Carolyn Hax: Mom is mad at other moms for her daughter’s college snub

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Dear Caroline: My daughter just started middle school and found out on the bus that her best friend of five years (“Mary”) was ignoring her and was sitting with another girl from the neighborhood (“Suzie”). Apparently they became close friends over the summer and are now excluding my daughter.

When Suzie moved to the neighborhood two years ago, my daughter and I went out of our way to be inclusive and make sure she was invited to sleepovers and parties. Now I find out that Suzie’s mother only organizes outings for Mary and Suzie and not for my daughter.

Most of my daughter’s friends in elementary school went to another school, so she only knows the kids in the neighborhood, many of whom aren’t friendly to her.

I’m afraid it’s going to be a tough year for her. Am I wrong to talk about it with the parents? I’m mad. Angry with parents and even children. I’m especially mad at Suzie’s mom for arranging play dates without my daughter. It’s calculated and cold. Mary’s mother is one of my best friends and now resents me for asking her to talk to her daughter about inclusion.

Middle school mom: As a new mom, I got this advice: you can’t force a baby to eat, sleep, or poop.

It wasn’t exactly news, but it was a clarification. Great for setting expectations. And that prepared me for the next stage of child development, which came a millisecond after children could be social: you can’t make a child look like someone else. .

I feel sorry for you, tough, in that kind of punchy tune, alone in the cafeteria. It’s horrible.

But it’s not something you can fix. Not with planning in the background, not with anger, not shaming other moms. If Suzie only wanted Mary, then what was her mother supposed to say? “No, you also have to invite _____?” This goes beyond Suzie’s emotional affairs. Suzie has always been a well-rounded, fully realized person who can decide for herself who she loves — and college, as it happens, is about when that agency has its full (often raw) expression. Suzie and Mary are the ones “arranging outings” at this point; moms are just logistics.

Besides that, would you like to be the kid whose parents said he should be invited? I certainly wouldn’t. Yeah. Your daughter deserves to be sought after and deserves hers, which this abrupt transition will now force her to find. There’s struggle in that, of course, but also dignity – which you’re jeopardizing by pursuing any appeal on your daughter’s behalf.

I hope that’s what your good friend was trying to tell you.

Last thing: one middle schooler in your family is more than enough. While I recognize how painful it is for you personally to witness your daughter’s exclusion, it is not your job to experience it as if it were happening to you. She is shaken by rough waters. You stay calm and steady (and ride all you want inside).

You can have both sympathy and perspective: friendships sometimes end. We have to start over sometimes, sometimes for no other reason than to change. She must learn to find her way around.

Also keep Mary and Suzie in perspective. I doubt you’d call your daughter “calculated and cold” when she leaves someone herself one day, even if she handles it badly – which she no doubt will, because that kind of stuff is hard, and we learn it by trial and error and regret. And sometimes those regrettable mistakes include ignoring someone on the school bus.

However, you still love her and you can promise her that she won’t have to go through painful things alone as long as you’re here. It’s a good cause to defend.

Dear Caroline: I have to get over my boyfriend – mainly because I don’t want to deal with lies and broken promises anymore – even though the reason shouldn’t matter. I’m just having a hard time finding the courage to do it and commit. A voice inside me says this may be my last chance for a relationship, and something is better than nothing. How can I silence this voice?

Anonymous: The die alone stock just skyrocketed.

You have a whole world inside your skin. Your thoughts, your experiences, your desires, your interests, your plans, your dreams, your eagerness to connect. There is abundance.

There’s no need to be with someone who doesn’t like you or isn’t good to you, even if they offer you the last relationship on earth. You can be good to yourself and then work from there, always.

I’m sorry that your people, your experiences, or your choices have left you with such a bleak view of what’s inside of you. But this point of view is not fixed. You can change it. Within you too lies the power to reevaluate – in therapy, perhaps? — the gifts you have, and start trusting them again.

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