This week we’re going to do a special friendship activity as school has been in session for a while and I’ve been hearing that there’s a lot of friendship drama going around—especially with some people having some friends in school and some doing online classes. I wanted to do this exercise in case you’re going through anything like this right now and maybe you can share it with a friend to talk about what you’re feeling right now.
If you did the True Colors reading guide sessions you might remember we made a list of some of the qualities that the girls Landry becomes friends with have. As you’ve watched Landry grow and change through the different situations she’s gone through, you see her stand up for herself a little more. She also begins to realize who her real friends are and who are the fake ones. More importantly, she’s seeing the qualities that make up a good friend that she should have as well. It’s not just about having a good friend, but it’s about being a good friend, too.
This week I want to do an activity based on that. Take a look at the list of the qualities of Landry’s friends from the past activity if you have it or you can make columns with each of the girls’ names and write down words that you think of when you think of each one. Here are some examples: thoughtful, caring, loyal, honest, gentle, kind, etc.
Now I want you to take a piece of notebook paper and make a list of what you think would make up the qualities of the perfect friend. Write down every little quality as this is just for fun and you’re not going to show this to anyone. Here’s some more ideas: same values/good values, likes the same books (or shows, movies, music) I like, I can talk to them about anything, she doesn’t judge me, doesn’t make me feel bad about myself, can always cheer me up, listens to me…and so on.
First, look and see if you have friends these qualities remind you of and jot their names down. Then think about if you have friends who don’t have those qualities. Are they just different from what your ideal friend is or have they become more toxic? In the book we see Landy has both the good encouraging friends (Peyton and Ashanti in particular), and the ones who have become a little more toxic like Ericka. There are also the friends she feels she has to walk on eggshells around (like India and Devon).
In True Colors we saw Landry going through changes and growing and that continues in Best Friends…Forever? She used to be so close to Tori and Ericka, but now those friendships don’t feel the same. Have you gone through something where you don’t have the same relationship with someone even though you’ve been friends with for a really long time? Write about how that makes you feel and why you think you grew apart.
It can be tricky dealing with friends that you feel like maybe you’ve outgrown. You don’t want to break off friendships just because you don’t have things in common anymore, so be mindful not to exclude someone just because you’ve found friends you have more in common with. At the same time, you also have to be careful not to stay close with friends who have become more toxic. What do I mean by that? Well, do you ever message or talk to a friend and then walk away feeling bad about yourself or just feel a little uneasy or even sick? Maybe you remember when we did an exercise talking about passive aggressive friends? Maybe after you walked away, you started to wonder if the comments they made that were mean about someone was actually about you.
Start paying attention to those uncomfortable feelings. Write them down when they come up for you and see if there’s a pattern of this friend doing that or if it’s just a one-time thing. I think we’ve all had moments where we’ve questioned someone’s intentions or meaning and instead of having a difficult conversation about whether or not they’re mad at you, instead you just…drift apart.
It’s so easy to misunderstand what a person is really saying and you could get your feelings hurt when they actually didn’t try to hurt you at all. It’s so hard to come out and talk these things over, but it’s also hard to lose a friendship over a comment that’s wasn’t meant to hurt you.
Behind the scenes: I have had plenty of moments where I was talking to a friend and walked away wondering if they were making fun of me or if they weren’t being real with me. It leaves you feeling lost and confused. At least it has left me feeling that way. I wanted to write about Landry having that experience, but
I also wanted both Peyton and Ashanti to have that experience because of a misunderstanding they both had with Landry. Because it really can go both ways—you can be the one feeling bad about something, but maybe you also said something that you didn’t even realize that hurt or upset someone else. It was important to me to show both sides of that, so Landry would know how to handle that as well.
One of my best friends said to me that we should have a pact so if one of us says something that hits the other person funny, that we should just take a minute to ask them what they meant by that and talk it out instead of cutting each other off or slowly keeping our distance. Maybe someone’s having a bad day and that harsh comment wasn’t isn’t even meant for you. This might be a good time to make that same pact with a friend that if one of you says or does something that makes the other one feel unsure or hurt that you can go to the other person without fear of getting into an argument and talk it out.
It’s much better to clear up something like that than to lose a friend. My dad once said it’s hard to find a good friend and it’s also important to have a good friend as well. In another book of mine called, Next Door to a Star, I have the character, Hadley, learn that if you want to have a good friend then you need to learn to be a good friend.
We’ll pick up our usual reading (chapters 27-30) for next week.
Author of the Landry's True Colors Series, the Cecily Taylor Series, the Star Series, and Dating the It Guy.