Helloo, Mini-Women! It is SOOOOO good to be back -- again. Man, I've been traveling a lot this spring, haven't I? My trip to California was WONDERFUL. Got tons of pictures and ideas for the new three-book series I'm doing for YOU!!! Research is one of my favorite parts of being a writer, especially when the characters start telling me where they want to live and what they like to do. That's when it REALLY gets interesting.
You're part of that too, you know. Your comments on the posts and on the advice from your Big Sisters is helping me shape the stories so they'll really benefit you and what you're dealing with. Thanks, ladies. After going through a week's worth of comments -- I'm filled all the way UP!
I also hope the posts are helpful to you right NOW, which is why I'm going to use the questions you asked in your comments in my next few posts for you. For example:
AMELIA wants to know how to talk less and listen more to her friends.
CHANTEY wants to know how to let go of a friendship that's hurting her when they've been friends for a really long time.
ANNARACHEL wants to know what to do about the on-again, off-again friend.
KATIE wants to know how to make the transition to new friends when an old friendship ends.
CHANTEY wants to know how to talk to a friend who's drifting away when they're never one-on-one.
BRITTANY wants to know how to get a BOY to stop bullying her.
I'm going to take those friendship issues one at a time and offer some help. If you have any other friendship problems you'd like help with here on the blog -- the kind that make you want to hide like little Maeryn under her "cave blanket" -- please post a comment about that in the next few days. This is YOUR blog and I want it to speak to YOU and where you're struggling.
Before we go on, I need to welcome some newcomers to Tween You and Me (something you have all done a great job of, mini-women). Welcome EMMA ADELINE, JIAVANNA and SIERRA. Jiavanna has already done this but Emma Adeline and Sierra, you'll need to click on the blog rules on the top right and comment from there that you've read them and get where we're coming from. If you have any questions you can email me. We're so glad you're here.
Okay, on to Friendship Issue #1: How to be a better listener with your friends
WHAT THE PROBLEM LOOKS LIKE: You have so much to share with your friends (because you save up everything to tell them) that when you're with them you're like a movie on fast forward trying to get it all out. Soon your friends' eyes start to glaze over and you can tell they're getting antsy so you ask THEM a question, but while they're talking, you can't help thinking of the next thing you want to say. Which means you don't actually hear a word they say . . .
WHAT HAPPENS AS A RESULT: Your friends interrupt you so they can get a syllable in now and then. One of them might even tell you to for Pete's sake take a BREATH. You realize you don't know anything about what's going on with them because, um, you aren't listening. Even your BFF will tell things to her other friends that she used to share with you. Why would she tell you, when she knows you're not really hearing her?
HOW TO GO TO GOD WITH IT: Obviously you'll want to ask for forgiveness and obviously that means repenting: changing direction. As AMELIA pointed out, you can't just tell yourself to shut up because it just doesn't work. You need God's help big time. So to change direction, tell God how much you care about your friends. Ask God to help you remember those things when you're with them, so that listening to them will be what you WANT to do. Also ask God to show you other ways to express all those things you gotta get out. That could be journaling (that's what I do, since I have that can't-stop-talking issue myself!) or drawing or going to your fave outside alone place and talking out loud.
YOUR NEXT MOVE: Apologize to your friends for jacking your jaws so much you haven't listened to them the way you want to. Tell them you're trying to be a better listener because you really do care about what they have to say. Ask them to give you a signal when you've gone on too long, like tugging their earlobe or twirling their hair. Ask them what they'd like to tell you; then have one friend hold an object (a pen, a hair clip, whatever) and as long as she's holding it, you know it's not your turn to talk; when she puts it down, someone else can pick it up and have her say. Your turn will come around, but just make sure it isn't longer than anybody else's turn!
WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT: Your friends will know you're sincere and they'll help you change. You'll find out all kinds of cool stuff about them. They might even help you with your problems the way you want to help them. After a while you won't need that object any more to remind you not to talk, because you'll be too busy listening.
Thanks for listening to ME on this! If you want to post a comment today, tell us (a) whether you tend to be a talker or a listener and why you think that is and (b) whether this post is helpful in your friendship situation. And don't forget to post any other friendship problems you're having.