Picture this. You’re a 13 year-old girl, walking into homeroom on the first day of school. You nervously search for your BFF Alexis (who is definitely in your homeroom because you’ve been talking about it all summer) so that you can find a seat next to her. Instead, you see Courtney B., who is definitely NOT your BFF. You don’t hate her—she’s not the absolute worst—but you don’t get along with this girl, not at all. Your heart sinks. A whole year with this girl in your homeroom? Here we go…More snide comments from her about your clothes. More arguments during group activities. More eye-rolling and laughing behind your back. What’s a girl to do?
Thankfully, you were involved in the Girls Inc. Work It Out program at your school last spring. The women who led your program, Lauren and Destiny, gave you some great ideas about what to do when dealing with a conflict. And you just know a conflict is going to occur.
Sure enough, as you’re walking to sit next to Alexis, Courtney B. deliberately slams into you, knocking your new notebook out of your hands. Last year, you would have silently simmered and shot her dirty looks the rest of the day, and later refused to help her when your teacher paired you together to do math homework. But you want things to be different this year.
You pick up your notebook and set it on the desk. Taking a deep breath, you walk over to Courtney B. and tap her on the shoulder. She spins around and snaps, “What?”
You gather your courage and say, “Listen, Courtney—I know we didn’t always get along last year. I’m sorry for the things I did and said. I shouldn’t have been like that to you. And the things you did and said to me hurt my feelings. Can we try to get along this year? I’m not saying we have to be best friends. I just don’t want to spend another year fighting. Can we just respect each other?”
Courtney B. looks surprised and a little confused. She chews on her bottom lip for a second and finally mumbles, “Yeah,” before turning around to talk to her friends again. It’s not a happily-ever-after, best-friends-forever-and-ever moment, but it’s a start. You smile to yourself as you head back to sit with Alexis. This year is going to be better than last year.
For resources on preventing bullying and building up positive girl friendships, check our our Girl Guide on Bullying Awareness.