My daughter left a “secret” note addressed to “mom only” on my bedside table last night. In her written letter, she asked for advice about a friend. This morning, I drafted my five-page handwritten response (as she requested I write a note back). Of course, I am delighted that she is turning to me for advice. On the other hand, should I be alarmed that she is worrying about these things already? She is only nine years old. Did I contemplate such things when I was her age?
Dear darling girl,
I received your note. Thanks for coming to me for advice! This is what I think about your question about your friend. Remember, this is my opinion and so the ultimate decision is up to you. Of course, we can discuss your decision.
First, it is okay to be friends with your friend. You just don’t have to be best friends. You will find in life, as you grow older, that there are different levels and categories of friends. Here are some of the main categories, as I see them:
- Best Friend: Could be more than one. This person or persons is the one you are the most comfortable around, the one who you can be mostly yourself. You can tell anything to this person without feeling judged. It is almost like your friendship is unconditional. What does unconditional mean? Unconditional means when something is absolute and has no limits. It is like the way I love you, Liam and Dad unconditionally, without any limits. Nothing in the world would stop me from loving you. So, an unconditional friend will be your friend through thick and thin (meaning good and bad times). They won’t turn their back on you whenever they just feel like it. Hint: your our dad is my best friend!
- Good Friend: Almost like a best friend, but someone you just haven’t felt totally comfortable enough to let all your walls down. A good friend is reliable and will help you when you need it. They are fun to be around and you probably have a lot in common with them. Also, you may not always see them everyday, week, or month but you know in your heart they will be your good friend always. When you do hang out together again, it feels like time hasn’t passed.
- Pretty Good Friend: Almost there as a good friend, but perhaps not the first, second or third person you would call to help you solve personal issues. They are fun and easy to talk to but not the person you would first choose like your good friend or best friend. However, over time this person may bump up to be a good friend.
- Better than Acquaintance: This person is someone who you like but you don’t always hang around them. You have fun when you are together but sometimes you don’t feel like being around them all the time. Many times this friend is specific to the activity in which you engage (like a playground friend, sport friend, etc.). They are cool to play with on the playground but you don’t really tell them too many personal things. You will probably meet many of these types of friends as you grow and move about in your life. These friends will come and go without too much drama.
- Acquaintance: Someone who you know. Period. But, this person is not what you would call a friend. You say “hi” and “bye” and that pretty much sums it up. You can be cordial to them, of course!
So, now that you know some of my definitions, how would you define your friend? Keep in mind, a true and good friend does not make you feel bad about yourself. A true and good friend builds you up and doesn’t tear you down.
One thought is that your friend doesn’t realize that she is being mean. Sometimes, it is worth having a talk with her about how she makes you feel before you make your final decision. After you have your chat and she doesn’t want to change her behavior or denies her wrongdoing, then I think it is okay if you put her in a “lower” friend category.
As you grow older, you will find that life is too short to worry about or waste time with people who don’t make you feel at your best. Find people in life who will love and support you, beautiful and smart girl–JUST THE WAY YOU ARE! These friends will always love you, for you.
So, you’re probably thinking–well, mom, what should I do about my friend? I think you know what to do. If not, we can talk about it again (in person).
Okay, my love bug? Don’t worry babe, you will make the right decision that is right for you.
P.S. Let’s talk about how you tell her when you make your decision.