just avoid those difficult topics), we have the same general life principles, we enjoy each other’s company. But, at no time did we force ourselves to stay in a friendship which no longer served us. It just happens organically. No meanness involved. That is really the only lesson your daughter needs to learn, and you have done that. Her friend no longer “fits”. and that’s ok. I think she was trying out her rejection of her former BFF with her other friends, much as an unhappily married person starts throwing out hints of leaving their spouse before they actually do, just to try it on.

    lyfia thanked deeinohio
  • lyfia
    Original Author
    10 days ago

    @localeater we did what you suggested and it worked out great as she said it was helpful as she doesn't think out these things so quickly so having to do it under a time limit was good practice. We did agree though that she would stay away from talking about a BFF as others could feel slighted as she said she would likely feel that way too.


    She's a bit shy and somewhat of an introvert, but also tends to really latch on to her friendships. She is sad over how it worked out, but also says she is fine with it and that she would likely have done the same thing.


    I don't see how it can be emotional abuse from her friend. It's not like her friend is rubbing it in her face or anything or telling everyone at school or ... she just made a choice for her self and don't feel having a friend who talks behind her back.


    My daughter has learned there are consequences and she is doing her best to deal with it. I feel sad for her, but she also learned a lot from this experience.

  • localeater
    10 days ago

    @lyfia I am so glad that helped. My kids always found that strategy helpful too, and to be honest I use it with young people I mentor at work to.

    Another thing your family may enjoy as you navigate the tween years are table topic cards, grab a card at dinner to facilitate conversation and delve into new territory. This is one I think we may have https://bestself.co/products/little-talk-deck?variant=31048681619525&currency=USD&utm_medium=product_sync&utm_source=google&utm_content=sag_organic&utm_campaign=sag_organic&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=9932780063&utm_content=104215617761&utm_term=&gclid=Cj0KCQiAj9iBBhCJARIsAE9qRtDRRux30EDemiTnzzULySfEpdcBkkRePbufKTxOmzpcJVR5aPdlR6waAhStEALw_wcB

    As a family, we also always played “ Fortunately, Unfortunately”. We could get very outrageous, but it encourages quick thinking for how to “Twist” a situation. It’s a story telling game. Each person takes a turn, turns alternate Fortunaly and Unfortunately.

    Ex. Fortunately I made a new friend today. Unfortunately my new friend is a bully. Fortunately, I told my teacher. Unfortunately, the bully is my teachers daughter. When hiking or camping or on car trips our tales could go on forever, typicall dragons, witches would eventually make an appearance. Lots of Harry Potter in my children’s lives.

    I think Fortunately,‘s origins are a children’s book by Remy Charlip but for us it became part of life.

    lyfia thanked localeater
  • l pinkmountain
    10 days ago

    Different people use the word "friend" differently, so a lot of this is semantics. I tend to extend "friend" much more broadly than my husband, who has zero people he considers friends. But the lesson is what is necessary to be successful in group situations--manners and civility, which seem to be on the wane in today's society, but I don't think that is a good thing or something I would want my kid to emulate. I have this argument with my husband all the time, knowing what is and is not appropriate to say in group settings. I grew up in a small town, I learned early on to avoid gossip and trash talking anyone, ever. You never know you might be speaking to their cousin or brother-in-law!! :) My grandmother survived in her tiny village in Poland during World War I because she could get along with all sides in the conflict and smuggle resources into her town to keep people alive . . .Hence I grew up with an emphasis of not making enemies although also was taught to have principles and to stand up for them . . . just do so in a way as to not alienate those around me . . . easier said than done . . .

    Look at all the people who are suffering because of snarky things they have said publicly. I am in the camp that says best to err on the side of civility which is not the same thing as agreeing or supporting things that clash with your values. It's just a matter of knowing how to chose your battles. A good life would not be a constant battle ground, but it is for some people. I would definitely want my child to learn to find some ways to develop inner strength/peace/serenity or whatever the right word is. It's a life long struggle. My Mom's mantra was the "Serenity Prayer." But of course no matter how many times we discussed this concept, it never totally went away because that's life. However, my mother was quite successful professionally because she learned to overlook certain things and just keep moving forward, not get bogged down by drama.

    As a teacher and person who gives public program and raises money, I had to learn to never, ever speak ill of anyone, it just isn't worth it, life is long, people and circumstances change, one never knows. On the one hand. But on the other hand, if the hitting bothered your daughter and she asked her friend to stop and she didn't, they you daughter has every right to distance herself from that behavior. I would just advise your daughter not to rush to put people in the "friend/not friend" category. Just treat all people with dignity but also you can detach from the drama that troubled people might bring into your life. This is not the strong suit of a teenager, but a good skill to develop. Otherwise, your life could be much more stressful if you don't learn techniques for tamping down interpersonal drama in your life.

    One has to be able to do what my Mom advised, not make other people's problems your own. You have to be able to be in this world, experience the drama, but not get pulled into it. A good technique is to focus on projects and actions, not personalities. A tough balancing act, one that teenagers have to learn to navigate and it can be tough even for adults. Trust is tricky. There's a whole other dynamic too, being liked vs being a doormat vs being mean and unlike-able. It's just a balancing act we all have to perform . . . Detachment has not been my strong suit, and I've often wondered if it is possible to develop more of it or if it is just in your genes . . . vs passion . . . and then when to hold it and when to play it ???

    lyfia thanked l pinkmountain
  • runninginplace
    10 days ago
    last modified: 10 days ago

    Ah, raising adolescent girls...definitely not for the faint of heart.

    When mine was that age I had the great good fortune that after some startling behavior changes I took her to a family counselor. Daughter refused to go back after one session, so I saw the counselor on my own and she really saved my parenting life!

    One of the things she taught me was to recognize that as our children grow up, our relationship to them must change. We as mothers cannot, will not and SHOULD not be present to monitor, guide, and direct how they behave in the world. The reality is that like any other, the independence muscle has to be worked to get stronger.

    What we are responsible for is to create an inner 'box' for our daughters, boundaries they know are set and not to be crossed when they are away from us. And that was such a huge and vital concept for me to understand!

    Put another way my daughter needed to know what the consequences would be for her to do X when she had been clearly informed that X wasn't acceptable. So if someone asked her to hop in his car for an after school ride (for example) and the family rule is no riding around with boys in the car....daughter had to have her box pop right up in her own mind so she knew very clearly what was at stake if she decided not to obey the rules.

    What this also taught me was that as my daughter grew up and got better at that, I needed to be stepping back. Lyfia, I don't know you or how you relate to your girl so this isn't personal. I do know it's awfully easy to get very enmeshed in the details and the who-what-when-why of their interactions with their peers. I had a HARD time letting go.

    But it's so important to do it, because in the long run it doesn't serve them well to keep them emotionally and behaviorally yoked to mom, looking to us for how they should manage their life.

    They need to gain the confidence of a strong young woman--and as their mothers that means we build the box, make sure they know the boundaries and what happens if they choose to ignore them. Enforce consequences. And enjoy seeing them eventually create their own boxes to run their own lives.

    Good luck, it's never easy but it's certainly the most important job we ever do as parents.


    ETA: my daughter is now 29 YO and I still ask her 'do you want my advice or am I just listening?'. And she will tell me! I can't overstate how connected it makes me feel that she still does want to share much of her inner emotional life with me.

    lyfia thanked runninginplace
  • nini804
    10 days ago

    @lyfia I think you did exactly what I would’ve done. My dd (just turned 18😳) has always been a bit obtuse about her friendships. She is extraordinarily social and fun-loving...but since she herself doesn’t get her feelings easily hurt...she has a hard time understanding when her friends are a bit clingy or sensitive. I always take the other kid’s side bc I cannot relate to the way dd manages relationships, lol. She’s not at all purposely mean or insensitive...but she does need to understand that many girls (most?) are a bit more sensitive than she is. I was a sensitive girl myself so I get it.


    As she has gotten older, I think she is getting better at this. She also has become adept at kindly turning down outings and such if she isn‘t really into it. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that she’s had a several boyfriends since she turned 16 and that tends to give a lot of experience managing other people’s feelings. So, given time and your continued guidance...your dd will sort this all out in good time. And I agree with you...the other child really doesn’t owe your dd another chance. This lesson is truly valuable.

    lyfia thanked nini804
  • lyfia
    Original Author
    9 days ago

    Thank you everyone! Insightful and interesting to read as this is not a thing I've had to deal with before.


    Runninginplace you really made me feel better about things and I'm so glad you posted what your counselor said as I've worried I've not been involved enough because I've taken the approach that she needs to learn how to navigate life and I'm not doing it for her. We have rules and I will enforce our rules when she breaks them and I will also provide guidance and we also discuss the "whys/hows" if needed. However, so many of her friends parents are way more into doing things for their children that it has made me doubt myself that I should do more for her even though it is not in my personality to do so.


    localeater - we used to do a best/worst game that I started when she was young because she never told us anything about her day. We'd each say what was best and worst about our day, but haven't done it in a long time as she now talks about things on her own and asks us stuff too. Although it didn't continue beyond one thing. We'll see how things unfolds once she moves into the teen years.


    I got involved because she talked to me about it and she broke one of our rules which is to apologize when you hurt another person and do something wrong. She asked me what to say instead of what she did to the BFF question and my answers did not satisfy her - she said they were too grown-up. Having never dealt with this in my life with the BFF thing I decided to ask here as I've learned the collective wisdom of this group is awesome even if one doesn't agree with what is being said and you all came through as I knew you would.



  • pricklypearcactus
    9 days ago

    I'm no parent or expert, but I personally believe labels like "best friend" or "BFF" only serve to hurt others. If anyone would ask me who my "best friend" is, I would simply reply that I have a few very close friends and could not imagine ranking them. To me that's reasonable for an adult, tween, or teen. There is no universal requirement that one person is a "best" friend and the others are less.

  • mtnrdredux_gw
    9 days ago

    Exactly, why would you rank friends?

  • olychick
    9 days ago

    Maybe we need to encourage a new term, Close Friend Forever: CFF

  • l pinkmountain
    8 days ago

    Ranking of friends, who is your best friend, what do you think of so and so . . . all minefield conversation topics that need to be navigated OUT OF by wise people. I had to learn that. I had to learn how to recognize when a conversation was veering into troublesome waters, and how to navigate out of it. I'm not sure I learned this until after college. I started working with peace education, consensus and also counseling workshops that delved into the power of words and communication techniques. I think I would have greatly benefited from delving into the topic at an earlier age . . .

    They actually have educational materials and Web sites devoted to this topic now . . . https://kidshelpline.com.au/teens/issues/being-assertive-and-setting-boundaries