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?

felicity1971 Sun 23-Jun-13 17:16:12

She is definitely envious of their social life, but whether or not she would like to be part of these particular girls circle I'm not sure. She would be happier with some more like minded girls I think. I'm meeting my friend for coffee tomorrow so will have a chat about things......

MerylStrop Sat 22-Jun-13 20:29:04

I think I have been in the position, at one time or the other of both of your daughters.

IMO, you can't and shouldn't force your daughter to facilitate the other girl's friendship - it just doesn't work like that. However, I think you should encourage her to make time for an old family friend, even if it is just the cinema with her and and another mate, low key stuff, every so often. And also encourage a bit more empathy from your daughter, because these dynamics have a habit of changing over time.

What isn't clear is whether your friend's daughter is actually bothered about not being in with a particular crowd, or if it is just her mum.

cory Sat 22-Jun-13 20:18:41

Othermum doesn't seem as if she is really able to help her daughter much.

I have been her in the sense that dd had a time in Yr 7/8 when she wasn't really part of any friendship groups, groups had shifted, she had been ill a lot and people do tend to forget you if you're not there, she was disabled and prone to depression.

It was difficult to quite know what to do, but I thought my best way of helping her would be to stay as calm and reassuring as I could, thinking that projecting my anxiety and her would make her more anxious and hence coming across as more needy. I encouraged her to join out of school activities but more with the message "I think you might enjoy trying this" than " we must try this to find you more friends".

It did seem to work out for dd. And even if it hadn't, I can't see that anything else would have worked better.

helenthemadex Sat 22-Jun-13 17:48:14

She says how would I feel if it was the other way round

I think this is interesting because how would you feel if it was your daughter was being left out? its not an easy to imagine when your daughter is obviously happy and confident, but I think in friends position it is not wrong or unnatural to reach out to you as her supposed friend who has a child of the same age within the same school and ask for help and support.

Whilst I dont think you should feel guilty or force your dd into a friendship she doesnt want, I do think maybe you could talk to your dd about how she would feel to be left out and to be more supportive to your friend and her very obvious distress at this situation. Girls can be so spiteful, and that can have very long term affects

MooncupGoddess Sat 22-Jun-13 17:32:01

I think that if you already feel awkward/resentful/out of place it is very normal to be ruder than you otherwise might have been.

I certainly remember being like this at the same age. Oh God, my Year 7 classmates and their hysterical obsession with boybands, clothes etc. I was totally baffled and alienated by it and am pretty sure I made my contempt for Take That or whatever quite clear. Fortunately I had enough friends like me that I got away with it.

alpinemeadow Sat 22-Jun-13 17:24:29

Yes RJ I agree, and in fact on a number of threads mners have said that what made their social difficulties worse as teenagers was the feeling that their mother was really worried and upset about it (obvious once you think about it really! but worth remembering as a parent, our role is sometimes to be a soothing presence - quoting another mner there).

Question is - as op has asked, what should she say to her friend? Friend is obviously feeling very fragile, otherdd seems to need a bit of support socially (from school if it is willing/able to give it a go) - but I think if op were to suggest it to friend at the moment, the conversation might not go that well - it is easy to see how it could end!

It's odd, this thing about putting down what other people like (going back to fel71's description of otherdd) - it is not uncommon amongst very shy preteens, and as others have said, can provoke negative reactions. Possibly their shyness/anxiety in the situation makes the shy preteens say whatever comes into their head - not always a good approach to life! Although you can also imagine a cool and popular girl saying it and completely getting away with it! The random out of context comments suggest that maybe as RJ suggests she finds these girls a bit boring, they are not her soulmates (at the moment!), so she is not really listening to the conversation.

RhondaJean Sat 22-Jun-13 17:12:56

Totally agree about making new friends alpine but mother getting into a state about her being part of a particular group that really doesn't interest her child isn't going to help her self confidence at all.

It's very difficult for anyone to be happy anywhere if a particular group is held us as what you should be part of, especially when they don't interest you.

alpinemeadow Sat 22-Jun-13 17:06:15

RJ it does sound as if you're right and that this group of friends isn't really one otherdd would enjoy herself in. But at the same time otherdd doesn't seem to be happy at school - the op said friend said that otherdd was picked on (which presumably comes from otherdd?)- and the fact that friend has asked felicitydd to look out for otherdd at school and invite her to hang out suggests that otherdd has said to friend (at least once) that she's miserable. So it would be nice to give her some help to make new friends if possible.
Felicity 1971, what a difficult situation for you. The problem, is in such a fraught situation, if you suggest friend goes to school and asks them to help otherdd make new friends, that might not go down very well.

BalloonSlayer Sat 22-Jun-13 14:01:57

Nope, just interested in the subject (teenage friendship dynamics) and also trying to explain myself! grin

PeanutPatty Sat 22-Jun-13 13:43:42

Not read thread!

Just because two women are friends and get on amazingly it doesn't guarantee that their children will get on and be BFFs. I've seen this so many times.

I think that the mother trying to shape her DD's social circle will not really help the situation and anything that she does manage to arrange on her daughter's behalf is likely to not last anyway. You can't force friendships.

Hullygully Sat 22-Jun-13 13:34:59

I didn't mean anything nasty, Balloon, just that you seemed really bothered!

RhondaJean Sat 22-Jun-13 13:16:24

I am actually more worried about your friend here than her daughter. It doesn't sound like the daughter has gone crying at not being invited.

Let's flip this - why should your friends dd be forced to spend time with girls she probably finds quite vacuous, childish and uninteresting?

But her mother is obivously worried she isn't part of the big social set. Whereas she obviously has her own tastes and opinions and tbh that is very hard for a 13 yo to express, most do tend to stick to the herd mentality. Sounds like you would do well to encourage your friend to respect her dd for who she is and be proud she has the courage to be different than try to make her fit into a situation that sounds like it holds no appeal to her.

BalloonSlayer Sat 22-Jun-13 13:05:28

How does it change anything whether or not I said in my OP how my friend found out about the girls plans for the weekend?

Well because I thought the DD was upset at not being invited and told her Mum about it, and the Mum was upset and trying to make things right for her, and now it seems like the DD didn't even mention it and the Mum found out about it from a third party, and got upset on her DD's behalf. The two things are totally different. The DD may not give a shit about not going to the party/other things.

I agree that making comments like the one you've mentioned would put people off her felicity. confused

Hully I don't think I am over-invested but if I am it's not from the direction you think - my DS1 has a friend who his other friends don't really gel with and can sometimes be mean to. I have not handled it as well as I should have done. It's not quite the same thing as the boy is in a different school year and they would be growing apart anyway, but there was an incident where DS1 left him out of something and I got all weak and dithery and did not insist he included him and it really was not our finest hour. sad blush

felicity1971 Sat 22-Jun-13 12:37:48

How does it change anything whether or not I said in my OP how my friend found out about the girls plans for the weekend? How do I find my friends daughter? Well although I've known her since birth she is not a girl who likes to speak to adults much so we are not particularly close. She is very intelligent clearly but lacks social skills sometimes. Watching her with other girls she is generally quiet but then tends to make random out of context comments or put down things that they like, eg Girl one: 'OMG I love those new jeans so and so is wearing' Friends DD: 'They are disgusting, why would anyone wear those'

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!

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

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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.

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)

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 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!

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!).

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 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!)

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

With BalloonSlayer too.

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