My 11-year-old daughter has been friendly with a group of girls in our neighborhood for years. But recently, they seem to be pulling away, leaving her out of get-togethers more often than not. And, quite frankly, their interests seem to be moving away from hers, too. My daughter is still very “young:” She’s happy to play flashlight tag and make jewelry from bead kits, whereas the other girls’ interests seem to be leaning more toward boys and teen fashion. Last weekend, my daughter learned that these girls had a slumber party without her. She moped around all weekend. I feel terrible for her, but I’m not sure how I can help. Thoughts? — Name withheld
Girl relationships are some of the hardest to navigate. It starts at a very early age and, as you know, can even be difficult in adult years. I saw what’s happening to your daughter happen to my daughter, Grace. First of all, it seems that the two of you are talking about how she feels. That’s most important—that she can come to you and express herself so you know where her mind is. Even though you want to be the “fixer,” don’t be. Instead, empower her to decide how to proceed. Ask her how she feels about these girls and the things they are interested in and what she is interested in. You may help her see that the friendship has fizzled naturally. It’s also important for your daughter not to see that you are upset by this because it will feed into her feelings of rejection.
I always remind my daughters, Grace and Paige, that friends come and go. In this life they will end up with one or two who last a lifetime. Not being invited to that party may have been the best thing to happen to her because what they were doing or talking about may have made her feel uncomfortable. Remind your daughter that you can’t make someone like you. And perhaps this signals it may be time for her to move on to other girls with interests similar to hers and to reach out to some new people. This does not mean that she has to completely give up the current girls who did not invite her to the party. They now become acquaintances—on the periphery.
I would also discourage your daughter from discussing this on social media or getting into discussions with them or other girls about who is friends with whom. Just let it go and move on. If she mopes again, the two of you go out and do something silly together. Grace told me to tell you this: “Tell your daughter to keep her youth. The girls who do more ‘kid things’ will be more creative in the long run. The ‘cool’ kids don’t always get very far.”
Hope this helps. BC
Lisa Robinson is a news anchor for WBAL-TV
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