Help! This Friend Drama is TOO Much! What Can I Do?
Drama with friends when you’re in Middle School and High School can be a very normal part of growing up, until it goes too far. So it’s important for you to know that some friend drama is going to happen, and to know how to keep it from getting too crazy.
Why Does Friend Drama Happen?
It’s normal for people to sometimes disagree or get upset with each other, 😠this even happens to your parents. When you’re a Teen/Pre-teen these differences and disagreements can shake your world; 1. Because you’re just learning how to deal with them, and 2. Because all the changing and growing in your body and brain can make your feelings and reactions even bigger.
Three Main Types of Friend Drama
- Some friends get upset about every little thing, “She’s so emotional”
One of the things you’re learning is that people can have different feelings about things. You didn’t mean to hurt your friend’s feelings when you said that her shirt👚 didn’t match her pants👖. You thought you were being a good friend by helping her with her fashion choices, but now she’s mad at you, and you feel mad too!👿 Why are you mad too? This is important to know, because this is the point where a simple misunderstanding can turn into bigger drama. Maybe you’re mad because you think of yourself as a nice person and a good friend, but now your friend is calling you mean. Ouch! That hurts!
2. Some friends say mean things about others, “She’s such a bully” 👊
Lesson number two at Friendiversity, some people are still learning how to be kind. 💖
Why do they do this?
There are lots of reasons, and here are a few that might help you understand your friend better.
a. They just don’t know better yet, they say everything they think without realizing that it will hurt someone’s feelings. During the pre-teen years especially kids can be very impulsive thinkers and just blurt things out. Just let them know, “Hey that hurt my feelings.
b. They’re having a bad day, or a bad life. 🙁😞When people feel unhappy on the inside, some people hold it in and others grump at everyone around them. If your friend seems to be having a bad day or a hard time at home, maybe encourage them to talk about their feelings.
c. It seems like their personality changed. Your friend used to be so nice but now they seem mean and grumpy all the time. When people get depressed or anxious they can get like this.
For Teens/Pre-teens all the changes in your bodies and brains can make you more likely to get depressed or anxious. If your friend suddenly seems more mean, encourage them to talk to an adult about their feelings, they may need more help than you can give them.
The most important thing to remember about a “mean” friend is to not let them get to you. When someone says mean things to us we feel hurt because we feel like there might be something wrong with us, like what they said might be true. We also worry that they don’t like us and that hurts too! When you’re dealing with a “mean friend” you have to remember that they are mean because they feel bad inside and it’s not really about you.
Can someone like this still be a good friend? Sometimes you can save your friendship with a mean friend if you can tell them when you feel hurt by their words or actions and they are willing to listen to you. But if you try 2 or 3 times to talk to them and you still feel hurt and sad around them, you need to take some space away and maybe just try spending less time with them.
3. Friends today👍, Enemies tomorrow👎
Friendships change super fast at your age and that can be hard! I remember when I was in High School and my best friend, who had been my best friend since 6th grade decided she wanted to be best friends with someone else. I was devastated!
Now, I know that it’s normal for kids to want to try out having different types of friends. It’s part of finding out who you are and what you like.
But at the time it just felt like she didn’t like me anymore and there was something wrong with me. When friends come and go it’s ok to feel sad and it can help to find someone you can talk to.
If you talk to another friend they will understand how sad you feel. If you talk to an adult this can help too because they can help you understand that it’s not personal and that by tomorrow you might be friends again, which is what happened in my situation.
What kind of Friend are You?
It might also help you to understand your role in your friend group. You will likely even find yourself in different roles at different times.
1.The Peacekeeper 👌- You are often the mediator in disagreements between friends. You REALLY want everyone to get along.
- The Instigator🎭 – Some of your friends may describe you as a Diva. Your friends think you have a lot of good ideas, and they may copy your tastes in fashion👗, music 🎵, or other things. If the group is going to do something like go to the movies or plan a surprise birthday party it’s often your idea. You may find that you are usually at the center of friend drama.
3.The Sensitive One💖 – You often feel like your feelings are hurt by what friends say/do. You may feel left out a lot, not fully part of the group.
4.The Listener/Observer 👂– You see it all and hear it all. When friends are having troubles You are the one they talk to. They trust you and know that you have a kind and sympathetic ear.
How to use your Friend Strengths💪 to Help the group
- For the Peacekeeper 👌- You are probably good at seeing the other person’s side of the problem. Maybe you can help your friends understand each other better.
- For the Instigator🎭 – As I mentioned, you are probably often at the center of the drama. You may like it, it can be like getting to act in a play, you get to be a character and see if you like it. This is actually a VERY important part of your growth as you are learning about what kind of person you want to be in life. In fact this is so important that maybe you can let one of your other friends be the Diva once in awhile. Give them a chance to see how they like it.
- For the Sensitive One💖 – If you often feel hurt by things your friends say or do the first step for you is to check and see if these are good friends for you. Remember what I said Above, if you have tried to talk to them and you still feel hurt around them it’s time to take some space, try some different friendships where you feel more comfortable and happy. You need to take care of your own feelings before you can help others.
- The Listener/Observer👂-You might need to speak up in the group more which could be hard for you. Like the PeaceKeeper 👌 you probably understand a lot of what’s going on because people are talking to you. You don’t want to betray anyone’s confidence and you shouldn’t. You are probably a good one to help your friends understand when they are being good friends and when they are not being such great friends. All of your listening has probably given you some good insights, so share them with your group.
☘Four Things you Can do When Friend Drama Starts
Let’s review! When friend drama starts here are four simple steps to remember. These things will not always be easy to do but they will make you happier in the end, I Promise!
When friend drama starts:
- 😶Ignore it. I know it’s tempting to get involved in every drama that starts up, but if you do that it will make you crazy. So try to only get involved if it directly affects you or if a friend has asked you for help with an issue. You might be a listening ear for them or you might help them to ignore it and move on.
- Remember that 99% of what your friend says or does is not personal. These friend issues are so hard because they can feel sooo sooo personal. If someone is mad at you or disagrees with you it is logical to feel like you did something wrong or they don’t like you. When really your friends have all of their own worries, issues, and fears too. So whatever they do or say is probably 99% about their own feelings and only 1% or less related to you personally.
- Tell your friend how you feel. If you’re often feeling hurt or sad by what your friend says or does, Tell Them! And if they are a good friend they will listen and care about your feelings.
- 🚶♀️Walk away from a situation that isn’t working for you. If you can’t work things out with your friend then that is not a good situation for you. It doesn’t make you or your friend wrong, you just might need something different from a friend.
Finally, if you don’t know what to do about a situation,ask for help from adults🙋♀️. A lot of times kids don’t talk to adults about friend drama because they feel like adults aren’t understanding. Then adults can prove them right by saying unhelpful things like, “Just stay away from the drama.” If the adult you talk to isn’t helpful then find another adult. Talking to an understanding adult can be really important because like I said before adults know that what’s happening right now will pass, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Adults might also have ideas you haven’t thought of about how to handle the situation. Having a trusted adult to talk to can really help you learn about having good friendships.
I know we covered a lot but I hope it helps when the friend drama starts because you know it will!😝
NOTE TO PARENTS: If you would like more information about how to help your child with social stress or if you are concerned about your child’s emotional health,
Please Call Erica Thomas, LMFT at 707-206-8698.
*I want to offer my Thanks to the Middle Schooler who added the emojis for me, she was willing to make this article more helpful for other kids.