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Teaching Our Daughters How to Deal With Friendship Drama and Social Pressures on School Campuses

Why is it that so many girls and young adult women struggle to respond when they’re put on the spot as a friend pressures them with a question that they’re not necessarily comfortable with in answering?

Girls on school campuses express the meanness and manipulation in their friendship circles.

An example might look like this:

Your friend (example): What’s up with you? Why are you not talking to “Jenny”? (another friend of theirs)

Many times girls share with me that the messenger girl in the group often is the one scoping out info so she can be the messenger hero. This is merely a tactic of the common hidden aggression in girls - where gossip translates into friendship drama and typical of the tween and teen years. Sounds all too familiar, right?

The “messenger” and “queen bee” roles create unnecessary conflict and drama for many girls, especially in groups. How do you help your daughters manage their social anxiety in situations like this?

What I convey to girls and young women who experience these struggles is to learn how to rechannel their anxiety into positive social outcomes and rewrite the narrative when it comes to feeling the need to reply or respond immediately to friends or groups of girls.

When you learn how to not instantly respond (which girls are inherently wired to do) and take a deep breath to gather your thoughts, dealing with the discomfort to answer, refusing to succumb to the manipulative pressures of responding, you’re also letting the other friend know that you choose not to fall victim to the relational manipulation. A girl who has a strong inner core will know how to not put herself in a compromising position with quick fix responses just to benefit others.

When you learn how to shut down the messenger or queen bee, it gives you a feeling of empowerment. If a friend really wants feedback from you, she would ask you herself, not her entourage. This practice takes some careful insight into taking care of yourself, eliminating girl drama, and feeling confident enough to step outside your comfort zone.

Girl world is often scary, presenting itself with lots of scenarios that can cause so much emotional and physical stress. I continue addressing some common questions for girls and young women struggling to overcome the daily obstacles they’re faced with. The light at the end of the tunnel is when we can help our daughters prioritize meaningful and life-enhancing relationships, and weeding out the life-depleting ones - clearly a life skill that will transition so nicely into all of her adult relationships.

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