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Dr. Irene S. Levine Headshot

Middle school is tough on friendships

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QUESTION

Dear Irene,

My best friend and I have been best friends since the first grade. Now we're in middle school. This new charter school opened up and my friend wants to go there even though I'm not and she's turning into a real jerk.

She's telling me I should lose weight (even though my doctor says I need to gain weight). She's wearing a ton of makeup and tells me I don't have no fashion sense. She says I need to use teeth whitener, and if I ask her if she wants to come to my house, she says "You can't make me. We live in a free country. Don't tell me what to do. I'm not your servant." And then I say "whatever" and walk away.

She's like turning into a real snob. I remember in elementary she was so nice, and I remember all the fun times we had together. I have no clue what to do. Please help me.

Sincerely,
Tamara


ANSWER

Hi Tamara,

In terms of friendship, middle school is one of the toughest times for both boys and girls (and their parents and teachers, too, I might add ☺). Young people are trying to discover their likes, dislikes, and the people they want to become. Because of this, they hang out with different groups and often drop friends so they can hang out with kids who make them feel cool.

In your case, you and your best friend are about to go to two different schools which means you won't be able to spend as much time together. It sounds like your friend has become pretty bossy and opinionated - perhaps because she's a little bit nervous about making such a big change.

If you want to try to work things out, sit down with her and let her know that she says things that hurt your feelings. Maybe she isn't even aware of how harsh she can be, and a heart-to-heart talk may turn things around. Don't allow her to continue criticizing you and calling you names. If she persists in making you feeling badly about yourself, you might look at these tips for dealing with bullies.

You need to work on making some new friends who are less angry and treat you better. It's funny but even though many friendships change in middle school, the same friends often get closer in high school when they are more mature.

I hope this helps. Thanks for posting your note.

My best, Irene

Here are several prior blog posts on The Friendship Blog that might be helpful for you to read:

Middle school frenemies: Why are girls so mean?

Girl talk: Too much of a good thing?


Can this teen friendship be saved?