• Handling Breakups

My teenage daughter was dropped by a friend

Published: June 25, 2014 | By | 20 Replies Continue Reading
A mom wonders how she can help her daughter who was dropped by a friend.


I have been reading through so many of the posts regarding teen friendships and I am sad but comforted to know I am not alone. I’m hoping you can provide some advice I can share with my daughter to make her feel better after she was dropped by a friend.

We live in a small town where my daughter attends middle school. There are about 25 girls in the 7th grade with her. She plays soccer on a travel team in the next town, rides horses, loves to act, writes short stories and reads. She is not boy crazy (although has a wild crush on an actor) and loves her mother (for which I am blessed).

She has very little in common with the girls in her class and has never been outgoing. She gets along great with most of the boys because of her athletic ability. But as she has has gotten older those relationships are beginning to change.

Outside of school, she has one best friend who is also 13 (my best friend’s daughter). They have always gravitated together and rarely a weekend goes by that they don’t have a sleepover at one of our houses. Her best friend also rides horses and they spend hours together at the stable.

I have never been overly concerned about her lack of close relationships at school because she has this wonderful friendship but recently her friend distanced herself and my daughter is heartbroken. Her friend stopped answering her texts and no longer calls her.

Today there was a party at the stable and my friend dropped the girls off. I agreed to pick them up but my daughter called and asked if she could come home earlier. When I arrived, her friend was hanging with the older girls (15- and 16-year-olds) ignoring my daughter. I picked her up and went back two hours later to get her friend. I told her friend that my daughter had come home earlier but didn’t say anything about her feeling hurt and excluded (nor would I). We just chatted about the party and their next horse show.

I am heartbroken that this wonderful friendship seems to be over. My daughter was crying when I got home. Her friend said she isn’t mad at her but she just doesn’t want to hang out anymore. Is there anything I can say to make her feel better?

Signed, Faith


Hi Faith,

I’m sorry to hear your daughter is hurting after being dropped by a friend. Whether you are a teen or an adult, it’s healthy to have a variety of friendships so all your energies and attention aren’t focused on one person. When you have only one friend, the loss is that much more painful.

Most friendships start off as acquaintances. Your daughter probably already has acquaintances in school, on her team, and at horseback riding so remind her she has opportunities to strengthen those relationships. Encourage her to invite someone over after riding or soccer. Of the 25 girls in her class, given all her interests, I bet she has something in common with several of them.

She doesn’t need to look for a best friend, a replacement for the one she had, or a friend that likes everything she does—just someone who is kind and fun to be around. Try to encourage her to have more than one friend. If you notice she’s placing all her emphasis on one girl, help her expand her social circle so she’s not vulnerable to losing her entire social life if she and the friend part ways.

Your daughter sounds very talented and resilient, and I’m sure she’ll get over this loss. Explain to your daughter that not all friendships, even very good ones, last forever—and that people change and move in different directions. Be available to listen to your daughter when she needs you and to mentor her. But resist the urge to jump in and try to solve her problems for her (which probably wouldn’t work anyway). You haven’t mentioned your own friendship with the mom but you will probably have to find a way to preserve this friendship given the breakup between the girls.

Hope this helps.

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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Comments (20)

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  1. Lois says:

    Hi, my daughter is now 18 and is having trouble with her friends. First of all she is very easy going and sometimes can be walked on. She has this one friend that suffers with a little bit of depression. They have been the best friends for several years now. My daughter just started going out with her first “real” boyfriend and now 6 months after their dating her best friend has dropped her because she says that she likes her boyfriend and is jealous over them. My daughter is heartbroken, she even asked her friend before she started dating this guy if her friend liked him and whether she should date him. Her friend said she should date him. But months later says she is jealous. My daughter is going to work full of anxiety every day because of this broken relationship. Her friend is also turning the other friends in the group agains my daughter. Shouldn’t this drama all have ended in middle school? I feel so helpless seeing her go to work in tears. 🙁 Any help would be appreciated.

  2. Maria says:

    Hi, I wanted to share my story to see if any other parents out there are going through the same thing. My daughter will be a junior in September. She has always had a hard time with long-term friendships. She does well in school and was a cheerleader for 7 years. About 6 months ago, she injured her back and is not able to cheer any longer. The girls she used to hang out with are all cheerleaders. Now that the cheer season is starting, and because she can’t cheer, all of her friends from cheer are hanging out together, leaving her out. Her best friend from cheer for the last 7 years has started ignoring her, hanging out with the rest of the cheerleaders. She does have a part-time job and seems to enjoy it.

    My daughter basically just sits home (or works) on the weekends. I’ve told her to hang out with other girls (not cheerleaders), or talk with her best friend and tell her that she ignores her and it bothers her. She said she has talked to her, and that the best friend will be ok for a while, then go back to ignoring her.

    I’ve also asked her to get involved in something else, but she’s uninterested. It’s like she’s ok with hanging at home, shopping with me or working. She doesn’t like to go to any school functions (school dances, etc.), sleepovers, trips, etc. She says she hates everyone in her school. Switching schools really isn’t an option and I think it would make it harder on her. She has anxiety and depression, is on medication and talks to a counselor. The counselor has told her to hang out with other girls and she said she will, but never does. When I ask her about the girls on her cheer team that she used to hang out with, she says she doesn’t like them, that they are all fake and backstabbers (which I completely believe – girls are cruel).

    I had a very hard childhood, so I don’t really remember a lot. My heart breaks for her and I don’t know how else to help her.

    • lottie says:

      Hi Maria,
      How many people are in that school? Wow it is a heck of a lot of people to hate. And cheerleaders do they need brains NO. Your daughter does well at school, so may I suggest you encourage her to do her work and extend it sometimes into the weekend. I dont know what subjects she does. Maybe go to museums and ask another quieter girl or boy if they would like to tag along. I would ditch the medication she has her life ahead.
      So when these cheerleaders go for job interviews or the like and are asked their hobbies they can say cheerleaders, great but no thanks goodbye.Your daughter will probably have something to talk about at her interview. What the heck are cheerleaders??? Take care Lottie

  3. delali says:

    i also lost my best friend. we had alot of frictions that really hurt me. i called off the friendship out of hurt. i went to her later and said i wanted her back but she doesnt want me any longer. i miss her soo much. what do i do.

  4. Tanja says:

    I worry already about my son’s friendships. He is only 5 turning 6. He has three friends, none of them good friends. His father and I don’t have many friends.

    It is hard to explain to a 13 yr old your life experiences, but I would try. I learned that friendships come and go. I am not friends with anyone that I was friends with when I was 13. I have no idea what my old friends are doing now. It seems like another dimension that I lived in. When it comes to friends, I have lived in a few dimensions. I still talk to two friends from high school. We get together with our families once a year. One of those friends lives only half an hour or 20 minutes away from me by car, but we only see each other once a year when our other friend visits from the States.

    But, as your daughter gets older, she will meet many people from school, from work and eventually hang out with that one boy in uni or where ever she meets him, she may get married and have a family and then life gets too busy to just “hang out” with friends. When I think of my parents, they had a lot more friends than I ever did. They would have dinner parties almost every week end. But, those faces would change, it was not always the same people, we moved to another neighbourhood, friends moved away etc. So, faces always changed and years went by without speaking those friends names that my parents once had. However, when my dad was hit by a car and in ICU, I saw those old friends that I had not seen since I was a child, now here I was with my husband and kids of my own. At my dad’s funeral, it was filled with those old faces that we used to have at those dinner parties. My friend from kindergarten was there when she read about my dad’s passing. Of course, we exchanged emails and we communicated for a while after his funeral, but time went by and now we have not talked in a year and I don’t know what they are doing anymore, but I remember them. My husband is the same, doesn’t talk to any of his old friends, except one and only because my sister is married to him. Friends change. Some times in life you will have a lot and other times you may have none.

    Good luck. If there is a way to tell your daughter that she will have many differing friendships over time, some will drift a part on it’s own and then connect maybe at another time. Some may break off more harshly than others and wither away and teach her a lesson. Hopefully, she doesn’t have too many of those. But, her family will always be there and later on marriage partner and she will create her own family, whatever family dynamic she chooses, eventually something will stick, but all relationships take work and commitment and these are things she will learn with age and time.

  5. Hurtingformyson says:

    Hi there
    I am so glad that I have found this post. My 14yr old son is going through the same sort of thing – where he was once included in going out bike riding with all the kids to all of a sudden nobody is calling him to go out anymore. He never gets invited to any of the parties and gets left out quite often. I have noticed that whenever we are at a school function, when the boys are all together, my son will walk over to start talking to the group of kids and they all break away from him. This is so stressful and painful to watch, especially because these kids have all grown up together and are ‘friends’. He gets hurt as well, but will never say anything to me! I am constantly asking him if he is okay or if he needs to talk and he is always saying that he is okay and to leave him alone.
    I do not know what to do anymore – I lay awake at nights thinking what could have gone wrong with the situation and how I am in pain for him.
    Any suggestions?

  6. Christy says:

    Hi Faith and Amy,
    Faith I am so sorry to read this about your
    Daughter. I really don’t understand why teens
    Adults or how any person can just stop a relationship with out cause, maybe in their mind they have a reason. I am sure your daughter will make new friends and stronger ones.
    This same thing is happening to my teen son but instead of the friends not talking to him anymore, it’s what they say to him that is not how friends talk to each other. My son was at a party last night, he was one of four at this party. Two of the boys that he goes to school with are supposed to be his friends. Just kept telling him that he isn’t strong enough and he is a spoiled rich kid and won’t ever me able to get into the college he wants because he doesn’t like to study. And so on.. My son is kind hearted and won’t give it back to them. He now just doesn’t want to have anything to do with them. I understand why now.
    My son doesn’t have any other friends that invite him over or to do stuff with. He plays the piano but besides that and golf he doesn’t do anything. He is almost 15 and I am so worried that he doesn’t have any friends. He knows all the kids in his very small school but the two he called friends are the ones from last night. Help? We have tried church groups but he said no one will talk with him. He told him that he would need to talk to people first sometimes. My son is tall and really nice looking and quite around others. He is really smart and a really good kid that doesn’t want to break any rules! I am very proud of this! We live out on from others on a lot of land so neighbors aren’t really a option. Any advice would be great on my son and these so called friends and finding new ones.
    Thank you,

    • amy feld says:

      Does your son seem depressed or upset by his lack of friends? Some kids prefer to socialize one on one rather than as a group. Perhaps your son falls into this category. I always say teachers have a wealth of information about children’s social skills and what’s typical and atypical. The older the kids get, the more teachers and the less individual time teachers have to get to know the kids, though.
      Have you tried asking him to invite a friend over? If he’ll do that, you might be able to observe their interactions to see if there’s something off. If your son becomes withdrawn, depressed or if he starts having problems eating or sleeping, I’d take him to the doctor and get a referral to a therapist.

      • amy feld says:

        This was meant for the post above yours.

      • hurtingformyson says:

        I have inquired with his teacher in the past and she has indicated that he is in constant need of these boys attention and has become to the point of irritating to the classmates for their attention. She had indicated that he has behaviour issues because of it and it has become bothersome to his class mates. She had chalked it down to maturity.
        Today is his last day at school and I am so happy that the year has ended and he is moving on to a different high school then the rest. He was the one who chose a different high school then what his friends are going to. It’s like he wanted a new beginning and/or separation from everyone. I am not sure because he doesn’t share his feelings to me very often. WE have nice talks when we are alone and in the car…he opens up to me and talks about what different kids at school, however I keep it light as I don’t want him to close off communication.

        • Amy F says:

          Have you shared his teacher’s concerns with him (not necessarily telling him these were the teacher’s observations). You could give him suggestions on how to take a step back and be less demanding. If you have any examples from your own life, you can use them. Talk about him using listening skills to figure out what his friends are saying when in conversation. Talk about sharing the limelight.
          Time will tell whether this is a maturity issue, but it sounds to me like he needs some direction to improve his social skills because if he gets into a pattern of alienating his peers it might be hard to break.

          • hurtingformyson says:

            We have spoken to him when it was brought to our attention. It just seems like he is tuning out. I’m not sure on how to handle this anymore as grade 8 has come to a close and it is now the start of a new chapter. Should I wait to see what happens in high school – or what actions can I take now? How can I help him improve his social skills when he is not willing to listen?

            • Amy F says:

              I’d take him for counseling. Sometimes kids will open up to a neutral third party.
              I wouldn’t wait to see how he does in high school. He has a great opportunity to make a good first impression. If he doesn’t, some of his peers might not give him a second chance and the pattern he had in eighth grade will continue,

              • hurtingformyson says:

                How do you recommend that I approach him on starting counseling? And how do I find a reputable one?

                • Amy F says:

                  I would ask your pediatrician for a recommendation. If you have friends whose kids have been in therapy, they might also be a resource.
                  Tell your son that you want him to start his new school fresh and on the right foot. You know he’s a likable, smart, funny kid, and you want to be sure that he’s able to show that to his peers in a way that they’ll also notice this wonderful qualities about him. He might say he doesn’t need to talk to someone, so tell him to give it a try and if the therapist agrees, he doesn’t have to go. Approach him as you would for any medical appointment.

    • amy feld says:

      Reading your post, I can’t help to wonder if your son is having problems because he doesn’t drink and his friends do. He’s at an age where many parties serve alcohol and or marijuana.
      I would look into potential friends in piano and golf because shared interests is a great basis for a friendship.

    • lottie says:

      Hi Christy,
      I am really sorry you are hurting for your son.Stop worrying about him.

      So he ONLY plays the piano and golf and is smart, tall, nice looking, quiet, and respectful towards others. Amazing. Plus he is surrounded by land, if it your land it probably will be his one day. Lucky lad.

      I would encourage the music and the golf.

      One day your son will be surrounded by girls and have the pick.He has his life ahead of him. Stop fretting about two daft lads who are so obviously jealous.Lottie

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