Hey, Nikki! I have a serious problem. My friend and I have been besties since elementary school. But now we’re in middle school, and whenever I’m around my NEW friends, she glares at them and tries to pull me away from them. It’s like she’s trying to hog me all to herself! I hate it because I feel like I’m forced to hang out with her. And because of that, I don’t really want to be friends anymore. Help!
Bothered By Bestie Blues
Dear Bothered By Bestie Blues,
Ok. So, starting middle school can be really exciting! A big part of it is a chance to meet all sorts of people and make new friends. New friends are awesome!! But, it’s not unusual for new friends to cause some problems with old ones, and it sounds like that’s the case here.
The good news is, your BFF obviously cherishes your friendship. She’s scared she’s going to lose you to these new, shiny friends. Maybe the transition to middle school has NOT been so awesome for her. There are A LOT of changes! And, maybe she wishes that at least her friendships weren’t changing.
I’m not saying you should ignore your new friends and let your BFF drag you away whenever she’s feeling insecure. It looks like her behavior is hurting your friendship, not your new friends. You find her behavior annoying, and that’s probably making her cling even tighter, which makes you even more annoyed…it’s a vicious cycle!!
So, I think you need to have a heart to heart talk with your BFF. It shouldn’t be at school or with your new friends anywhere nearby. Have her over and do something fun you guys usually do together. Make sure she knows you’re still friends. (Hopefully being away from the new friends will make her less clingy, and you’ll be less annoyed!)
Then, talk to her about how you’ve noticed she doesn’t seem too thrilled that you’ve made some new friends. Explain how much she means to you, but that you can still be BFFs AND have new friends. Tell her that you want her to make more friends, too! The more, the merrier. I mean, honestly–both of you will feel pretty lonely if it’s just the two of you all the way through middle school!
Does she know your new friends? Would she like to? Maybe she’s shy and doesn’t feel comfortable hanging out with them. Maybe you could help her out! Invite a group of your new friends over, and introduce her to them. Or, invite her to sit with all of you at lunch and make sure she’s included in the conversation.
If she dislikes your new friends—beyond just being jealous and afraid they’re going to steal you away—that’s a little trickier. You might have to gently tell her that you still want to be her friend, but you’re also not going to drop these other friends. You could set a specific time to guarantee you’ll spend time together—like a certain day of the week when you’ll have lunch with her, or weekend hang out time or whatever. You could also encourage her to try making some new friends that she does click with, not to replace you, but just to help her feel better. If she has more friends, she won’t feel so insecure about losing you.
I hope that helps! You should be able to stay friends AND make new ones. The Girl Scouts sing this camp song that says, “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.” It’s kind of cheesy, but it’s totally true!!! 🙂