Friendships and changing schools

Leah and Romi have been best friends since the start of primary school. When they both found out they were going to the same secondary school they were really happy. Halfway through the first term in year 7 their friendship started to change.

1. Romi starts to spend more time with her new friend Grace than with Leah

2. Grace doesn’t seem to want to include Leah in any of the things they do together

3. This makes Leah really sad and lonely

What would you do in Leah's situation?

"Try to tell Romi that you feel left out"

Starting a conversation like this can feel delicate and intimidating. It is a good idea to try to have a conversation about how you are feeling. It is important to think about a good time and space and to choose your words carefully. It may be better to pick a time when Romi is with people other than Grace. This would avoid Grace feeling like she is being talked about behind her back. The words you use can really make a difference to how a conversation goes. Saying something like ‘Hey Romi, I’m really missing spending time with you, can we go to lunch together?’ may be better than ‘You’re spending all your time with Grace and I don’t like it’. The first one is more positive and shows kindness but the second one might feel like you are accusing both Romi and Grace and could make the situation more difficult. Practising what you’d like to say before you say it can help you feel more confident.

It is a good idea to try to positively address a situation like this before it makes you feel really sad and stressed.

"Look for new friendships in your year group"

Sometimes situations like this can work themselves out. New friendships can feel exciting and bring new experience and interests into a person’s life. It is quite normal when lots of different primary school pupils go to one large secondary school that friendships change. Some people like to stay close to their primary school friends. This can feel safe and show the other friend (best friend) your loyalty to them. Other people may want to explore new friendships and meet new people. This doesn’t mean that old friendships are less important, even if it may feel this way to the person who is ‘left out’.  If you don’t feel able to say how you feel you may want to explore starting conversations with people you’ve not met. Try to join in activities or sit on someone’s lunch table. Ask them about themselves. What are they interested in, what music do they like, how is school working out?

Finding new friendships is part of moving to a new school. Although it can feel difficult at times it can also be a really good experience. It doesn’t have to mean choosing between old and new friendships.

"Speak to Grace about your friendship with Romi"

Starting a conversation like this can feel delicate and difficult. It is important to think about a good time and place to do this. Choose your words carefully. The words you use can really make a difference to how the conversation goes. Saying something like ‘Hey Grace. I see that you and Romi are getting on really well. Maybe we could all sit together at lunch tomorrow?’ may have a better outcome than ‘Why are you and Romi ignoring me and not including me in things? The first one is more positive and shows you are including Grace and being kind. The second approach might feel like you are accusing your best friend and her new friend of leaving you out when it is quite possible that they didn’t mean to. Practising what you’d like to say before you say it can help you feel more confident.

It is a good idea to try to positively deal with a situation like this before it makes you feel really sad and stressed.

"Hope that they start to include you in their conversations eventually"

This option is ok as long as it isn’t making you feel really really sad or stressed out. Sometimes people choose to not say anything because they are scared that it may cause an argument or make things worse. It is ok to avoid a conversation about it if you feel ok, but if you don’t it may not be the right thing for you. A really good friend would probably want to know you missed them. It is possible that a friend like Romi hasn’t noticed that you are sad or even realise you feel left out. You could try and ask the friend to meet you at break time to hang out. You may even want to say it is ok for the new friend to come too. This shows that you want to spend time with your best friend and that you are happy to include her new friend too.

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