I knew it would happen at some point. The idyllic little bubble of 12 year-old friendships: sleepovers, crushes, instagram, movies. It doesn’t last forever.
Friendships don’t (always) last forever.
I know that.
I’ve lived that.
I expect that.
Being on the lookout for it doesn’t make it any easier to watch my own 12 year-old go through it.
To watch her walk into school, having planned to have a bunch of girlfriends spend the night, only to find out three of them are lying to her and planning their own sleepover.
And trying to get the others to join them and leave her behind.
And they’ve made sure everyone knows.
Oh, in the texts between them it’s all, “Love ya girl!” “Yeah, see ya there!” and “Can’t wait!” Until it’s not.
Then it’s, “Wait, what?” and “I don’t know” “Maybe” and “My mom said I can’t.”
It’s lying and cover-ups and laughing behind her back.
It’s lying to her face and lying to their parents.
It’s mean texts now and “It’s your fault, not ours.” It’s ganging up on her and telling others she’s saying things she’s not. It’s actively trying to get others mad at her and to bully her.
She’s running a constant defense against an onslaught of mean.
From three people she thought were her friends. Good friends.
One of the girls has been her best friend for almost two years. They spent practically every weekend together. We considered her a part of our family.
And it’s her betrayal, her active participation in and her instigation of (some of) this meanness that is the most stunning and the most hurtful.
I’ve read all the texts, I know what’s been said, and what’s being lied about.
I’ve seen the instagram posts and the ooVoo chats.
I’ve talked to some of the parents. I can’t make someone believe me when their daughter says it’s not true.
But it is, because I’ve been watching it happen. And I’ve been reading the messages to my daughter.
I want to fight back and force the parents to read all of the messages and look at what their daughters are doing.
I want to stop this meanness.
I want all of it to stop.
I want to protect my daughter.
“Be honest. Be yourself. Surround yourself with the other friendships you have.” “You are worthwhile. You are a good friend. You are better than this. You are more than this.”
I talk to her and I listen to her. I hug her when she cries and I tell her this won’t last forever.
I also tell her things will be different and situations like this will make her stronger and help her know what true friendship is.
She is strong and joyful. She is handling this better than I am.
The attacks are lessening as she doesn’t fight back and doesn’t give them ammunition.
She is finding comfort at home and with her other friends.
Her only tears now are when she says, “But I really liked being her friend.” Because she knows it’s over, even if she never really understands why.