I have been reading you’re e-zine for many years. I have a question that I really hope you can answer and I’m sure many readers have dealt with it as well.
My husband and I and 3 kids just moved to a different province 3 months ago. So that meant uprooting kids from school, friends and family. The 4 & 6 year-old boys have adjusted just fine. The 14-year-old girl has not. We moved to a small town where there are only 22 kids total in her grade. The first week was great! Everyone was very friendly and helpful and she even got invited to a sleep over birthday party in that week. And it’s been a steady downhill ever since. She has not one friend! No one will be her partner for class activities and she spends her lunch hours reading because she has no one to hang out with. She normally is a very social girl. She is friendly and caring to all around her. She is tall, pretty gets great grades and average athletic ability. How can I help her and what can I do to make her feel better? It breaks my heart to see her go through that pain of not having one friend. She says to me ‘Mom, I don’t understand why no one likes me. I’m nice to everyone, I don’t dress or look different. I’m not bugging or annoying any one person. I don’t have to be in the popular group, I just want one friend’.
I have told her that it’s not her. There is nothing wrong with her and to try to be patient and that it just takes time. I’ve told her how at times when I was a young teen I had the same thing happen to me as I went to an even smaller school and it did make me become a more strong, compassionate and caring person. She knows all that but it doesn’t really help her now. She played club volleyball this year but that didn’t really help either, as the group of girls are very competitive and my daughter wasn’t the strongest player. But she loves volleyball and did improve a lot but the girls basically ignore her and or whisper rude things that they think she doesn’t hear because she has her nose in a book.
She tells me that there are times she’d like to snap back at them when they are so rude but doesn’t because that would give them a reason to not like her. She takes being treated like crap just out of desperation of acceptance. Also like I mentioned she is very tall, curvy and beautiful and gets lots of the older boys saying hi to her and asking for her phone number. She doesn’t have a cell phone, isn’t allowed to date yet and we live on a farm 25 kms out of town so although I know what she is up to at all times, my other worry is that since she doesn’t have any girlfriends she may gravitate to anyone who does pay attention to her. I have a theory that the girls may be jealous of her but surly after 3 months some of them should have gotten over that and accept her.
My heart broke for your daughter when I read this and I honestly don’t think that I can give you any advicethat would be better than what you are already doing for her, which is exactly what I would suggest if you were a client. However, I felt moved to write your daughter a letter, which you can decide if you would liketo share with her in the hopes that it would help her. Here goes:
Dear Darling Young Woman (I’m sorry but I don’t know your name),
My name is Esther and I’m a therapist and I try to help girls and women feel good about themselves. Yourmom reached out to me because she’s concerned about your situation with the girls at school. I hope you’re not mad at her for telling me this- I sincerely feel she wants to help you in anyway possible. I could sit here and philosophize about why girls can be so mean, and that it probably means they’re jealous of you (I’m guessing they are), but I realise that probably won’t help you in your current situation.
What I’d rather do is try to give you a little bit of hope that will carry you through to your fantastic future. Like you, I went through a very similar situation around your age (and by the way, I have yet to meet any grown woman who hasn’t) and it totally sucked. Unfortunately, mean people abound and I honestly don’t know why and think it’s terribly unfair- especially when you’re just going about your business being kind to everyone and not stooping to their level of nastiness.
But I encourage you to not stoop and to keep your head up high and don’t play small (that’s what I call that sort of behaviour- “playing small”). One thing I know is that after we graduate from high school, the worldbecomes a more level playing field- thank goodness, huh? I truly believe that the sweet, quiet, sensitive people (I’m assuming you are one? Sorry if I got that wrong though) end up shining in adulthood and find very meaningful paths in life.
One thing I’ve learned in my 43 years is that true friends are hard to come by and sometimes we have periods in our lives when we are truly ‘friendless’ which bites. BUT I’ve also learned that the right friend- someone who is like us and brings out the very best in us- is totally worth waiting for and when s/he arrives, it’s so awesome! I know that you will have a friend like that someday- probably even more than one!
In the meantime, I would suggest focusing on becoming the kind of woman you want to be someday and really hone in on discovering your passions, doing what you love, and focusing on the people in your life who bring out the best in you. My guess is that is also where you will find those people who are worthy and deserving of your friendship. Hint: they’ll probably be the quiet ones who hide out a bit so you may have to make the first move towards hanging out with them.
Also, one thing I really regret in my life is getting involved with boys around your age to fill the void. Looking back, I realized that I could have been focusing instead on becoming the most fabulous person I could be by being mostly self-focused and following what made me happy and what gave meaning to my life and prepared me for a wonderful future. I realized later in life that I had a LOT of time for dating and relationships in my adult life and that there was no rush.
Hope that helps and know my dear one that you are not alone. There is a giant circle of women surrounding you in spirit who have been in your shoes and are sending you all the love and encouragement and blessings in the world.
Have a question you want me to answer?
Hey Readers! I need some questions for my “Ask Esther…” column…
Do you have a question for me or a situation that you’re struggling through that I can help you with?
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I will answer one question a month, so keep checking back to see if I’ve chosen yours!
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