"So-called friend"

(85 Posts)
SanityClause Wed 02-Oct-13 11:59:15

DD2 is 12, in year 8.

There is a girl in her class who she was good friends with from year 3. They would sometimes fall out, then make up friends, as people do.

However, particularly since they have been in the senior school, things have become quite unpleasant between them.

The girl (X) began to ignore DD, for no apparent reason, for weeks at a time. While this was happening, she would also encourage others in the friendship group to ignore DD.

After a while, she would decide to be friends. She would give her reasons for the falling out to be things like "I'm sorry, I was in a bad mood, and I took it out on you." or "I called you in the corridor, but you didn't answer, so I thought you were ignoring me" (DD had not heard her call.) At first DD was happy to make friends with her, but she soon got tired of the cycle, and stopped wanting to be friends with her. Then X would involve all their other friends and DD would feel very pressurised into making up, only to be subject to the same silent treatment a few weeks later.

As DD became more resolute in not wanting to make up friends again, X started to involve the rest of the class in pressurising DD to be friends with her. At least once, she had the form teacher involved in "peacemaking". (The next time it happened, I emailed the teacher to ask her, politely, to stay out of it, on DD's request.)

X makes things very difficult for DD, when she is ignoring her. She will say nasty things about her to other friends. If DD is chatting to someone, X will call them away, to speak to them "urgently".

It seems like, not content to ostrasize DD herself, she wants to encourage the rest of the girls to do so.

Recently, she has really ramped up the situation, trying to get DD in to trouble. In one practical lesson, DD and her partner were next to X and her partner. They were a bit rowdy, and X told the teacher, who (rightly) told them off. But a couple of days later, X told the teacher that it had happened again, which was untrue. (DD had to go to the teacher to explain - luckily she was believed.)


A couple of days ago, X's mother rang me to say that X had come out of school in tears, because DD had spread a rumour about her. I questioned DD, and she told me that she and three other girls had been joking between the four of them, that one of the four had had sex with X (a silly schoolgirl joke, although, I agree not fair to joke about X who wasn't there - I have spoken to DD about this).

Somehow, the joke spread beyond the four of them. DD did not spread it, and I think possibly it was overheard by someone else, who spread it as a rumour. The rumour was spread over the course of the afternoon, but no one spoke about it at all the following day. So, X had a very unpleasant afternoon.

DD sent a text to X apologising profusely about her part in the situation. X replied to the text demanding that DD go round to tell everyone she had spread the rumour to that it was not true. In fact, DD had not spread the rumour, so had no one to tell. And in any case, as DD pointed out, that would only dredge it up again, and be worse for X.

X has blamed only DD and does not apportion any blame to the other girls in the four. Further, she has told others (including one of the group of four "jokers") that DD's apology is not a proper apology.

So it seems to me that she is now using this as just one further thing to get at DD.

X's mother does not believe DD's version of events, even though X was not there at the time, and therefore could not have known how the rumour started. She was very upset and apalled at the nature of the joking. (Perhaps that was coloured by the fact that it had caused the horrible rumour though, rather than actually being offended by it, though, because I thought the joke quite tame, although not really amusing.)

So, my concern is this. That X will continue to try to ostracize DD from her friends, and make her school life very difficult. DD is low down the social pecking order in the class, anyway, and can't afford to lose friends, as she would find it hard to make new ones.

Should I speak to the school, or is it all too nebulous?

mumslife Mon 07-Oct-13 20:02:16

Sanity. Yes thats why my daughter loves grammar surrounded by her own kind lol! All she keeps saying is everone is so nice lol. Didnt send her at eleven as no way would she have passed her eleven plus. Come on and on through sheer hard work and determination. Always knew she would love it
Hope things soon improve for your daughter i know what its like ive been through it. These girls that were her supposed friends had her believing in the end she was a horrible person no one liked her no one wanted to be friends even had her convinced she was being mean by twisting what she has said that was nice into something that sounded mean. My daughtet was gullible doormat too nice for hsr on good but is a fab friend and has absolutely loads of friends now so just goes to show how wrong these manipulative nasty girls were. Basically easy week target and thats what they homed in on she was fat she looked like a rat she said this done that etc etc ironically two of the girls were farbigger than her not the least bit fat
She is still friends to this day with the girls she made friends with half way through year eight and they dont even go to the same school now all coming up for seventeen
Feel for you as a parent i know how worrying it can be

SanityClause Sun 06-Oct-13 19:13:01

Oh, Agent, it's a nightmare, isn't it.

All the nastiness for no apparent reason, then wanting to make up. When DD got tired of the cycle, X got others involved, including the form teacher, to put pressure on her to do so.

I'm hoping that now its out in the open, X will realise others are on to her, and she can't get away with it any more. It will be zero tolerance as far as I am concerned, now, anyway.

Thanks, mumslife for your perspective. I was bullied at school, but the "heavies" were allowed to leave at 14 back then (different country). So, things improved a lot in year 11 for me. Although DD's bully isn't a "heavy", so it's a bit different.

I have to say, that despite this one "best friend" being such a cow, this last incident has made me realise that DD does have lots of lovely friends, albeit not all in the same class at school. So, I think she'll be fine.

My elder DD is at a grammar - they are all geeks there! wink

mumslife Sun 06-Oct-13 18:45:07

If things dont settle down there is always an option for one of them to swap forms i presume. ? For what its worth my daughter was bullied at that age completely unprovoked in my opinion just some bitchy nasty girle. Found a group of like minded friends through choir drama club etc all in different forms but gradually they were split according to aability and these girls were not particularly bright and not in her form. For what its worth it wasnt an issue in years ten and eleven as whole school mixed together ans suddenly a large group of fifteen of them hang around together all nice bright non bitchy hard working girls. Dd very happy and as she took qquite academic subjects for options she didnt mix with them. Now at sixth form changed to a grammar lovely all the geeky clubs book club harry potter club philosophy etc b
No one is mean to her talks to everyone has blossomed like you wont believe. Now she is nearly seventeen
Hang on in there it gets better and better from mid year nine onwoods. Good luck

AgentZigzag Sun 06-Oct-13 17:49:30

Sorry your DD's having to go through this Sanity, my DD's the same age and in a similar situation.

It hasn't escalated to the level it has with your poor DD, but her friend randomly goes off on one at the drop of a hat. They're both on facebook and she regularly sends nasty spiteful PM's and then apologises the next day. (and it being on fb I think is quite good in this instance because I can see what's been said and that DD didn't do anything to provoke it. I'm quite surprised pleased DD responds in a 'please don't swear at me there's just no need' way instead of laying into her back, which is what I probably wouldn't have done at 13)

DD says the girl hasn't got many friends because they won't put up with it, but that doesn't stop her trying to put people off going near DD.

They're not talking at the minute, DD's confused because she doesn't want to be a door mat punch bag, but this girl does apologise and DD accepts her how she is to a certain extent.

I had to have a word with the school when DD started there last year (girls she was with from primary giving her jip) and they were really good. Got onto it really quickly and the girls backed off. They're much better than they were in my day, which is reassuring.

Hope they sort it for your DD, they'll be a university etc before you know it grin

QueenoftheSarf Sat 05-Oct-13 23:43:16

Sorry you found my post patronising Sanity. I didn't mean it to come across like that.

However, this sort of behaviour is extremely common among girls of this age and has been since time immemorial and as a mother one thing is certain, whether you care to acknowledge it or not, you won't get the absolute truth out of your DD about what's gone on and nor will the other mother out of hers.

Mark my words though, (if that doesn't sound too patronising) your DD and this other girl will be friends again before they finish school. I know because this sort of major falling out happened to me at a similar age and it seemed like the world had come to an end at the time. My mum went through a lot at the time too with me insisting I wanted to change schools, not wanting to go to school on a daily basis over a period of months etc . However, it did blow over eventually after much heartache and myself and my friends found our way back together and were just as much firm friends as before. So there is light at the end of the tunnel I can assure you. It's just what teenage girls seem to do unfortunately. They can be extremely fickle too.

Good luck.

SanityClause Sat 05-Oct-13 23:23:40

Umm, Queen, read the thread?

1) I have gone to the school about is.
2) I realise I cannot look at this entirely objectively, but will say that most of the people on the thread, and in particular the teachers, have recognised the kind of behaviours exhibited by X.
3) I have said, in my most recent post, as well as further up the thread that I am happy to accept that DD may be partly to blame, and if so, I am sure that the school will deal with her behaviour, accordingly (and with my support, obv.)
4) Not being entirely without perception, I do realise that X's mother will be more concerned for her daughter than mine.

Please don't patronise me.

QueenoftheSarf Sat 05-Oct-13 23:04:51

SanityClause of course you care for your DD and are only interested in her wellbeing and happiness, that's entirely understandable and completely natural. However, be aware that "X's" mother feels just the same as you do. I think that fact is preventing both of you from looking at things objectively in the way that the rest of us here can.

In all probability this is a case of six of one and half a dozen of the other. Teachers are the experts in dealing with these sorts of situations on an almost daily basis for donkeys years. I should imagine there's very little they haven't seen before. Leave it in their expert hands to resolve. They can be dispassionate and objective in a way that you can't and that's what a situation like this needs.

Girls at this age can be a complete nightmare for falling out and back in again at the drop of a hat with all the drama that goes along with it. This may sound flippant but give it six months (quite possibly less) and they'll probably be BFFs again.

SanityClause Sat 05-Oct-13 22:22:01

See, the thing is, Driz and Oblomov, I don't actually care all that much about X. I care a lot about DD, however. And if she is being as horrid to X as X is to her, I fervently hope that it's found out, and that the school deals with it, because I don't want DD to grow up to be the kind of person who talks about others behind their back and spreads malicious rumours.

Frankly, I think she has learnt her lesson about talking about others behind their backs from this incident, which is actually a good thing.

Thank you for your insight, FunnyRunner. Your comments are similar to others who have identified as teachers on the thread, which makes me think 1) This kind of thing is much more common than I thought, and 2) our daughters appear to be in good hands!

FunnyRunner Sat 05-Oct-13 22:03:32

Oblomov I completely disagree with you. If you read the exact description of the joke you can see it is just pure silliness. It's an excuse for X to be a little cow, where normally she just invents excuses.

OP I'm a teacher and I feel for your DD. I have seen first hand how these situations work. Funnily enough, the group I always remember was a little group of the geekier girls where one was an absolute shit-stirrer, constantly causing rows and playing the others off against each other, then playing the victim. She ended up leaving the school and no one particularly missed her, which says it all really.

If it's any consolation I always found Yr 8 was the 'peak year' for this kind of stuff. Your DD is doing exactly the right things - doing extra-curricular stuff she enjoys. She will gain confidence and meet like-minded friends through this. X is possibly immature - and may grow out of it - or she might be a Wendy / QueenBee in training. Regardless she sounds desperately insecure. Her behaviour is impossible to fathom and in the longer term if your DD makes secure friendships she will no longer care about X.

Driz Sat 05-Oct-13 21:47:45

But how do you know that your dd hasn't given as good as she got for the last 18 months? You only have your dd's side of the story and quite frankly someone who is capable of making up such nasty rumours isneedy likely to have been cruel in the past as well. I would really look into how your daughter has been behaving, especially since you acknowledge that the friend was having a really tough time at home

SanityClause Sat 05-Oct-13 20:51:28

Well, you will know that DD has had a miserable 18 months.

X has had a miserable afternoon.

Sorry if that's being "too dismissive" for you.

Oblomov Sat 05-Oct-13 20:30:57

Sanity, I have.
Please read what I wrote and don't put words in my mouth.
I said you were too dismissive.
Not that you dismissed. There is a difference.

SanityClause Sat 05-Oct-13 20:27:24

Oblomov, I have not dismissed what DD did. Read the full thread perhaps?

Oblomov Sat 05-Oct-13 19:56:47

I too think you are being too dismissive of what a nasty thing your dd did.
She was nastily joking about x. It then became a rumour and spread.
Your dd and x are as bad as each other.

SanityClause Sat 05-Oct-13 19:34:26

I think she'll be okay. She does have other friends in other classes, and plays with the orchestra and sings with a choir and has a singing lesson. So, it's two lunchtimes and five morning breaks she's with friends.

When I say she's being excluded from the nerds, that's worst case scenario.

alpinemeadow Sat 05-Oct-13 19:27:20

Is your dd ok in the 'nerds' group provided that x doesn't push her out though - does she get on with the others all right (i think you said she had some really good friends as well, so it sounds as though she is accepted and liked by the rest of the group).

Would it be worth trying to branch out a bit as well - lunchtime clubs, activities unconnected with school at all. (like drama, sport, maybe?) just so that there is another source of 'social activity' than school?

SanityClause Sat 05-Oct-13 19:19:16

The thing is, DD is being excluded from the "nerds". The cool girls are waaaay beyond what she could aspire to.

Shootingatpigeons Sat 05-Oct-13 14:12:19

mistlethrush "so they might still be the bitches" Yes the cool crowd at DDs old school are now 17/18 and have colonised a corner of the sixth form room where they have installed a sound system and play loud gangsta music (they are all white, blonde and middle class, they exclude anyone who isn't hmm) . Anyone not cool who dares to sit on their seats or asks them to turn it down gets hissed at and called a "snake". I don't think they are going to stop being unpleasant little bullies anytime soon.

mistlethrush Sat 05-Oct-13 12:08:39

My year was particularly difficult - had been in junior school and carried on being so. One form out of the three (not mine) managed to bully a new teacher to the extent that she left the profession after only 6 months. I don't know whether they got better - I kept to myself and did my own thing so never got caught up in the horridness any more. Needless to say I have no school friends I still keep up with so they might still be the bitches they were to me now.

Shootingatpigeons Sat 05-Oct-13 11:39:20

And nor should you underestimate the impact on the confidence of the excluded. DD has moved schools and after a year I am finally seeing her grow in confidence and start to blossom, she says that only now is she starting to realise that none of the girls at her new school are playing games, they really are being friendly and nice and she can trust them. Yesterday she led a debate in the Philosophy Club and came home full of it, she would never have dared to put herself out there at her old school, she was always afraid she would be knocked back, and she would have got lots of snide comments. I wish we had got her out of there sooner.

Shootingatpigeons Sat 05-Oct-13 11:29:50

sanity my older DD didn't have these sorts of problems either, her year were lovely, there were different friendship groups with different values but they all had a basic respect for each other. It only takes a few difficult characters to subvert the norms which is what happened in my younger DDs year and the school struggled to cope. One Head of Year said it was the most difficult bunch of girls she had had to cope with in 30 years. It can happen at any school but that does not mean it happens all the time at every school.

Ilovegeorgeclooney Sat 05-Oct-13 09:45:33

We do the talk don't shout technique so each has a minute to say something and then the other responds and vice versa. Sometimes just being forced to actually listen to each other is enough, they tend to realise they do have the same feelings and generally that is enough to stop the casual cruelty they inflict on each other.

alpinemeadow Sat 05-Oct-13 09:33:09

That's very encouraging ilgc - and as you say, the vast majority of people do get nicer! What do you find works at that age when you intervene - getting the two together to discuss, and reaching an agreement a la sanity's dd? It is so interesting to hear a teacher's perspective!

Ilovegeorgeclooney Sat 05-Oct-13 09:17:49

I think we take it very seriously. The issue is the way children are a lot more manipulative than people often believe. However it is all a part of growing up and it is important that we teach pupils that being unkind is unacceptable. I spend a proportion of every working day doing this. What I was trying to say is that even if a child is mean or unkind at this age it doesn't mean they will be an unpleasant adult. It is just a stage. Fortunately most learn this, although you don't always see that on Mumsnet!!!!

alpinemeadow Sat 05-Oct-13 08:42:31

I don't think it does sound like nothing at all though - ignoring for weeks at a time, and encouraging other girls in the same group of friends to ignore your dd is pretty major in my book!

I sometimes wonder if there's a risk that expectations are too low - the knowledge that this behaviour is in some ways not uncommon means that we (collectively, parents and schools) don't see it as being serious enough to take really firm action. I know firm action is difficult because of the 'she said, no i didn't and anyway i didn't mean it like that' difficulty of finding out what's really happened, and also because girls may not report it - but for the girl who's a target it's quite devastating.
Do any posters have 'success stories' where this has been addressed by a school? Sanity perhaps you'll be one- that is a hopeful thought!

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