Last month I started working on a new girls’ friendship book with awesome illustrator Erica DeChavez.
If you have a daughter, you don’t need me to tell you that girl friendships can be super complicated and fraught with challenges for girls and their moms! When things get sticky, kindness and respect often go missing in action and feelings get hurt all around.
Since 1997, girls from all over the planet have been turning to me for help in navigating their friendship messes. I guess that makes me an expert on social garbage. The girls who email me are tweens and teens. But I thought, if I write a book to help younger girls, maybe they will have easier friendships when they get to middle school. We can always hope, right? But hope is no strategy for making things better. What our girls need are effective tools for managing conflicts. Combine those tools with the self-respect and social courage to use them… now we’re talking about effective strategies for positive change.
Here’s a sneak peek at the book:
Q: Every time me and my friend have a private conversation, this new girl pulls her away. What do I do??
A: I don’t blame you for not wanting your private conversations interrupted. That’s so annoying! It sounds like the new girl has lots of power, but she doesn’t have all the power. If your friend didn’t want to get pulled away she could tell the girl to stop. She hasn’t done that yet. And you haven’t yet told your friend how you’ve been feeling.
Real friends tell each other the truth. Talk to her. You might say something like this: “I don’t like it when ____ pulls you away from me. How come you let her do that?” Then close your mouth and listen to what your friend has to say.
The next time the new girl tries to yank her away, your friend will either stand up for herself or she’ll let herself be yanked. That’s her choice. One more thing you might think about: Why is the new girl snatching your friend? It’s not always easy being the “new girl” who doesn’t have friends yet. I think that would feel LONELY! She probably just wants a friend and doesn’t know a more polite way to make one. Maybe you and your friend could team up with her and be friends together. That could work!
Anyway, the snatching stuff needs to stop. So talk to your friend. If things don’t change, what are you going do? You can either stand there watching the two of them go off together or you can reach out to other girls and make some new friends. You see, you have choices too!
My new book should be in print in early September. Just in time for a new season of girl friendship drama! Please let me know if your daughter could use some friendship tools. I’ll give you a personal heads-up when the book’s available.