Showing posts with label friendship. Show all posts
Showing posts with label friendship. Show all posts

"I Don't Like You!"

It perplexes me when kids say they do not like someone.  My family and I, we do not dislike anyone unless someone has done something to hurt us.  Our default setting is that we like you and it takes a lot of reprogramming to change that.

I know in high school and, sadly, well beyond people begin to judge others by things like what they look like or imagined slights, but I feel like it is so strange for young kids to have it in them to dislike someone for no reason at all.

I am bringing this up because of a situation with my daughter.  She has a good friend that she has been close to since pre-school.  This friend also has someone in her neighborhood that she plays with.  So when my daughter goes over there, they all play together.  Therefore, my daughter considers this other girl her friend also.  We see this girl around sometimes at different activities in town.  She ran in a fun run with my son and my daughter cheered her on.  She has been at events at the library and my daughter has played with her.  She has been at girl scout parties and dances and my daughter will ask her to come over and play with her and her troop.

So, recently my daughter’s BFF informed her that this other girl said she does not like her.  I guess my daughter asked the girl if this was true the next time she saw her and the girl bluntly replied that, “Yes, I don’t like you.”

A rolled with it. She went back to her friends and had a good time.  She told me about the incident very nonchalantly.  But still, OUCH!  I mean, that hurts when someone says that, especially if you did nothing to deserve it!

Then there are other scenarios like with certain groups of friends that she has where the girls like to gang up and leave one person out all the time.  The person who gets left out usually varies.  One person will not be invited and the rest of the girls will talk badly about that girl while she is not there.  I do not allow this.  If A is having a sleepover or playdate she is to invite them all so as not to hurt anyone’s feelings.  If it is not possible to have them all, then she only has one of them and will invite the others one at a time at other times.  Leaving just one person out is not an option.  I also correct the kids if I hear them talking badly about a friend, so now they usually whisper as if I do not know what they are doing.  Thankfully I do not hear my daughter participate in this.  The most I have heard her say is “Wow that’s mean,” or “Oh my goodness,” as a response to the gossip.  

Last year my daughter was the one who was usually left out.  The other 3 or 4 girls would traipse off and go have sleepovers, openly talking about in front of my kid. Sometimes they would leave her standing alone at an event and go whisper together.  Again, A never expressed that she was upset by this and she never commented on it, but it made me hurt for her.  

Despite what has been done to her, we continue to not do the same to others.  I have heard some of her “friends” be downright cruel to her at times.  There are certain ones who are really sweet and others who just insult everyone and say things like “You’re an idiot!”  I have seen my daughter tell her friend that she really has to use the bathroom and then watch her friend run into the bathroom ahead of her just to cause her suffering.  Yet still I remind myself that these are children and they know not what they do.  We don’t want to cause them pain.  They must already have some pain inside to lash out this way.  Even the kids who disrespect me and refuse to follow my rules, I still do not leave them out.

This is partially why I think it was so difficult for A to excel in school.  She thought of everyone as her friend, but some days she would come home crying because she got picked on, insulted, or ignored.  I am not saying my kid is perfect by any means, but I honestly do not think she ever tries to hurt anyone on purpose.

I think this bothers me so much because it triggers memories of my own childhood.  It was probably later for me, junior high or so, when random girls who I did not even know would decide for no reason that they disliked me.  They’d say to me, “I don’t like you.”  They’d insult my clothes, make fun of how I walked or played sports, and call me names.  Like Abs, I was dyspraxic.  I was too much in my own head and had little control over my body.  This gave other kids a lot of material.  Inside I was so upset, pathetically wondering what I had done to deserve this.  But on the outside I closed myself off from everyone.  I also withdrew from most activities so I would never stand out and be on display to be scrutinized.  I was a straight A, super smart student and I dropped out of taking honors classes so I could no longer be called a nerd.  Eventually, my friends and I, we who had been hurt at home and at school, sort of dropped out of everything altogether and made a conscious decision to stop caring about anything.   We became party girls,we laughed at everything and we stopped trying.  This took the pain away.

If I had been taken out of school and homeschooled my life would have been so different.  I could have concentrated on my work and continued to excel.  I would have wound up in college early and I would have been a success.  I don’t have any regrets because I love my family, I love my life, but I sure don’t want my kids to have to experience what I did.

The thing is, I never thought A would experience this.  She is so friendly and outgoing.  I was shy and awkward, a glutton for punishment.  I let things bother me, I cried a lot.  A genuinely likes everyone and if someone is mean to her she just moves on until that person gets over it.  She goes out of her way to talk to people if they are alone, even when it is uncomfortable to do so.  She makes sure to keep in contact with all of her friends, even those she meets on vacations who live far away.  She just is a natural at friendship.  For me, it was always hard because I was always so afraid to trust and put myself out there.

I just do not understand how kids can be so mean to one another or why their parents allow it.  Their parents know full well when their kids are excluding someone and talking badly about them and they somehow give this a stamp of approval.  They even participate by not inviting the other child!  Why?  Probably because they do the same thing to the other moms, too.

I guess if you get a high from putting us down and treating us poorly and if that is what makes you feel good about yourself, all I can say is, “Fine, glad to be of service.”  I suppose you are doing me a service as well for bringing these painful memories to the surface to be dealt with.  Personally, I do not like your brand of fun, and maybe, finally, I am going to feel okay about us saying, “We don’t like you either.”
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