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When Friends Fight: The Boy Who Needed Space

The Fight
Josh and Nicky have been best friends for over a year, and they hang out together almost every day. About a month ago, they got into the biggest fight they've ever had.

It started on a Saturday, when Nicky went over to Josh's house to play video games. But Josh said he wanted to go watch his older brother's soccer game instead, and when Nicky asked if he could come too,
Josh said no. Nicky felt hurt and betrayed, and didn't know what was going on. He asked why he couldn't come, and Josh got mad and said "I want to do something without you for a change!" Monday at school, Josh chose to sit at a lunch table on the other side of the cafeteria, rather than his regular table with Nicky. Angry, Nicky left a nasty note on Josh's locker, and the two friends stopped talking for a week.

What's Going On?
If you really get along with someone and have a good time when he's around, you naturally want to spend all your free time with him. But spending every single day with someone can be overwhelming, and people who are always together can end up annoying each other.

This is what happened between Josh and Nicky. Even though Josh really likes Nicky (why else would he hang out with him so much?), he felt that they needed to spend some time apart and also wanted to hang with his brother. This doesn't mean that there is anything really wrong with the friendship. It just means that the two friends shouldn't spend every single minute together.

Ways to End this Fight
Josh Could:

  • Apologize for the tone he used when he said he wanted to do things without Nicky.
  • Explain that there will be times when he needs to be apart from Nicky.
  • Promise to be nicer about letting him know this in the future.

Nicky Could:

  • Apologize for leaving the mean note, and explain that it was a bad way to deal with feeling hurt and left out.
  • Let Josh know that it's okay for them to spend time apart, as long as they don't go too long without doing things together.

Keys to Avoiding This Fight

  • Moderation. Too much of a good thing, even a friendship, can eventually cause problems. It's important for friends to have some time to be with other people, or just be alone. There will always be plenty of time to do things together.

  • Open communication. Josh could have calmly let Nicky know that he needed his space and that spending all his time with Nicky was making him annoyed. Instead, Josh pretended everything was fine and let himself get annoyed, and that led to the fight.

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