Politics of Friendship

Its Sunday morning and I am just starting my second cup of coffee as inspiration hits. My younger daughter had a sleeping buddy over for a night of popcorn, popcorn, bad movies, lots of conversation and a little bit of sleep.

Her little friend arrived around 7pm and that was the last I saw of both of them until this morning when they surfaced for breakfast, lovingly prepared by my wife (baked french toast, strawberries, maple syrup).

My little daughter befriended this girl this year (she is only here in the city with her family for a few years as her mom is going to school here). Up until this point, my little lady has had a close friendship with another girl who she has considered as her best buddy.

But along came this little girl who seems to have taken both my daughter and her best buddy by storm. It turns out that they both adore her and want to spend every waking moment with her. I cannot comment if this girl is as great as everyone makes her out to be. Its not for me to say since she is 11 and I don’t have any 11 year old girls as friends.

What is starting to happen between my daughter and her best buddy is a sort of competition to win the affection of this little girl and I think that her request to have this little girl sleep over at our house last night was done so as a bit of a slap in the face to her best friend.

I have to admit, deservedly so….

The old adage, “two’s company, three’s a crowd” holds true…especially in the school yard.

My daughter’s best friend is a very big personality. An only child, she has been raised with the exclusive love of her parents…no other sibling distracting attention away from her. So, she sometimes believes that she is entitled to everything she asks for…regardless of how it might impact others.

I have been witness to several occasions where my daughter has come home from school, in tears because her best buddy has stolen this girl’s attention away from her. Her bigger personality has often proven too much for my daughter to handle and as a result, she has been denied access to her and has been left in the dust by her best friend.

I have also found out, though, that my little daughter is not always the victim. She can be as manipulative and selfish as her best buddy. It does sometimes go both ways. I have found this out not only through her best buddy’s mother (who is a good friend of ours) but also through the school teacher who has acted as mediator to get these two girls to make up and move on.

So when these little wars go on, I have to wonder if this new little girl is really worth it? Is she that great? Is she worth two girls who are best friends getting into a fight over.

While I don’t know the answer to this question, I think I am witnessing a very common social dynamic that occurs not only in the school yard but also elsewhere in life.

I was in a similar kind of friendship triangle when I was younger. As is often the case, there is always one weaker personality in the triangle who is usually the one who gets hurt or left out….you’ll never guess which one of us sometimes felt left out?

Can the effects be damaging? No…not really. Mostly because the two other members of the triangle are your friends. The triangle develops because they all like one another alot.

The only way for this kind of dynamic to survive is for the members of the triangle to respect one another
which can be a hard thing to remember when you are 10 years old. I guess that is where us parents come in with the words of wisdom.

Or, as I said once to my daughter when she accused her best buddy of hogging her new found friend, “I am sure there is more than enough of her to go around for everyone to enjoy”.



About I'm Just A Dad

Stephen Gosewich is just a Dad (he is a former Enlightened Male but decided to change the name because when you search Enlightened Male, "other...wink, wink" are displayed. He spends his days during the week as a working stiff. At all other times, he just enjoys hanging out with his best friend and wife and their two very active and inspiring daughters.
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