Why is it that girls can’t seem to cope when they find out their close friends are rejecting them?
Because as much as this sacred circle in girl world yearns for camaraderie and belonging, behind that sisterhood also comes jealousy, competition, being ostracized, and covert hidden aggression.
What adds to this is our generation’s over-involved, fix-it style of parenting. As parents reach out to me in desperate need of helping their daughters, I openly discuss how teens need to learn conflict resolution and resilience; clearly these have become lost skills as parents tend to want to fix all their problems for them. If girls are struggling, and no doubt they will, parents need to know how to “normalize” struggles. Reminding them that we too had our share of the same struggles when we were their age helps de-escalate those hard times.
Generally speaking, as a whole group, girls are bad at dealing with uncomfortable situations and conflict. They’re bad at most anything when it comes to a group. Different personalities, you’ll have the Queen Bees, Wannabes, Targets, Bystanders, Doormats with Spikes (the passive-aggressive ones), and those in-between kind (the I don’t know where I fit in kind so I’ll just follow everyone else).
If you understand the powerful role that cliques play as I often teach in my sessions, you’ll know what I mean when I talk about how complicated it is in girl world.
From good popularity to bad popularity, it’s important that girls know the impact and influence that cliques play on their decision-making skills. Learning this early on can be life-changing for them.
Insecurity breeds shame, self-doubt, loneliness and depression. When she finally embraces her own self-worth and doesn’t need to feel validated by the wrong kinds of friends, she’ll feel empowered- it’s the coming to terms with the hard realization that perhaps they weren’t your true friends to begin with. Being happy during a tough middle school and high school journey is when she realizes she doesn’t need an entourage of the try-hards and disingenuous friends, and that’s way better than just jumping in the deep end merely to survive middle school and high school just to come out alive. Having the right tools to thrive and connect with the right group means teaching her how to be socially competent and treat herself with dignity. At the end of the day, it’s about character, strength and integrity.
In this age of girl power, young ladies still fail to let go of those regressive standards, sticking around in sub-standard relationships and friendships for the mere sake of hanging on and just wanting to fit in. Since girls are prone to questioning themselves when a friendship takes a different direction, it’s important to teach her that not every friendship will meet her needs. And while we’re so busy pushing the importance of girls speaking up and advocating for themselves, sometimes it’s okay to just let go and walk away from that which no longer serves her in any way.