• Other Friendship Advice

Should a teen switch schools when she is having friendship problems?

Published: November 3, 2013 | Last Updated: November 3, 2013 By | 10 Replies Continue Reading
The decision to switch schools is a tough one that shouldn’t be rushed or taken lightly.


Hi Irene,

I’m a sophomore in high school. I was always thought of as the nice, happy popular girl with tons of friends and now all of the sudden I’m the awkward, sad girl that has no friends. My close friends that I would hang out with don’t talk to me or even look at me any more. They talk about me to everyone and now everyone gives me dirty looks in the hallways. I walk alone in the halls and rush to my class so no one says anything rude to me.

I have tried talking to them and figuring out what I did but they ignore me and say mean hurtful things. Everyone in my school ignores me now. I have three friends but they have other friends and can’t always be with me and I can’t just join a new clique. But I still have no idea what I did wrong.

It’s been a month now and I want to transfer schools. My parents are okay with the idea and I know a couple people at the other school I want to go to. But I’m worried that I won’t have any friends there either and I’ll miss the couple of friends that I’ve known and talked to since we were little.

I’m so lost and confused and I don’t know what to do! I don’t know if I should continue to be alone and talked about or if I should just switch schools and be the new kid. I have to make my decision about transferring in three days. I don’t have any one to talk to about this. My parents just say it’s you’re decision and don’t really help me with it and I don’t know where to start.

Please, please give me some advice on what to do.

Signed, Pia


Hi Pia,

This is a tough decision. Although your parents are in your corner, they may not know the “right” answer for you either. Even though you are unhappy and upset where you are, entering a new school mid-year can have its own complications, both socially and academically.

Not being familiar with your school, your friends, or you, I can’t begin to weigh in intelligently on the decision to switch schools. And as much as I would like to help you, it would be far more useful for you to speak to someone closer to the scene.

  • Is there a counselor or psychologist at school to whom you could speak in confidence to help you get a better understanding of what has happened, and what might be the best way to handle it? 
  • If there is no one you feel comfortable speaking to at school, can you ask your parents to help you find a counselor in the community who is experienced in working with teens? 

It’s quite common for allegiances and cliques to change when young people enter high school. But that doesn’t make it less upsetting when it’s happening to you. Bear in mind, too, that while this is the first time you are experiencing this, it’s certainly not the first time it has happened in your school or in your community.

One important caution: You shouldn’t be forced to make a big decision like this under pressure. Is there a possibility that you could defer the decision until after the holiday break in December? This would give you more time to get expert advice and figure out a good plan to straighten things out.

Hope this is helpful. Hang in there!

Best, Irene

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Category: Child and adolescent friendships, OTHER ADVICE, Teen friendships

Comments (10)

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  1. Lola says:

    Hi, I’m not getting bullied or anything like that, but for some reason I feel like i just don’t fit in. I’m a social person, and well liked, I’ve just had really bad luck with friendships. I’m towards the end of 9th grade now, and changed my group of friends every year since 6th grade. Somehow, the people I meet and become friends with are okay, but I feel that either they don’t really understand me, or that we aren’t compatible. My friends right now seem to truly care about me, but they are kind of strange. I almost never see them outside of school, less than once a month. Partly its because they have strict parents, which I can understand. But the other part I don’t really understand. For instance, my closest friend never wants to go anywhere (school dances, to the mall, to the movies, basically any social event). I’ve known her since 7th grade and only been to her house 3 times. If I try to talk to her about she’ll say that there’s no reason to go anywhere. It’s kind of stressful for me, because I would like to go to social events, but she won’t come with, so I end up awkwardly standing alone. It feels like none of them really understand me, they just want to get school over with. In the last couple weeks, I’ve been thinking about switching schools, not only for the social reasons, but also because it’s an a lot better school academically. I’ve just been feeling really sad lately, and I don’t really know why. My high school is just like the movies; the geeks, popular girls, jocks, cheerleaders. Switching school seems like it might be a good way to get a fresh start, get away from all these labels.

  2. Gwene says:

    Dear Irene,

    I moved from Glasgow to Harrogate a year and a half ago and I have found moving from a big city in Scotland to a small town in England really difficult so far. When I first moved to Harrogate I went to quite a small school which I found hard to settle in at first because I had moved in year 8 so everyone had their friendship groups and weren’t really bothered about “the new girl” however I soon was starting to find friends and really enjoy myself there. I was in all the top sets and was quite popular everything seemed to be going fine.

    Although everything started to go down hill when my parents decided that the school I was going to was too rough.. So only after 1 month of being at that school my parents took me out and moved me to another school very close from my school as Harrogate is a very small and communal area.

    After moving schools 3 times in that year I was pretty used to walking in a classroom and hearing a teacher say ‘hi class let’s welcome our new student” . I was not enjoying this new school people weren’t very welcoming and I found it extremely hard to fit in and it didn’t help that my head of year who never does anything to help didn’t assign me a “buddy” or a group of friends like my head of year did at my old school did. After 7 months of following anyone I could around at lunch and sitting by myself in the library I had finally found two girls who I really enjoyed spending time with, one of the girls was also a newbie and had moved a week before I did anyway after that things started to turn around I had found what I thought was a secure group of friends and because we lived so close to eachother it made it easy to see eachother outside of school. I had a great summer that year and thought everything would be different in year 9.

    The beginning of year was great until I had an argument with one of my closest friends at that time. It all started when I said to my closest friend in the group she needed makeup to look pretty, I’m not proud of it and I’m really ashamed of myself for saying it. I know I’m not a mean person I said it as an impulse plus she constantly made comments about my makeup, height and what I was eating daily which started to annoy me after a while so I think that’s where that comment came from. After that things got so bad I tried to apologise multiple times but it didn’t seem to work and I felt like the harder I tired the worse it was getting. It came to the point where my whole group of friends didn’t seem to care about me anymore and I eventually left and hung around with other people which seemed to be going well at first but I soon realised that I wasn’t really fitting in and I was starting to become really unhappy again.

    This is the part where everything went horribly wrong the two girls who I mainly hung around with found a new friend who I was already friends with however she hated me because the other two did and didn’t hide her feelings about me. I had accepted the fact I did something wrong and although I apologised they didn’t want to be friends so I went my own way but this girl that the two became really good friends with started to be really nasty to me, especially this term and even started being really mean to this girl I’m really good friends with from a different school and I online. The online bullying happened really recently and my parents have had enough. The school hasn’t handled the situation properly and infact has made it worse as the school wanted to set up this meeting with all three of them and I but this “meeting” has been rescheduled for the fourth time now and my parents have now taken me out of this school for the rest of this week because the Easter holidays start this week plus they now want to take me out for the rest of this week and move me to another school in the area.

    I am half way through year 9. I have already chosen my gcse options and I don’t think it is a good idea to move schools again because I’m scared I will have no friends and it will fall apart but I’m so unhappy at my school at the moment and I don’t think it’s going to get better any time soon. My parents feel so bad for moving me and all the want for me is to be happy and have friends. They both hate seeing me miserable all the time and I feel bad because they get upset when I come home in a terrible mood which makes me feel awful because I can’t help it. Plus this move to Harrogate is probably not final as my dad does lots of deals with people abroad so I will probably be moving to another country again soon as my parents continuously bring it up and they are always saying that this move is probably not going to be final. Should I move schools or stay at the school I’m at now and hope this situation gets better on its own. What should I do?


  3. Georgia says:

    I have the same issue, im trying to decide whether to change schools. I am half way through my GCSE year and I am struggling with friendships. I have depression and feel low quite a lot and I am scared to leave. I have found a school with my parents far away from my current school and we could move and I could start soon. But if i did i would leave my boyfriend and have to drop two GCSE’S i dont know if this is a good idea but im worried if i stay i will fail my GCSE’s please help, scared

  4. Francene says:

    When I was in my freshman year, in the beginning I also lost all of my close friends and I was a lone a lot and my mom didn’t really understand switching schools. I had tons of people that didn’t like me for no reason, so I switched. Honestly, the first week was a little hard but as long you give it a few weeks at your new school with an open mind, it’s really fun. I had a ton more friends at my new school, and had so much fun. I really loved my new school. I’m now in my sophomore year and I had to move back to my old school, and it’s honestly horrible and I’m alone again. It’s pretty much no different than my freshman year except for the fact that I dress better. I would suggest switching schools, it’s not as horrible as you think it is, but also really think about what school you’re going to. Don’t go to a school that you think isn’t as good academically as your old school if you think it matters. Either way I loved switching schools because I got a chance to start over.

    • Sandy says:

      Thank you Francine for your post. We are moving this summer to a new city, new school. i am entering 8th grade, and everyone will also be starting a new school that year. I don’t understand why I don’t have a lot of friends at my old school, I am liked, but I don’t have friends. Reading your post made me excited for my move. Thank you

  5. Hancan says:

    All my good friends went to a different school then me I would have went there if my parents would of let me but instead I went to the school they wanted me to go to all alone. I have a few friends but I just really want to be the cool girl that everyone likes. I went out and pretty much bought a brand new wardrobe to fit in with the cool girls but they still just glare at me. It pretty much makes my day if they say one word to me and if they don’t I just go home and stress about it. I’m so sick of this. My parents can tell I’m not happy but whenever I bring up switching schools they just start yelling at me. I’m so stressed out.

  6. Emma says:

    I know exactly how you feel. I just started 8th grade and I have no one to talk to in my class. Most of the time I just sit there by myself. On top of that my old friends have started ignoring me so now I have to sit with people I don’t talk to as much. I am wondering if I should switch schools or not. Its just so awkward when your switching mid semester. I think the best thing for you and me, is to take some time to think about the decision. If things seem to be getting more and more worse each day maybe you should tell your parents about that. They have to give you advice then right?! Hope this helped. I know that we’re both going to get through this 😀

  7. Judy Kirkwood says:

    I actually think kids should switch schools more often, especially if they are being bullied or shut out, because the quality of schools and school experiences is so varied. Many kids flourish in a smaller, more intimate, or alternative, setting. I don’t know what would prevent switching schools other than transportation if the school district approves. Just like having the right teacher makes a tremendous difference in learning, finding a good school match can be important to social success as well.

  8. Amy says:

    Pia is such a pretty name. High school is never easy, and it sounds like you’re having a particularly hard time. I agree with Irene about talking to a school counselor and your parents. I probably would have wanted to change schools when I was your age too, though as an adult, I don’t think that would have been the answer. I think you’re probably better off figuring out what about you and/or your life changed to take away your confidence. There might be more than one reason you’re feeling bad, even though having friends ignore you could be a big part of the reason. If I were you, I’d work with the school counselor and find a way to ensure that whether you stay in this school or go to another one you’re setting yourself up for success from the get go. Sometimes girls who feel socially isolated lose their confidence, and it show on their faces and they way they carry themselves. If this has happened to you, finding the happy, friendly personality that’s buried inside you will make you feel better. Then, whether you decide to switch or not, you will be your “best self”.
    Good luck. Let us know how you make out.

  9. Leesa says:

    It was so hard for me to transition from a one class 6th grade school where I only knew about 30 classmates to a middle school with a little over a hundred in 7th grade, let alone about 300 hundred in 3 grades and not knowing many classmates at all. I was totally lost. The classmates I grew up with in elementary school where in different classes. Me being shy and introverted didn’t help me make any new friends that I could rely on.
    It pretty much got worse as each school year went by. I didn’t have the same interests as my fellow classmates. I was an outsider.
    I toughed it out. I didn’t have a choice to go to another school and looking back I don’t think that would have helped my situation because of the area I lived in.
    I missed a lot in high school. I never went to any functions, like the prom. I used to sit alone in the dreaded lunchroom. I was laughed at.
    To this day it still haunts me. Especially with Facebook. I just want to message each person and tell them how much they hurt me, but it has been 25 years.
    One classmate even messaged me asking me why I moved so far away. I lied about the reason, but I wanted to say because of all the ignorant, small-minded people in the area and to get away from people that hurt me.
    Follow Irene’s advice and don’t make any rash decisions. I hope you can work it out.
    Best of luck.

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