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Child and Adolescent Friendships: My friend doesn’t like me making other friends

January 30, 2017 | By | 1 Reply Continue Reading
A young woman’s friends doesn’t like her making other friends and wonders how to handle the situation.

QUESTION

Hi.

My best friend and I have been best friends since year two. We are now in year seven. Since year six though, my best friend doesn’t like me making other friends. But she hangs around with loads of people and leaves me out. I have my other friends but I sometimes hear her talking about me behind my back. I want to stay her best friend but I don’t… What shall I do?

Signed, Penny

ANSWER

Hi Penny,

As you and your best friend mature and grow into and through adolescence, your friendship will change. This happens to mostly everyone your age as you develop more independence and are exposed to more people, activities and social opportunities. Even positive change can be scary, especially with relationships.

Having new friends, in addition to your BFF is healthy for both of you and can breathe new life into your friendship. Trying to control or prevent a BF from making other friends is a warning sign, especially when she has other friends. She may feel insecure or worried that you’ll like someone more than her, but that’s not an excuse.

If your friendship feels restrictive, and it sounds like you may feel that way, talking to your friend might be helpful. A conversation can help you decide if you want to move on. Most relationships have ups and downs, and good communication can save friendships. Talking about conflict can be hard, but it gets easier with practice so even if your friendship doesn’t last, you’ve still learned something for the best time you need to have a difficult conversation. Here are some tips:

-Start off with something positive.

-Use “I” statements to avoid blaming.

-Be specific and avoid generalities. Don’t say “you always” or “you never.” 

-Ask for what you want. For example:

“I really like being your friend.”

“I feel frustrated when you get mad that I’m friendly with Beth.”

“I felt hurt when I heard you telling Lauren that I was stuck up.” 

“I’d really like for you to tell me when you’re mad, instead of talking about me.”

I’m not sure whether you and your friend will stay BFFs. I do think you will be able to figure this out in a way that eventually works out for you, although I can’t promise you won’t feel some pain along the way. Even the best relationships are rarely without any heartache. Good luck with your friend.

Signed, Amy Feld


*Amy Feld, PhD, MSW has trained and worked as a child psychologist.

Disclaimer: Nothing in this or any other post is intended to substitute for medical, psychiatric or clinical diagnosis/treatment. Rather, all posts are written as the type of advice that one friend might give to another.


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Category: Child and adolescent friendships

Comments (1)

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  1. Irene (the other one) says:

    I agree with Irene Levine in clearing the situation with this girl. BUT – if she continues to rule your life, you should regard her as an acquaintance, rather than a friend.

    Spend time with people who give a bit – don’t waste your time on ‘friends’ who are selfish and dictatorial. She only wants you there as a ‘reserve’ in case her other friends leave. The fact she talks about you behind your back is because she wants to gain favour with them, making herself seem big, and you small and an object of derision. This attitude is unlikely to change – leave quietly (so she can’t blame you for unreasonable behaviour towards her), and make friends elsewhere.

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