Navigating Tweendom is never easy especially for girls. When I was growing up, girls were “dropped” for no reason, left to find new friends to sit with at lunch, in the playground and at the mall. Gossiping and talking behind someone’s back were the norm and then there was all that stuff related to changing bodies, hormones and a general sense of awkwardness. Apparently times haven’t changed. The perils of middle school, friendships and all that goes along with going from kid to teen continues to plague girls everywhere. Fortunately, Annie Fox is here to offer some relief. Fox is a bestseller author, educator and interactive designer. I had the great pleasure of working with Annie at LeapFrog Toys back in the day when Leapfrog was just a simple start up and I was a simple newlywed. 12 years later, I am still a huge fan of Annie’s and am thrilled to share her latest book with all of you. Her new Book, The Girls Q & A on Friendship is designed to give 8-12 year old girls real life, applicable advice to help them skip the drama and fix friendships. I recently had the opportunity to talk with Annie and ask her some burning questions from the girls in my life….
M: I am in 5th grade and my best friend since 1st grade is now hanging out with a new girl who moved to our school this year. They often don’t include me. What should I do to get my BFF back?
Annie: It can be upsetting when someone you were so close to now acts like the friendship isn’t very important. It can be disappointing and confusing when a friend doesn’t treat you with the care and respect you deserve. It can also hurt when someone “new” shows up and seems to be taking your place in your friend’s heart. You seem to think that you can do something to get your BFF “back.”
Maybe if you had a magic wand with a handy spell you might be able to turn the friendship into way it was. You don’t need me to tell you that there are no such things as wands and spells. Your friend has her own thoughts and feelings and there is nothing you can do to get her to “include” you unless she chooses to do it! But even without a magic wand, you are not powerless. There are always options for improving a situation. Right now you are hurting. You may also be feeling jealous (of the new girl) and/or lonely. If your goal is to feel better, then you could talk to your friend (privately and calmly… you don’t need an audience or any drama). You might say something like this, “I really miss hanging out with you. I miss the good times we used to have. I feel left out when you and _____ do stuff without me.” That’s the truth and it is often empowering to speak the truth. Saying the words will give your friend something to think about. If things between you two girls change for the better, then it was a good thing that you spoke up for yourself. If things between you do not change and the girls continue not including you, then it was still a good thing that you spoke up. Now you now that you deserve to be treated with respect. Take what you’ve learned and be on the look-out for new friends. Good luck!
T: I am in 7th grade. All my friends are “going out” with someone but me. What can I do to get a guy to ask me out?
Annie: In 7th grade, in some schools, some people start “going out.” Maybe it’s true for “all” your friends. But, for sure, that’s not what’s true for all the 7th graders in your school! I won’t lie. Having someone you like crushing on you is exciting. When all of this excitement seems to be happening to everyone else, it’s understandable that you might feel left out and a little bit sorry for yourself. If you pay close attention, though, you will notice that most 7th graders who are “going out” seem to break up with each other after a very short time (3 weeks is about average.) Then what happens? Someone is hurt and in another couple of weeks, they get over the hurt and start “going out” with someone else. For the most part, these on-again/off-again crushes don’t mean a whole lot. They are “practice” for when you get older and are more ready to have a relationship based on mutual love and respect. A crush is not something you can plan for. Neither is love. You ask “What can I do to get a guy to ask me out?” I’m not a huge fan of playing games to “get a guy” to do anything! If you pretend to be someone you’re not just to get someone to like you, then you have played a trick on them. That’s not the way to start a relationship. My best advice: Stop trying to get someone to ask you out. Quit that game altogether. Instead, start enjoying being a “single lady.” Spend more time with friends who are not “going out.” Be yourself and be friends with boys, nice and easy, no pressure for going out. Sometimes friendship grow into something more. Remember the word “friend” is in the words “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” for a good reason.
B: I am in 4th grade, I went to a slumber party and found out 3 girls have already kissed boys. I feel upset and I don’t know why. What’s wrong with me?
Annie: Fourth grade is waaaay too young to be kissing boys. You already know that! You just forgot when you heard these three girls bragging at the slumber party. I’m not so sure they were even telling the truth. In fact, they may have just been trying to impress each other with made up stories. (“My boyfriend…. Blah, blah…blah.” “We kissed… blah…blah…blah.”) They may also have been making up stories to try to make you feel bad about yourself. (Not very nice at all!) Please stop re-playing their silly words over and over again in your head. When you do that, you are making yourself feel bad. Be a better friend to yourself. There is nothing “wrong” with you. In fact, there is so much that is “right” with you, this blog wouldn’t be long enough to describe all the things that make you awesome. If these girls continue talking so much about boys, it would be a good idea for you to find some new friends.
J: My best friend just blabbed to 3 other girls that I already go my period. I feel humiliated what should I do?
Annie: If you specifically told your friend not to tell anyone about your period, then she owes an apology. If you didn’t specifically tell her not to “blab” then she didn’t know she was doing anything wrong. Either way, you’re upset. If you haven’t already talked to her, please do… ASAP. You might say something like this, “When I told you about my period you promised you wouldn’t tell anyone. But you did! I’m upset!” Then close your mouth and listen to what she has to say. Hopefully she will apologize and she will start being more trust-worthy. If she doesn’t apologize (or if she gives you a “fake” apology (“Sorreeee.”) then it would make sense not to trust her with your secrets any more. One more thing, about your period… congratulations for having reached this point in your life. You’re not a little girl any more and that’s cool. Seriously! I guarantee that your friend and the girls she told all wish they had their period too. Ever girl’s body is different. Every girl grows at her own rate, but all girls will get their period eventually. You just got there before your friends. Nothing to be “humiliated” about. Not at all. Be proud of being a young woman.
See why I love Annie? For more information about Annie and her fabulous books visit Anniefox.com.