Old friends dd and mine no longer friends......

(64 Posts)
felicity1971 Fri 21-Jun-13 11:21:53

Awkward situation with an old friend of mine. We both have kids same age, boys nearly 14 in year 8 and girls 12 in year 7. The four children all got on very well when younger but now they're all at high school don't really mix in the same circles any more. My DD is very happy at school, doing well, popular with big friendship group, good social life out or school etc but friends DD is very unhappy. My friend says her DD is picked on at school although my DD says people find her very bossy, rude and difficult to get along with and she doesn't really do anything to help herself. She has no interest in music, hair, clothes, sport, boys and DD says she finds it hard to talk to her now as they have very little in common. Anyway my friend is making things very awkward, almost seems to be trying to make me feel guilty that my dd is doing ok when hers isn't. She keeps asking me if I can ask my dd to look out for her dd at school and invite her to hang out with her and her friends. DD has tried this in the past but friends dd doesn't try and fit in with the others at all but instead says things she knows will antagonise them and makes it very difficult. This weekend Dd is at a party tonight and then shopping tomorrow and sleepover tomorrow night. Friends dd not invited to any of it and friend has been on the phone to me in tears this morning asking if my dd can try and get hers invited. I've explained that it's really not fair on my dd and I'm not going to put her in that position but friend will really not leave it alone. She says how would I feel if it was the other way round. I do feel sorry for her daughter but my daughter has tried and now just wants to be left alone without thinking shes responsible for the other girl. Our boys don't get on any more either but that doesn't seem to be a problem for her. What would you say to friend?

its not your problem or your daughters problem ,will your friend be phoning you when her daughter is 16/18, its time to let them get on with their own friendships as long as no one is being mean its fine, teenagers have the right to exclude people they dont like.

bigTillyMint Fri 21-Jun-13 18:36:54

Balloon, it is very difficult with teens - they form their own little cliques based on interests and those who don't really share the interests and fit-in get left out.

I would suggest that the mum contacts the school and talks to them about helping her DD to find at least one other friend who has something in common with her. And to ensure that she is not being bullied just because she doesn't share the same interests.

I am finding that as my DC grow, they are finding that there are some old family friends that they don't have much in common with (other than shared memories and experiences) We adults just meet up on our own mostly now.

Hullygully Fri 21-Jun-13 18:42:26

same here bigtilly

and in my experience (from forcing my dd to include people), the other child ends up feeling worse than ever because they aren't stupid and know that they are there on sufferance.

Better to let them get on with it and put energies into helping the sad dd to find suitable friends and activities.

Ilovegeorgeclooney Fri 21-Jun-13 18:43:15

Balloon you have replied saying exactly what I was thinking. My DD2 experienced exactly the same issues. I asked my friend, DD2 and her DD2 had been close since birth almost, to ask her DD to help mine. It was only then I found that her DD had been bullying my DD to be 'popular'. Fortunately DS and DD1 were able to tell me the truth. I am not saying this is the case but perhaps your DD is prepared to sacrifice her former friend to remain popular. School is a shark pool sometimes but parents need to realise it can also be their child who is cruel. Eventually I printed off a Facebook page showing my friend exactly what had been going on. She was horrified and I really felt for her. Now, 6 years on they are still friends but my DD has better ones.

Ilovegeorgeclooney Fri 21-Jun-13 18:45:44

I meant we are still friends.

felicity1971 Fri 21-Jun-13 19:32:27

Yes I have also read Facebook chat threads (I have dd's password) and there is nothing suggesting that the other girls are being nasty! DD and friends DD have never been close at school, when I say they got on very well when they were younger I mean pre school days. So its not a case of DD 'sacrificing' a former good friend for new people at all! As kids get older they gravitate towards the people with whom they have more in common with, its natural. I wouldn't choose to spend my time with people who didn't share my interests in anything. The girls are very different!

kerala Fri 21-Jun-13 20:02:49

Am reading queen bees and wannabes quite American but gives good strategies for parents to deal with this stuff. Funnily enough tearful phone calls to parents of other girls not recommended....

timidviper Fri 21-Jun-13 20:10:28

I agree this is not your DDs responsibility but it is clearly distressing your friend which probably means that her DD is upset too. If your child is unhappy at school it is awful and any support you can give your friend will help.
I would suggest gently that she speaks to school and try to organise something outside school for them as others have suggested

exexpat Fri 21-Jun-13 20:15:59

You really can't force nearly-teenagers to be friends when they have nothing in common. What are the other girl's interests? I'd suggest to your friend that she encourages her DD to find friends through that, if necessary out of school through clubs, rather than trying to piggy-back on your DD's social life.

I do sympathise with the other girl, though - it can be hard being the odd one out at that age. Is it a big school? There will almost certainly be a few girls she could get on with, but it can take a while to find them, so she improbably just tempted to cling on to a familiar face.

Ilovegeorgeclooney Fri 21-Jun-13 20:16:16

Yes my point is that sometimes 'casual cruelty' by one you think you can depend on is the most heart-breaking. I am slightly disturbed by the focus being on the other child being at fault. I think it is important to teach children that being different is admirable. My DD is now off to Oxford with a hugely supportive group of friends. My friend's DD is about to start a third college course because staff are now picking on her. It is sad because she has been so pandered to that she responds to any criticism at 18 as an attack.
BTW what seems harmless at 30+ can seem vicious at 13.

exexpat Fri 21-Jun-13 20:16:32

* is probably, not improbably

felicity1971 Fri 21-Jun-13 20:30:17

Yes it's a pretty big school, 200 per year group. I'm not too sure what friends DD's interests are, it's something I will discuss with her mum. She is certainly not into 'girly' stuff, not interested in shopping for clothes etc. DD does hockey, athletics, netball and drama at after school clubs but friends DD not into any of these. She does do outside clubs that my DD does not do, like Girl Guides and badminton but doesn't seem to have met anyone she clicks with there either apparently. I feel desperately sorry for her but don't want my DD to feel under pressure to try and sort it out!

cory Fri 21-Jun-13 20:37:53

Not sure I'd go as far as Balloon, but there is perhaps a sense on this thread that the girl ought to be interested in the things the other girls are interested in, that these are the Normal, Proper 12yo interests and that somebody who isn't interested in this particular set of pursuits must be lacking in social skills.

I was that girl. I spent secondary school along in a corner or trying to talk about matters I knew nothing about and desperately trying to hide what I did know and care about. I felt convinced that the problem was my lack of social skills. I thought I would never be able to have friends
let alone a boyfriend.

By my second term at university I had gained a reputation as a socialiser, a party organiser, a fun-lover. (I had also met dh).

I may have changed slightly in those 12 months, but I hadn't changed that much. What had changed was the people around me.

And I bet if one of the queen bees from my old school had turned up at one of our parties, I bet she would have been the one sat in the corner hoping nobody realised that she had nothing to talk about.

The world was full of people like me: I just had to find them.

So my advice to the other girl would be to take stock of who she really is, what she really enjoys and then go out and find people like her.

BalloonSlayer Fri 21-Jun-13 21:36:33

Fab post from Cory above, and from many others. (sorry have had more wine than is good for me and am struggling to write a coherent sentence let alone name posters blush )

I must say, as I didn't the first time I posted, that I don't feel it it your DD's DUTY to help the other girl.

Your DD is a child herself, and it is a minefield.

Yet there is a feeling of "I'm alright Jack, pull up the ladder" about this - she has been accepted by the in-crowd and what should she care for the one who didn't make the cut?

And the thing where there is a party and a sleepover to which the other DD has not been invited . . . how did she find out about them?

By constant discussion under her nose.

Which is a form of bullyng.


But OP - I am totally impressed with you for worrying about it and wondering what you should do. My DS had a similar situation with a friend recently, and did not react as I'd have hoped he would - but it's just human nature.

Butterflywgs Fri 21-Jun-13 23:19:05

With BalloonSlayer too.

alpinemeadow Sat 22-Jun-13 07:53:58

It is difficult for the ones who aren't interested in clothes, hair, boys, music because by and large this does seem to be what many girls are interested in by yr 7, so it can be very hard to find like minded girls. By summer yr 7 other dd hasn't done so, and that must be very upsetting for her (and her mother).
I agree with all the posters who suggest other dd's mother speaks the school, explain problem and ask for help putting her dd together with other like minded girls - and be prepared to push, if they're not immediately helpful. Things like seating plans, joint projects - can all be helpful if school prepared to do it (which is the big question!)

cory Sat 22-Jun-13 09:10:23

It is difficult as alpine says, and what makes it worse is that 12yos have no perspective: to them a year is a lifetime and they can't see that things may look totally different in another year's time.

It took my dd (social, fairly ordinary interests plus some less usual ones) at least until the end of Yr 8 to get her social life sorted. She is now in Yr 11 and much happier and more confident.

Funnily enough some of that has been to do with the other girls catching up with her rather than with her changing: girls who in Yr 7 only wanted to talk about clothes and hairdos now want to talk about Victor Hugo (made attractive through endless Twitter conversations about Les Mis).

Interests that seemed hopelessly nerdy in a 12yo are just mainstream when you get to 16. And the endless talk about boys and make-up is now seen as a bit babyish. 16yos are also far less clique-ish and far less about "I'm friends with you and you but not with you".

alpinemeadow Sat 22-Jun-13 09:43:18

Yes Cory! - I think both sides move a bit, and come closer to each other as they get into yrs 10/11. Dteens maybe become more interested in wider issues - politics, social issues etc, become more interesting - and the ones who had no interest in clothes sometimes become a bit more interested, and maybe a bit of mascara. (Talking about 'sides' is wrong and oversimplistic I know, and I'm definitely not suggesting that all 12 yr olds who are interested in clothes and boys have no interest in literature, politics etc! - perfectly possible to be interested in both! But I suppose it's shorthand for the more fashionable, slightly 'older' ones and the ones who have not the slightest interest in clothes. Definitely true that there can be more convergence later on!)

In fact the other dd does have some interest in sport - she does badminton - so there is some shared interest there? However that is not really relevant as it does seem as though felicitydd's friends probably are not otherdd's 'natural' group at the moment, and what otherdd needs is to find her natural friends. Unfortunately this can be very hard - and the fact that she hasn't done so by summer yr 7 suggests that she could do with some help to find them.

Balloon also makes a very interesting point about 'how does otherdd know about the parties/sleepovers'. I agree, if people are discussing them in front of otherdd, that is hurtful, but it can be difficult - if someone says 'what are you doing at the weekend' how should the dcs respond? I have advised dcs it can be kinder not to mention get togethers that another person isn't included in - but at the same time they do have to answer the question somehow! 'Oh, this and that,' or 'going swimming (df's name not mentioned)' may work - but then on the other hand what some people say is that it's awful to find out afterwards and feel people were hiding it from you. No easy answers there. Of course once you're on facebook the friends may find out anyway from photos etc (see many mn threads on precisely this!).

alpinemeadow Sat 22-Jun-13 10:27:07

Just wanted to add - I agree felicitydd definitely shouldn't have to feel she must solve this problem for otherdd - that would be completely unfair, and in any case counterproductive.

As others have said, it would be a kind thing to get together with otherdd out of school on her own occasionally - maybe a game of badminton at the leisure centre, or as others have suggested, cinema?
Felicitydd may never know how grateful othermum and otherdd are - but they would be! Not in any way saying felicitydd should do this - but it would be a lovely thing to do for a not very happy acquaintance. And who knows - they might get on quite well alone, batting the shuttlecock backwards and forwards....It is never a bad thing to have an extra nice friend, even if you don't have that much in common!

ChewingOnLifesGristle Sat 22-Jun-13 10:53:19

Oh dearsad I can see why she feels protective and worried about her dd but tearful phonecalls requesting instant inclusion isn't the way ahead.

Providing it's a case of needing to gel with peers rather than being excluded because of bullying then the girl in question needs strategies and support in seeking out her own new friends.

As has been said it's a skill worth learning. If things have petered out between the two girls in question then forcing the issue isn't going to work.

My own dd needed to change friendship groups due to some nastiness within the group she was in. The problem is that by secondary school many groups appear set and it can seem hard to break into an established group.

I explained to my dd that it wouldn't happen overnight. You have to be open and interested in other people and gradually, very gradually you become part of the group by investing time and interest in the people in it.

But you need to look receptive and open, not defensive or closed which may mean compromising and learning to look interested in stuff which might not always be your thing. It's worked for my dd but it def took time. It's unfair to expect op's dd to magically make everything ok.

alpinemeadow Sat 22-Jun-13 11:03:08

Yes chewing, and I think also the groups are not actually that set at the beginning of year 7 - by the end there has been a lot of flux, and that may well continue into yr 8, so you can definitely make new friends after yr 7.

But if you are not a 'natural' friend maker you don't instinctively sense the 'opportunities', for want of a better word, to make friends as the groups shift. To some people it comes naturally, some are a bit more observant and 'deliberate' about it - and some just don't have that antenna at all. So a dd in the last category, who has problems at the beginning of yr 7, may well not find things have improved by end yr 7.

Sometimes schools may say 'oh give it time, they all change friends throughout the year' - but time may not be enough if you need help with the friend finding skill as well! hence the scope for schools to try to 'introduce' the like minded girls...(if they have the resources and willingness to do it)

felicity1971 Sat 22-Jun-13 11:31:01

My friend actually found out about what was happening with the girls over the weekend from another mum who was moaning about all the lifts etc she was going to have to do! That was when she phoned me in tears! I have spoken to Dd about trying to avoid talking about stuff friends dd is not involved in when she is around and she says she is careful not to, but obviously this is not easy. The girls want to talk about what they are doing, its part of their social life. Also stuff will be posted on Facebook etc, not necessarily in a malicious way! I don't think that putting a photo on FB of themselves at a party that friends dd wasn't at can really be seen as a 'form of bullying'. Taking it a bit far I feel.

Jimalfie Sat 22-Jun-13 11:35:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BalloonSlayer Sat 22-Jun-13 11:53:54

"My friend actually found out about what was happening with the girls over the weekend from another mum who was moaning about all the lifts etc she was going to have to do!"

you didn't say that in your OP.

It is far more reasonable to assume from the information that you did give that the DD knew about it all and was upset that she had not been invited, than the mother had heard about it from another mum and got upset on her daughter's behalf.

What is the OtherDD like, in your opinion? You have said what your DD says she is like, but you have known her for years.

I do still feel that your DD has got in with the in-crowd because her face fits, the OtherDD hasn't because her face doesn't, and that's that. It's a shame that your DD is a bit "I'm alright Jack" about it but that said, she's only 12 and can't be expected to sort out her friend. sad

Hullygully Sat 22-Jun-13 12:19:11

But they aren't even really friends. They got on well when younger, but now move in different circles.

The unhappy dd's mother is just desperately trying to improve things for her dd by asking the other one to include her in her own circle, but that isn't realistic.

You seem a little er over-invested here Balloon!

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