Starting in about the 3rd or 4th grade, girls begin to notice that their friendship groups start to change. Good friends from kindergarden start hanging out more with other people, and they experience a tremendous sense of loss. This really ramps up in middle and high school, and is the source of much of the dramas that play out among girls.
One idea I give girls involves making a list of the qualities of a really good, loyal friend. How does she treat you and other people? What kind of character and values does this ideal friend embody? This is your list, and so take some time in creating it.
Once they have their list, I encourage girls to do 3 things with it. First, check in with themselves and see how well they line up with these qualities. If you want a friend who doesn’t gossip, and you gossip a lot, them you are probably going to attract people of the same mold. Live out the list first and foremost!
Secondly, compare your present group of friends with the list. How well do they stack up? Many girls at my camps are surprised at how little these people live out the qualities they so want in a friend. They also become aware of how much crap they have been putting up with and apologizing for. It’s a real eye opener.
Lastly, I encourage the girls to go through the school buzz book and see everyone with new eyes. See them through the lens of their BFF qualities list. Many girls have written people off because of superficial judgments or because on the surface they don’t seem to have much in common with you, despite the fact that you’ve never really talked to them.
Look for people whom you have seen act the way you want your friends to act. Who on the roster is someone you have noticed never gossips or talks about people behind their backs? Who have you noticed has their friends backs, and stands up for them? Who is in alignment with your list?
Those might be the people to call this summer and get to know better. They may not be the girls in the popular group who always get the most attention and notoriety; they might be more quiet, or on the periphery. But with your new lens’s on, those kind of things don’t matter so much anymore. You become more open and less judgmental.
Spend time this summer with people who treat their friends the way you want to be treated. And you will then start the new school year in august on a much healthier and happier roll.
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