Wednesday, March 28, 2012


I found this article recently about if schools in England banning "Best Friends". 

I can understand the attempt at getting rid of cliques and trying to get children to play more with their peers, probably in the hopes to reduce the amount of bullying in schools, which is very much needed.  But I am not sure that going as far as banning best friends is the right step in the right direction. 

I was one of those kids that was picked on and bullied.  This made my elementary school years miserable for me.  I didn't make my first real friend until I was in grade 5 and it was great (I say first real friend because my bullies were creative.  They would pretend to be my friend until they got useful information that they could use against me later, or wait til I was comfortable to go out, because a lot of them lived in the complex we lived in, and throw stuff at me). 

In grade 7 I met Ellen, who quickly became my best friend.  We were inseparable.  It was great to have a best friend, someone who I could trust completely and tell all my secrets too.  She gave the the confidence to trust people who wanted to be my friend.     

By grade 9 I was more comfortable with who I was and moving to high school opened the door to make more friends.  There was a core group of us, 6 girls, who were wonderful friends, however, being my friend came with a price tag: my bullies. 

One day a few of my bullies, who were not allowed to be enrolled in the same classes as me, started to pick on my friends simply because they were friends with me.  This was not fair and made my mad.  Here I was separated from them and yet they found a new way to get to me and they decided to go after my friends, people it took me a long time to find. 

A few days later a bunch of gym classes we're playing capture the flag in the woods behind our school and a group of girls who had been picking on me for a few years were in another class.  While I was coming out of the woods they surrounded me; I remember feeling scared (there was 6 or 8 of them and 1 of me) and mad, so I decided to stand my ground. 

Thankfully it was nothing more than a pushing match between me and "the leader" before I was able to walk away, but it could have been so much worse.  Even luckier, we weren't disciplined by the school, just given a warning and told to steer clear of each other. 

It was the last time I was picked on. 

I know it seems like I've wandered from the main point, but I haven't. 

If schools ban best friends, they are taking away something every child needs; a friend.  Someone who they can turn to when things get tough, someone they can rely on to have their back no matter what, someone who gives them confidence and loves them no matter what, someone who understands what they are going through because they are going through the same thing at the same time. 

By being able to have best friends I was able to stand up to the people who tormented me for years (picking on me was one thing but threatening to take away my friends was my breaking point).  Without them I would not be the person I am today and that would be a shame because I'm kinda wonderful! 

And just so you know, Ellen and I are still good friends.  We've had our ups and downs over the years but here we are, almost 15 years later, still friends.  Lynden and her daughter are a month apart, we hang out on a fairly regular basis, and talk multiple times a week. 

I hope schools do not follow suit and take away best friends, they are so important in shaping who we become. 

What do you think?  Should schools ban best friends?  Who would you be today without your best friend?

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  1. I don't even understand HOW you can ban best friends. It sounds a little crazy to me.

    My best friend from those teen years and I still keep in contact all these years later. She has seen me through hard times and hilariously funny times, and I have done the same for her. My life would be less without her.

  2. Banning best friends?! That's ridiculous. Having best friends is not related to bullying. Bullying is a problem because of bullies and they are the ones who need to be addressed. I'm so glad you are still in touch and are close with your friend, Ellen. Those kind of friendships are really special.

  3. I really have no idea how they would even do that.

  4. Don't you just hate it when you click "publish" and all it does is delete your message? *sigh* so here I go again. Besides the fact that I think it's ridiculous to ban "best friends" in schools, I think that part of the problem is not addressing "bully-like-behaviours" in children, early on. I mean, how and when does a bully become a bully and who allows this behavior to continue? Anyway J and I were just talking this AM about peers, bullying and bffs so it's funny you should write about this. I think we live in a society where society as a whole, parents AND teachers are afraid to "discipline" children and address certain issues (there are many but bullying IS one of them) for the fear of stepping on someone's toes or overstepping their boundaries (I see this at work ALL the time). As long as we take a "backseat", passive approach to parenting and teaching, this problem is not going to change. We constantly talk to children about bullying and empathy and feelings at work; bullying is simply NOT tolerated. I also think the article is ridiculous:best friends are the essence of childhood. I can't even begin to imagine where I would be if I wasn't surrounded by good friends all my life. Good friends have been my "conscience" and "common sense" when I needed it and strong pillars in my life. That being said, after all these years, I'm glad we can still call ourselves "friends":)That's all; not like it's a novel, or anything:)