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 Post subject: Re: Best friends
PostPosted: 13 Apr 2017, 08:04 
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My children's school mix up the classes each year - there are 2 classes in each year group and one year the children are with some children, the next year they're not. Personally, I don't like it, as I think it leads to more problems with friendship groups, as some children in a group might still be together whilst others are moved to another class. It does though mean that very few best friend pairings seem to last more than a year, unless the children have a lot to do with each other outside school as well. My daughter (now aged 9) and her friend spent 3 years waiting to be in the same class again after being together in the first year at school. When they were finally put in the same class again, they soon discovered that whilst they're still good friends (sleepover tonight together!) they're not BFFs anymore as they've both moved on and have different friends to each other.

At the CS, the form groups seem to alter frequently - Corney, Evvy, Margia, Lonny and Elsie end up in three different forms, where once they were together. The 'gang' end up separating into smaller groups with Mary-Lou a prefect while Jo Scott is still a middle. The triplets range from together to separate at various points also. In that scenario, I think it might result in a similar situation to my daughter's school, where everyone knows each other, but you and your BFF one year might be separated the next and be forced to make other friends.


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 Post subject: Re: Best friends
PostPosted: 13 Apr 2017, 13:06 
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My children's school mix up the classes each year - there are 2 classes in each year group and one year the children are with some children, the next year they're not.

It may be that from a teacher's perspective, some BFFs benefit from being split up - either one dominates the other, or they're too dependent on each other, or they have a history of repeatedly falling out and making up, or they chatter and distract each other too much in class. Or a whole group needs to be split up for some reason. Regularly mixing classes disguises the fact that it's a few specific children who are the issue.

At the CS, if it was feasible, one might separate Jack Lambert from her followers and put her with sensible types like Copper and Samaris who would stand up to her, and hope that if left to themselves, some of her gang might develop minds of their own.


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 Post subject: Re: Best friends
PostPosted: 20 Apr 2017, 10:18 
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I think Enid Blyton took it to the other extreme. She seems to only regard exclusive twosomes as 'real' friendships. Darrell feels a failure during her first term because she hasn't made a 'best friend'. Mary Lou knows that Darrell and Sally are real friends, while they kindly allow her to 'tag along', until she finds a best friend in Daphne. Gwendoline spends her entire school career trying to find a best friend etc etc.

As an adult reading it, I actually find it quite annoying, as it sends out a clear message that group friendships are inferior to exclusive twosomes.

However, I think EBD presents an idealistic version of group friendships. In most schools there will be lots of 'best friends' twosomes, and it is very hard to avoid that.


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 Post subject: Re: Best friends
PostPosted: 20 Apr 2017, 11:35 
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Vintagejazz wrote:
I think Enid Blyton took it to the other extreme. She seems to only regard exclusive twosomes as 'real' friendships. Darrell feels a failure during her first term because she hasn't made a 'best friend'. Mary Lou knows that Darrell and Sally are real friends, while they kindly allow her to 'tag along', until she finds a best friend in Daphne. Gwendoline spends her entire school career trying to find a best friend etc etc.

However, I think EBD presents an idealistic version of group friendships. In most schools there will be lots of 'best friends' twosomes, and it is very hard to avoid that.


Blyton even has Bobby saying "I know Sally is your friend so I can't be.." and poor Mary Lou being constantly made to feel left out of these twosomes is quite nuts.

In many ways, the EBD mentality is much healthier.

Cheers,
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 Post subject: Re: Best friends
PostPosted: 20 Apr 2017, 11:43 
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We were discussing friendship groups yesterday with my 13 year old granddaughter and her parents. I am completely astounded that teachers nowadays appear to get involved in trying to sort out conflicts (not bullying) within friendship groups.

There is no way at all that any of us, however unhappy we were about splits, quarrels, etc etc would have thought of approaching a member of staff, whether pastoral or teaching, to try to help us sort things out. It was down to us to get on with it.

ETA In a classroom, the teacher might have separated friends if they were disturbing the others by chatting, giggling etc, but that would be the end of it.

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 Post subject: Re: Best friends
PostPosted: 20 Apr 2017, 12:02 
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Joyce wrote:
Vintagejazz wrote:
I think Enid Blyton took it to the other extreme. She seems to only regard exclusive twosomes as 'real' friendships. Darrell feels a failure during her first term because she hasn't made a 'best friend'. Mary Lou knows that Darrell and Sally are real friends, while they kindly allow her to 'tag along', until she finds a best friend in Daphne. Gwendoline spends her entire school career trying to find a best friend etc etc.

However, I think EBD presents an idealistic version of group friendships. In most schools there will be lots of 'best friends' twosomes, and it is very hard to avoid that.


Blyton even has Bobby saying "I know Sally is your friend so I can't be.." and poor Mary Lou being constantly made to feel left out of these twosomes is quite nuts.

In many ways, the EBD mentality is much healthier.

Cheers,
Joyce


Yes, that really jumped out at me when I re-read the book as an adult. It's almost as if friendships are some kind of marriage, where you can't have more than one 'friend', but you can have lots of 'chums'.


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 Post subject: Re: Best friends
PostPosted: 20 Apr 2017, 13:49 
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I always felt sorry for Betty and Alicia, the best friends who were separated by being in different houses (wonder if that was on purpose :?: )

cestina wrote:
We were discussing friendship groups yesterday with my 13 year old granddaughter and her parents. I am completely astounded that teachers nowadays appear to get involved in trying to sort out conflicts (not bullying) within friendship groups.

There is no way at all that any of us, however unhappy we were about splits, quarrels, etc etc would have thought of approaching a member of staff, whether pastoral or teaching, to try to help us sort things out. It was down to us to get on with it.

ETA In a classroom, the teacher might have separated friends if they were disturbing the others by chatting, giggling etc, but that would be the end of it.


Yeah I find this a bit strange too. Bullying is one thing, but if the girls don't learn to deal with conflict themselves, how will they manage later in life? As a teen I certainly wouldn't have welcomed interference from any adult and especially not a teacher.

Has anyone read the Jean Ure book called (I think) You Two? It's about a girl who's at private school and has to leave, so she goes to the scary comprehensive where she is told that either you can be in a gang (of friends not criminals) or in a 'you two' which is a twosome of besties.


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 Post subject: Re: Best friends
PostPosted: 20 Apr 2017, 13:59 
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Loryat wrote:
I always felt sorry for Betty and Alicia, the best friends who were separated by being in different houses (wonder if that was on purpose :?: )]



I think it was mentioned in one of the books that their parents had asked if Betty could be moved to Alicia's house but Miss Grayling thought the two of them in the one house would just spell trouble.


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 Post subject: Re: Best friends
PostPosted: 20 Apr 2017, 14:43 
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cestina wrote:
I am completely astounded that teachers nowadays appear to get involved in trying to sort out conflicts (not bullying) within friendship groups. There is no way at all that any of us, however unhappy we were about splits, quarrels, etc etc would have thought of approaching a member of staff, whether pastoral or teaching, to try to help us sort things out. It was down to us to get on with it..


There is certainly no way I would ever have got involved as a teacher, as it would have taken over my life - but perhaps it's all part of the expectations nowadays that teachers should be on the lookout for mental health issues, even in the tinies.

Not quite sure how they're supposed to do that in any depth, as well as teaching, lesson planning, marking, staff meetings, adding marks and results to all the on-line data, etc etc

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 Post subject: Re: Best friends
PostPosted: 21 Apr 2017, 04:54 
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I figure every friendship combination has some sort of potential problem, when applied to children or adolescents.

Exclusive BFF's can be very intense, and if they go wrong it can go wrong really badly. There's also the fact that if one person leaves, or there is a falling out, the other has nothing left.

Threesomes lend themselves well to two-against-one situations whenever there is a disagreement.

Larger groups give more scope to shifting alliances and taking sides within the group, and lend themselves well to cliquishness. And if you have a leader in the group who is a bad influence, it can get pretty horrible all round.

I actually wish my teachers had paid more attention to the social dynamics in my classes at around age 11-13, because it got pretty bad before it blew up enough that they noticed how miserable I was due to bullying. As far as they were concerned, if you weren't getting beaten up, it didn't count. Although I definitely think the current state of affairs has gone too far, and I do feel sorry for the kids who hit university and honestly have no clue how to deal with interpersonal conflicts without having an adult intervene.

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 Post subject: Re: Best friends
PostPosted: 21 Apr 2017, 10:22 
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jennifer wrote:
Threesomes lend themselves well to two-against-one situations whenever there is a disagreement.


we see that happening in the Trebizon books with Rebecca and her two best friends when Tish and Sue argue. Though somehow they also manage to be friends with a bigger group of 6 girls.

Cheers,
Joyce

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 Post subject: Re: Best friends
PostPosted: 21 Apr 2017, 11:02 
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Loryat wrote:
Has anyone read the Jean Ure book called (I think) You Two? It's about a girl who's at private school and has to leave, so she goes to the scary comprehensive where she is told that either you can be in a gang (of friends not criminals) or in a 'you two' which is a twosome of besties.


Yes, I thought of that when I first read this thread. I also thought of Ginty (in Antonia Forest's THE ATTIC TERM) who found when her friend Monica was away for the whole term after an accident:
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Most people . . . probably supposed that she and Monica and Jocelyn and Isa and Emma and Verity made six: and it was true that six ones are six was how they'd started, but for ages now it had been three times two. With Monica away it had become twice two plus one.


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 Post subject: Re: Best friends
PostPosted: 22 Apr 2017, 04:40 
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Mrs Redboots wrote:

Yes, I thought of that when I first read this thread. I also thought of Ginty (in Antonia Forest's THE ATTIC TERM) who found when her friend Monica was away for the whole term after an accident


I was always impressed at the way the CS girls manage to keep friendships strong even though they don't see each other for years - Joey and her quartette spring to mind.

And Doris manages to fit back in with ML's gang with no problem even though she misses the first three/four years of being in Switzerland. And she didn't know about ML's hair going curly.

Ginty's experience is much more realistic - that of feeling left out when your normal friendship groups are disrupted.

Cheers,
Joyce

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 Post subject: Re: Best friends
PostPosted: 24 Apr 2017, 13:29 
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I don't think EBD was one who particularly liked to write about difficult friendship dynamics, probably because it would have made the CS seem less idyllic. It's a shame though, I've always thought that more information on Elizabeth and Betty's falling out would have been very interesting.


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 Post subject: Re: Best friends
PostPosted: 24 Apr 2017, 13:50 
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Loryat wrote:
I don't think EBD was one who particularly liked to write about difficult friendship dynamics, probably because it would have made the CS seem less idyllic. It's a shame though, I've always thought that more information on Elizabeth and Betty's falling out would have been very interesting.
Yes, that is one very complex situation. Maybe the issues around it were too much for a children's book, but I feel that the whole Florence business is skated over, too.


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 Post subject: Re: Best friends
PostPosted: 25 Apr 2017, 19:54 
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I wonder if any of the authors that have been mentioned took into account that a lot depends on the nature of the individual. I have friends who are clearly at their most comfortable with just one BFF. It doesn't necessarily make them unsociable, they just like to have that one special person in their life. I have others who prefer to have a number of friends, some of whom are they are closer to than others. In addition, when an individual falls into the category of preferring to have a group of friends, those friends may or may not be friends with each other.


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 Post subject: Re: Best friends
PostPosted: 26 Apr 2017, 11:24 
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I think Antonia Forest comes closest to writing realistically about schoolgirl friendships. For instance, the scene where Nicola suddenly realises that Tim prefers Laurie to her, and that she has unwittingly been a 'third wheel' for some time.

Also, as already mentioned, Ginty's feeling of being somewhat on the outside of the group when her particular friend, Monica, is absent for a term.

And Esther is also a good example. She views Nicola as her closest friend, while Nicola doesn't perceive Esther in that way at all.

I also think Enid Blyton does a good job of showing how two girls can have a common friend, but not particularly like each other (Sally and Alicia).

EBD rarely shows the complex nature of schoolgirl friendships, and the changing dynamics which can often be hurtful to one or two people in a group.


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 Post subject: Re: Best friends
PostPosted: 26 Apr 2017, 13:03 
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There was a girl in one of the last books - Emilia Casabon maybe? - who was mentioned as not having the gift of making friends, with a comment about how the prefects were to notice her on the ramble, but it was never explored further.

There was Val Pertwee who was jealous of Althea's friendship with Samaris, although I admit it wasn't particularly well written! And I thought at the start of Althea there was a hint that Althea and Erica might not like each other all that much when Althea doesn't go over to school with Erica. Though later on there's a sudden bizarre friendship between Althea, Erica and Jocelyn.


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 Post subject: Re: Best friends
PostPosted: 26 Apr 2017, 13:41 
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I think, to give EBD credit, she does a good job in the earlier books of showing the different needs children have regarding friendship through Joey and Simone. Simone wants an exclusive, 'malory towers' type friendship, whereas Joey wants to be part of a general group; and this causes much tension betweem them running right through until they leave school.


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 Post subject: Re: Best friends
PostPosted: 30 Apr 2017, 19:25 
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Joyce wrote:

I was always impressed at the way the CS girls manage to keep friendships strong even though they don't see each other for years - Joey and her quartette spring to mind.


But that is very realistic, in many ways. I've seen the girl to whom I was closest at school maybe three times in the last 47 years (and not at all for at least 40 years), yet whenever I do, we take up exactly where we left off, once we have caught up on news of family, grandchildren, etc. I was also amused to notice, at our latest reunion a week ago, how quickly we split up into our former "house" groups....


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