When friends turn into mean girls: advice for my daughter
"WHY do some girls have to be so mean?" my daughter asked as she threw herself into the car after school.
This year she's been on the receiving end of some nastiness from old friends who don't like her talking to girls in another "group".
Yes, it really is as petty as it sounds. But it is also a huge issue when you are 16. Miss 16 is in "trouble" with her friends for talking to girls not deemed cool enough to be in their group.
And when they find out she's been socialising with them out of school - well, that's a whole different level of trouble.
Not that they ever say too much to her face…. Oh no teenage girls are the masters of the freeze out technique.
The big chill is usually started by one or two girls and then everyone has to choose a "side".
Then the exiled friend and her couple of brave supporters are frozen out of social events, conversations and even their spot in the lunch area.
The freeze out is nearly always teamed with the bitchy whisper - you know the comments where you can tell that something was said because everyone around them starts to laugh and look at you but you can't tell exactly what was said.
And it's not just limited to the lunch breaks. These mean girls manage to keep it up in class as well.
And then there's Facebook - one of the most powerful weapons available to today's mean girls.
I guess her friends think my girl has brought all this on herself. Maybe she did but it was with my blessing.
So what did she do wrong?
At the start of the year Miss 16 decided to broaden her circle of friends so that by the end of Year 12 she would have a wider and more varied group of mates instead of the tight-knit but controlling group she'd spent most of the Year 11 with.
There was no break up or major falling out as she still likes these girls (most of the time) but once the old friends saw her talking to different people the "freeze out" and bitchiness began.
She's survived the big chill so far by keeping her cool and not retaliating.
The really good news is that a couple of the new friendship look like they are a better fit for my girl who is finally realising that she doesn't have a lot in common with her old friends.
Miss 16 asked me if it was like that when I went to school and at first I was certain that it was not. But then I took off the rose-coloured glasses and really thought about my high school days.
As I started to remember some of the nonsense that went on and the fights between friends and the way some people were treated I realised it probably was just as bad as my daughter is finding it.
There were always those "unwritten" rules about who could be friends with whom and who was cool, who was deemed to be popular and who was not and never would be.
I fell somewhere between average and almost popular so didn't suffer too badly but I remember some girls who must have hated high school and the way they were treated.
And then I had to ask myself the hard question: Was I ever a mean girl?
I hope the answer is no but time has a way of altering our version of the truth so maybe there were days when I behaved in ways I would not be proud of today.
So what did I tell my daughter?
The best advice I had for her is: treat others as you would like to be treated and behave in a way that you will be proud of today and in years to come.
I've also tried to tell her that it doesn't matter which group she's in right now because in just a couple of months high school will be over and the people she thought she would be her friends forever will fade into the background as she meets more new people at uni.
Time will prove me right but my words are really not much help to her right now.
How do you help your teens deal with friends who turn into mean girls? Comment below.