Why Can’t We Be Friends?

My daughter is a pre-teen and even though puberty is a little ways off, the hormones have kicked in!

I hear of the drama plaguing her and her friends from time to time and have flashbacks to that period of my own life.

In my case, I vividly remember the upper elementary years because the girls in my class dealt with the same drama. Jamie and Maggie were telling secrets and pointing at me today. Jamie told Maggie not to talk or play with me. Jamie and Maggie said I was bad at sports. We fought like cats and dogs and I even remember instances where it affected our school work and we were pulled into the hallway for a talking to. There were about three years there where it was just awful. And then after all the drama and tears, the next day we would all be best friends again!

Things change but they also stay the same. When my daughter talks to me about her friends, sometimes I want to step in and facilitate. I also know my daughter probably fans the flames and starts her own share of drama, so I tend to try to stay out of all of it!

They’re just learning  how to be friends and get along. Unfortunately, this comes at the expense of hurt feelings. They’re learning important social skills and hopefully in the end will come out more compassionate than they are right now!

I don’t want to burst her bubble, but unfortunately this drama doesn’t always resolve itself in grade school. There’s a lot of exclusion, gossiping and bad mouthing that continues into adulthood. We as adults tend to get sneakier about it.

All of this seems to get magnified by social media. I see it in my own life that my newsfeed fills up with outings I wasn’t invited on and inside jokes I don’t understand. It sometimes feels a little bit like elementary and high school again. I’m not looking forward to parenting my way through a social media infused world. I don’t have much experience with that as we didn’t have social media throwing a wrench into our late elementary, middle school and high school relationships. The closest we got was MSN Messenger. Listen to how old I sound! “Back in the good old days….”

I sat in on a D.A.R.E. graduation the other day and the guest speaker was the county’s states’ attorney. He told the elementary schoolers to make good choices about posting online because the juvenile cases the come across his desk typically have a social media connection. I also had a conversation with our school superintendent about social media recently and he also confirmed he spends a lot of time regulating fights that started online.

Ugh, maybe social media will phase out by the time she’s a teenager! Based on how things are right now, I can’t even imagine what junior high and high school are going to look like! In my own experience, people tend to be braver and meaner behind the keyboard.

The superintendent had a good tidbit the other day though that I appreciated. He said if you aren’t brave enough to say it to the other person’s face, you probably shouldn’t post it on social media. Let’s go with that. I think it my daughter and her friends applied that even in their situation, it would help things. If they’re not willing to sit down and have a real conversation with the person they’re talking ABOUT, maybe they just shouldn’t say it. Some adults have a hard time grasping this concept, just check out ANY single post about politics.

At any rate, what I tell my daughter every time is she just needs to be kind and pray for them. Every time. She doesn’t receive this advice all that well because it doesn’t feel good to pray for people you aren’t getting along with but sometimes we don’t know what God is using the situation for. Prayers for patience and understanding have never been at the top of my list but He has shown to know what He’s doing in many situations!

After the drama that began earlier this week, I’m happy to report they’re all best friends again. I smiled and received that news but thought to myself “for now…” Hopefully these girls mature much faster than the girls in my grade did “back in the good old days…”

I’ll end with I think there’s a reason God only gave me one girl!! 🙂