The Girls Q&A Book on Friendship is written specially for girls 8 – 12 years of age focusing on the many common friendship issues girls face today. The book offers 50 ways to fix a friendship without the drama in an easy to read, concise question and answer format. It’s written so girls don’t necessarily need to read the book cover to cover (but I highly suggest parents do). Girls can quickly look up their question and go directly to the page with Annie’s “here’s what you can do” advice. Annie offers up specific text on what to say and is open in telling girls that sometimes when all else fails, maybe the friendship just wasn’t meant to be (and that’s ok – just think how many “friends” have come in and out of our own lives). In addition to the Q&As, there are also fun quizzes throughout the book along with friendship advice on how to be a super friend from older girls (love the peer-to-peer advice). Annie Fox’s newest book The Girls’ Q&A Book on Friendship is a must have resource to help tween girls manage friendship dilemmas in an easy to read format, written just for them.
Annie Fox, M.Ed. is an internationally respected parenting expert who has dedicated her career in using technology to reach out and empower the youth of today. She has written many books including the popular Middle School Confidential book and app series, which follows a group of middle school friends as they learn to work through life’s obstacles. Annie is also the author of Teaching Kids to Be Good People, a guide for parents to teach their kids to not only be good but also to do good, both online and offline.
Q&A with Annie Fox
Our readers had some burning friendship questions that we asked Annie to help with. The book follows a similar format.
Q1. My BFF and I now have different interests and I feel we’re growing apart. But I don’t want to lose her.
Annie: The idea of a BFF can be limiting, and unrealistic. We can feel close to many people without having to label any one person “my BFF.” People grow and change. Being a friend doesn’t necessarily mean that you both have to play soccer or be into computers or love a certain band. Shifting interests may make you feel like spending less time with certain people. It doesn’t have to mean you are “losing” your friend! Think about it this way: You have room in your heart for an unlimited number of friends even if you don’t have infinite amounts of time to spend with everyone. You two have a history together that includes many wonderful memories. That doesn’t change. Hopefully you still like and respect each other and continue to share core values. If you value the friendship, then make it a priority to connect with your friends from time to time.
Q2. I’ve heard my friend say and do things that are not nice. But I’m afraid to say something as I don’t want to lose her friendship.
Annie: I have heard this same fear from many girls. You might be thinking, “I don’t like the way she’s acting. I want it to stop. But I don’t want her to be mad at me. So I don’t know what to do!” It’s a problem, isn’t it? When we are uncomfortable in a friendship because a friend is doing or saying something rude or disrespectful to us (or other people) we need to speak up. If you don’t tell her how her behavior makes you feel, she won’t know because she isn’t a mind-reader! But it’s hard to tell a friend that you don’t like what she’s doing. Maybe you’re afraid she will get angry and not want to be your friend any more. Maybe you also believe that being a “good” friend means that you should never say anything negative about your friend’s behavior. Where does that leave you? I’m guessing it probably leaves you feeling stuck. But you aren’t stuck. You always have options. You can stay silent but I wouldn’t recommend it. Do you know why? Because when things aren’t going well in a friendship, silence does not make things better. Silence usually makes things stay the same or helps things get worse! If you are looking to make things better, I suggest you take some slow deep breaths and say this to your friend (calmly and respectfully… in private.) “When you do ________ it makes me uncomfortable. It makes me lose respect for you. Please stop doing that.” Then close your mouth and listen to what she has to say. It could be an interesting conversation!
Q3. I have a friend who is always copying me including wanting to have all the same friends and buying the same clothes. It gets me mad as I enjoy being my own unique person.
Annie: Your friend isn’t as sure of herself as you are. That’s why she’s copying you. I understand that this may be annoying, but you are and always will be your own unique person. No one can take that away from you! If you haven’t already talked to your friend about this, then please have that private conversation soon. Please be kind to your friend when you talk to her. Tell her how her “copying” makes you feel. But please remember that she is not trying to hurt you or to annoy you. The simple truth is that her copying is her way of expressing her love and admiration for you. That’s not something you need to get angry about, is it? If, after you talk to her, nothing changes, then you can always choose to spend less time with this friend. If that’s the direction you choose, please do not talk about your friend to other people. That’s not helpful and it could easily hurt her. Besides, that would not be a reflection of your best “unique” self!
Q4. My friend’s mom isn’t as strict as my mom and my friend makes fun of me when I’m not allowed to do something that she is. It’s so frustrating.
Annie: Every parent is different and so is every set of family rules. Please don’t wait another minute to talk to your friend about her teasing. Everyone has something they don’t like being made fun of. I’ll bet your friend has something like that too! The next time she makes fun of you because your mom won’t let you do something, be straight-up with her. You might say something like this: “You’re my friend and I love you, but when you make fun of my mom’s rules, it hurts my feelings and makes me frustrated. Let’s make a deal that I won’t ever make fun of your ____________ and you won’t ever make fun of how strict my mom is. Deal?” Hopefully she will agree and she will keep her promise. If she forgets, remind her. If she forgets again, it may be time to look for a new friend… someone who treats you with the respect you deserve.
Q5. I have a friend who loves to be the centre of attention. She’s always bragging about herself and gossiping and starting rumours. I’m so tired of it. What can I do?
Annie: It sounds like there are at least a few things you don’t appreciate about this friend: her bragging and her gossiping. Oh, and the rumour thing! Oh dear. Now I’m wondering what you do like and respect about this girl. Can you make a list of all the reason why you enjoy having her as your friend? If the things you appreciate about her out-weigh the things you do not like about her behavior, then this may be a friendship you want to keep. If, on the other hand, there are more things about her that you don’t like, you may want to start shopping around for a new friend. Either way, please have the courage and respect to talk to your friend. (That’s very different from talking about your friend to other people.) Tell her how you feel when she is in “bragging mode” and when she is gossiping. Even if you and she do not remain friends, talking to her will give her something to think about. Oh, one more thing, since you obviously do not like bragging, gossiping and rumors, please pay attention to your own behavior when it comes to these things. In this way you will be the kind of friend you want to have!
The Girls’ Q&A Book on Friendship is a invaluable resource every tween girl should have. It’s available now on Amazon for under $12 CAD.
We are giving away one (1) printed signed copy of Annie Fox’s The Girl’s Q&A Book on Friendship. Enter below for your chance to win. The giveaway starts October 29, 2014 at 1:00 am EST and ends November 20, 2014 at 01:00 am EST.
This giveaway is open to Canadian residents 18+ only, excluding Quebec. A winner will be chosen at random and notified via email. The winner will be required to answer a skill-testing question and have 48 hours to respond, otherwise another winner will be chosen.
Be sure to follow Annie on Twitter at @GirlDramaChat and join in on the conversation as she hosts a weekly chat for parents and educators on how to support girls through friendship drama using compassion, respect and social courage. The chat takes place Fridays at 11:00 am PST. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #GirlDramaChat so that Annie sees your tweets.
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About Wendy Morelli
Wendy loves her 2 kids and her iPhone, not necessarily always in that order. She is an app obsessed mom who loves everything tech and is (unfortunately) old enough to remember the brick Motorola cell phone and the Commodore computer. Her love for technology stems back to the 10+ years of working for technology based companies. Wendy's alter ego, "AppHipMom" has been featured in Canadian Family, iVillage, Women in Biz, EverythingMom, BlogHer and Savvy Mom.