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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.

When a BFF leaves you behind

January 26, 2013

I’ve been getting an awful lot of email lately from teens who feel abandoned by their bff. Usually the situation involves a “new girl” coming into the picture who is “stealing” a friend. If this has happened to you (or someone you know) maybe this teen’s email and my answer to it will be helpful. I hope so!

How come she doesn't want to be my friend anymore?

Hey Terra,

Me and “A” have been best friends since kindergarten and we are now in high school. In 7th grade, she started hanging out with this girl named “B.” Now “A” is with “B” all the time. “A” always has her FB status saying she’s “hanging out with my bestie” when she’s with “B.” I feel really jealous and sad. I feel like I shouldn’t be upset because she has the right to be friends with whoever she wants, but it still really hurts my feelings because I feel like she’s replaced me with someone who doesn’t like me. Any input to this would be great!

Ex-BFF

Dear Ex-BFF,

You are right when you say, “‘A’ has the right to be friends with whoever she wants.” And even though your head knows that this is true, your heart “still really hurts” because you miss the closeness you and “A” used to have. Because you don’t yet have another friend to share that same level of closeness with, you feel “jealous” and left-out. I understand.

Sometimes friends outgrow the friendship they have at the same time. Both friends, without saying as much, just start spending less and less time together. It doesn’t usually cause much hurt this way because both friends, for whatever reason, have turned their attention to other things and/or other people. But in this case, it sounds like “A” outgrew the friendship before you did. So you were left feeling “Hey! Come back! I don’t like being here without your friendship!”

My best advice is to try thinking of it this way: This wonderful, long-term friendship you had with “A” has given you many gifts. You two have had lots of great times. Laughed together. Shared secrets. Learned how to negotiate differences of opinions. Learned how to be honest with each other. Through your friendship with “A” you have learned so much about yourself. And one very important thing you’ve learned is what it means to be a great friend. You now have that skill and it’s yours, forever. Now’s the time to: a) Thank “A” for what she’s given you. b) Say goodbye to this phase of your friendship with “A.” You two may become close again in the future, but for now, this chapter has ended. And c) Take what you have learned about friendship and reach out to some new people. You have everything you need to create new friendships which will bring you more wonderful gifts.

Smile. It’s OK. I hope this helps you enjoy the rest of your weekend and the rest of the school year.

In friendship,
Terra

Hey Terra,

Thank you soo much for explaining it like that to me, it makes me feel much better about this situation.

Happier now

Dear Happier Now,

I’m so glad to have helped. Have fun.

In friendship,
Terra

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2 Comments »

  1. What if u don’t want to forget about “A” what if u still wanna be her friend but she doesn’t want to. I don’t wanna forget about “A” but she won’t talk to me!

    Comment by Caitlin — January 29, 2013 @ 6:54 pm

  2. If “A” doesn’t want to be your friend, what can you do? You can’t force her to want to spend time with you, can you? Of course not! You also can’t make her care more about the friendship than she does. I understand that you don’t waNt to “forget” about her, but how can you resolve this conflict if she won’t talk to you about what’s going on? My suggestion is that take a vacation from this drama. Just make a decision that for the next 2 weeks, you are going to reach out to other people in friendship. You can also try to catch yourself thinking about “A” and what has happened. When you do notice yourself going down that mental path, just wake up and stop yourself. Simply say to yourself, “Not now.” and consciously take some slow deep breaths and calm yourself down. Then reach out to someone in your family or to a new friend. In this way you will begin to heal from the hurt of a lost friendship. I hope this helps.

    Comment by Annie — January 29, 2013 @ 7:23 pm

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