February 17, 2011

Confessions of a Former Mean Girl

In the past few weeks I have read two middle grade novels (Girl's Best Friend and The Hot List) that have included the issue of girls growing a part from their best friends in middle school. This is such a common thing--in real life and in novels. And as I was reading the second one (The Hot List) I started remembering my own seventh grade year and how my best friend and I grew apart. And I started looking at the situation from her point of view and realized, I was the one who left her. And UGH. I didn't like that mirror.

Here's the situation:
Tami moved into my school in fourth grade and we became best friends pretty quickly. We had a blast together. Back then our town had a separate seventh grade school (we had K-6 schools, one seventh grade school, a junior high with eighth and ninth grade, then one high school 10-12 grade)(I still live in this town and the whole thing has changed--K-5 elementary, a middle school (6-8) and two high schools 9-12). Anyway, this was normally an awesome year for kids since they were the only class in the seventh grade school. It was also the introduction to school sports. I wasn't an overly popular (cute) person, but I was very athletic--and that gave me some prestige.

So, I don't think I "dumped" Tami to be popular, in my mind, we just grew apart because I did sports and she didn't. However, I am sure in her mind, I dumped her. I know I was never mean to her, but I imagine that I also wouldn't have stuck up for her if I heard other girls making fun of her. So, this makes me feel really bad. I bet her memories of the situation are so different from mine!

She still lives in town here and we are very friendly when we run into each other. Two of her kids go to the middle school that I work in so we see each other often. I don't think I want to ask her what her memories of the situation are, but when I see similar things happening to girls I work with, I just want to hug them and let them know it will all be okay.

By the way, doesn't it seem like this happens way more in middle school than high school. I mean, in high school your friend group is pretty well formed and it takes so much more to have people turn against you, don't you think?

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