Goooood morning, Mini-Women! I want you to meet my friend Zondra. We have been friends for (wait for it ...) 42 YEARS. We met in college and have been huge buds ever since. She's visiting me right now (and just like Maeryn, she loves her a cake pop from Starbucks) and we keep saying how super glad we are that we've worked through a lot of things togethr and stayed friends. Trust me, there have been some Friendship Faux Pas moments between us, but we've kept forgiving and fixing and becoming even closer because of that.
You might not still be BFFs with your current friends 42 years from now, but Zondra's and my story shows you that friendships don't have to die because somebody makes a mistake.
So, let's look at Friendship Faux Pas #2 again: when a friend teases you until it hurts. It seems like you have some experience:
ALYSSA was teased about her singing and didn't sing in public for a long time after that.
MAGGIE's friends teased her for liking a guy they considered "weird" and "dorky", to the point where she tried to make herself not have a crush on him and ignored him.
LARISSA's friends dissed her because her grades were bad when (a) they weren't and (b) she's trying really hard to do her best. The teasing was so bad she cried for "being stupid."
Here's what we're seeing:
* when a BULLY teases you, you consider the source and it's easier to believe what she's saying isn't true (For help with bullies, visit here on Wednesdays after school to be part of our Tribelet. And yes, ABBY, you're in!)
* when a FRIEND teases you, it's like, "Wait ... she KNOWS me, so this must be the truth."
* it hurts that your friend is putting you down, even supposedly in fun
* AND because the teasing is coming from your friend, you try to change yourself so you can STAY friends
That's human nature and I can totally understand it. But ... that doesn't mean we shouldn't change that up.
Let's start with what needs to change in YOU:
* REALLY look at what you're being teased about and see if there's some truth in it. (that doesn't mean it's okay for your friend to tease you; we'll get to that in a minute) Go to a grown-up you trust and say, "Do you see this in me?'
For example, if your friends are teasing you about your singing, go to your youth choir leader and say, "Tell me the truth .. am I a bad singer? Should I keep doing solos?"
* If there is some truth in what they say -- it turns out you DO interrupt a lot or chew with your mouth open -- ask your friend to HELP you with that, but in a nicer way. She could tug on her ear lobe at the lunch table when you start talking and munching your PBJ at the same time or put her hand on your arm when you bust right into what somebody is saying.
* If there's no truth to it, get a grown-up to help you figure out WHY your friend is poking at you. Did Maggie's friends say her crush was a dork out of jealousy because THEY didn't have a guy who liked them? Or because they get all freaked out by anybody who is "different?" Or because they can't see beyond whether a guy is cute?
* THEN say to your friend something like: "I get why you're teasing me about this, but that doesn't make it okay."
* In either case, let your friend or friends know teasing hurts both you and your friendship. Ask them to stop. Period.
* If a friend dumps you because you "can't handle teasing" -- that will hurt too. But seriously, do you want to hang out with someone who doesn't respect you and what you choose to like? What you do that's really you? How hard you're trying, even though you're not perfect (because who is?)
* Besides, real friends will get it and the teasing will stop. If it starts up again, all you have to say is, "Do you remember when we said you weren't goig nto do that any more?"
* While all this is going on, pray for your friends and for your friendship. Jesus totally gets this. Writing about it in your Talking to God Journal will really help. Trust me on that.
What if you don't do the above?
* Like ALYSSA you may "hide your light under a bushel" and NOT do what GOD wants you to do because your FRIENDS might make fun of you.
* Like MAGGIE you might miss out on another great friendship, one that could last longer and be deeper and more honest than the one you have with girls who hurt you with their teasing.
*Like LARISSA you might start believing you're stupid (or lame or obnoxious or whatever). None of us can do our best when people are laughing at our efforts.
Are you ready to give this a try? Think of that thing you have been or are being teased about (even by a sister or brother) and go through the steps, one by one. Tell us what happens.
That could take some time, so if you want to comment right NOW, tell us whether you think this COULD work with your friends. Be honest. It's okay to say, "I can't IMAGINE myself saying that." Then maybe I can help some more. I might make this sound simple, and it is, but I also know it isn't easy.
Have a great weekend -- do your steps -- make a comment -- and I'll see you here Tuesday!