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Annie Fox, M.Ed., is an internationally respected parenting expert, award-winning author, and a trusted online adviser for tweens and teens.

Does she bite?

June 1, 2010

Trust me. I'm a friend.

The developmentally disabled adults sat in front of the church waiting for their bus. “Would you like to say hello to my dog?” I asked the young woman who cautiously eyed my puppy. She recoiled and shook her head. But this pooch takes her job on the Welcoming Committee very seriously so she just kicked the wagging and wiggling up a notch. The woman was finding it hard to resist.

“Does he bite?” she wanted to know.
“Nope. But she’s really into kisses.”
The woman smiled, relaxed and the bonding began.

It’s risky business making a new friend. Especially if you’re a tween or teen who hasn’t had a lot of social success. It would be very cool to find out in advance: “Does she bite?”

From the email I get from kids I know that bullying and/or harassment situations often involve former friends. (AKA, a frenemy)  The betrayal hurts as much if not more than the nastiness.

If only we could find out earlier if she “bites.” Might avoid a lot of drama and suffering.

Filed under: Cruel's Not Cool,Parenting,Teens — Tags: , , , , , — Annie @ 1:16 pm


  1. Very true. My teen with ADHD has issues with social interaction(s) & feels safer with on-line interactions; not so much on “face-to-face”. Very unfortunate as he is a great kid, just has trouble interacting appropriately at times.

    Comment by Tammy — June 1, 2010 @ 1:22 pm

  2. So true… So true! I like that:) Too bad that there are so many girls who are so deceptive that even when you ask, they aren’t honest even then.

    Comment by Detra — June 1, 2010 @ 2:02 pm

  3. Detra, you’re right! Guess we need an additional caveat “Even if she swears she doesn’t bite, she may be lying!” :O(

    Comment by Annie — June 1, 2010 @ 2:08 pm

  4. Teenagers have a more stressful time than previous generations due to the advances in technology and the increase in such activities as cyber-bullying. On my site, I find that I have increased requests for information about peer pressure, bullying and teen stress. I would love to have answers on how to avoid toxic friends because as a society, this practiced behavior can continue into adulthood which makes things even worse. Helping kids understand their own unique talents and abilities, as well as helping them set their own personal goals to achieve can keep them focused on their own path to success and not be too hurt when others disappoint them.

    Comment by Ann — June 2, 2010 @ 1:41 pm

  5. You’re absolutely right, Ann, today’s teens are way more stressed than any previous generation. The contributors include technological advances that give them no break from bullies and so-called friends who harass and spread rumors. I have spent several years teaching kids, tweens and teens about the differences between Real Friends vs The Other Kind. (You might want to check out my tween book by the same title.

    I think that’s part of the answer… helping kids realize that friendship is a two-way street and that real friends offer support, respect, honesty, trust, shared values and open communication you can count on. If you’re hanging with people who aren’t the kind of friends you deserve, then it’s time to either speak up and hold them and yourself accountable for the breaches OR move on and get yourself some real friends.

    Comment by Annie — June 2, 2010 @ 1:53 pm

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