How do you guys help your girls deal with the drama? In general, Em stays mostly away from it. I see how other girls dismiss her with a half-hearted hello when she greets them out in public. But she seems to mostly care less about that. She’ll still happily greet them the next time she seems them with a smile and a hello and then go on about her business. She tends to make few best friends, but not so many of the more casual friends. She’s friendly to most kids, but not overly so. She’s had two best friends since 1st grade and that’s who she almost always hangs out with. In second grade, another girl was added to their group and Em considers her a good friend, but not a best friend. (Evidently the distinction is important.) At the end of this past year and this summer, she’s added another girl that she considers one of her best friends. This year in her class, she’s got the newest best friend and the good friend. Her other two best friends are in two separate classes. Both of those girls live in our neighborhood. So close, that we all share the same bus stop, in fact. They’ve had arguments and such over the years, but it’s never been anything major. Em does a lot with one of the girls. Her mom is totally open to spur of the moment play dates and such and is very receptive to planning them too, as well as meeting up to do other things, like zoo visits and the like. With this girl, if she and Em have an argument, they get upset, but the next time they see each other, it’s forgotten and they’re best friends again.
Then, there’s the other girl. This girl is more well-rounded in her friendships. She’s good friends with a lot of other girls. She tends to rotate around with them at recess, playing with different people every day. (There’s totally no complaint on that…I think that’s a great thing.) I don’t know if she considers Em one of her best friends or not, but I tend to think that most of the time she does not. Her mom says that she’s just very sensitive. She gets her feelings hurt all the time over tiny things. Sometimes, it’s her own making. One day she got mad at Em when the girl demanded that Em pick her BEST friend between them and got mad at her when Em wouldn’t pick. She gets mad at Em because she has lots more playdates and sleepovers with her other best friend. In fact, it’s not Em’s fault in the least, but the girl’s mom. She’ll tell me that she doesn’t think they should have sleepovers at that age and that they don’t like to do playdates during the week when she then posts pics on her FB of her kid at sleepovers and has other kids getting off the bus with her during the week for playdates. It’s obvious that for some reason she just doesn’t want her kid to have playdates with MY daughter. When they do have playdates and sleepovers, it’s almost always at our house. I can count on one hand the number of times Em has gone over to their house for something. Until this summer, our invitations for things were almost always accepted, but rarely reciprocated. This summer, the girl got mad at Em because Em had brought a friend to the pool. The friend was feeling a bit left out, so she and Em stepped back and decided to play by themselves for the 30 or so minutes until the girl’s mom showed up. The mad girl was furious and refused to talk to Em, saying that she never got to spend much time with her and it wasn’t fair. Keep in mind that we all live in the same neighborhood and there’s ample time to play together at the pool. The next time they were together at the pool, they all played very well. A few weeks later, I texted the mom, asking if the girl could sleepover some time that week and she said that the girls had been arguing too much and that they needed some time apart. Then, when we saw them at the pool, the girl ignored Em and the mom ignored me. It wasn’t until we went after open house and we were the only ones at the pool when they arrived that the mom talked to me and the girl played with Em.
Then we get to yesterday. At the bus stop, all three girls were standing around, talking with no problems. When they got off the bus, Em’s other friend came over for a spur-of-the-moment playdate. While they were having a snack, Em told me that the other girl told her that she didn’t want to be her friend any more. Can I tell you how many times I’ve heard that? Em said the girl said that Em was being mean to her, but refused repeatedly to tell Em what she did to be mean to her. She also refused to listen to her apologize over and over again for something she didn’t even know what she did.
I KNOW girls are going to have this bullshit drama. I remember it. It sucks. It sucks hard. But even remembering all that, it’s so hard when it’s your daughter going through it! I just want to hug her. (And I do, of course.) We talked before bed last night and I asked if she just wanted to tell me about it or if she wanted advice. She said she wanted advice. I reminded her that this girl does this ALL the time. I told her that she had two main options. She could keep trying with her or she could give up. Em said she thinks she should give up. We then talked about what exactly that meant. I told her that it didn’t mean that you started being ugly to her, or talking about her behind her back, or even flat out ignoring her. I told her to still be nice and friendly, but not to invest so much energy in the girl. If the girl decides she wants to be friends again, Em’s going to have to decide what to do and if she wants to accept her again. I’m sure that will happen. This girl seems to seriously thrive on drama. Her mom is very much that way too, so it’s easy to see where it comes from. I just feel so bad for Em with this yoyo friendship. I always encourage Em to try to make some new friends and continue to build her old friendships. She’s got this good friend in her class this year and maybe she can work on that friendship. She also has 4 new kids in her class this year and 3 of them are girls. New kids are perfect to try and build friendships with because they undoubtedly feel a little out of place since everyone else already knows each other.
Oh, this morning, we were early to the bus stop. The mad girl gets out of her car and says hello to Em, then goes to the back of the line. I don’t know. I’d love if Em dropped this best friend thing with this girl, but I’m afraid that won’t happen. It’s all her and her decision, but it hurts my heart so much to see her hurt over and over again because of one little girl’s drama. Bah.