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When Friends Fight: Attack of the Rival Friend

The Fight
Josie and Amy have been best friends since the first grade, but last summer Josie also became very good friends with Maria. When the school year started, Josie tried to divide her time between Amy and Maria because Amy and Maria didn't get along with each other.

Amy felt angry at both Josie and Maria. She stopped talking to Josie, and started being mean to Maria by calling her names. This only made things worse, and made Josie spend even less time with Amy and more with Maria. When Josie's mom told her that she could take one friend on the family trip to an amusement park, Josie chose Maria. Amy couldn't believe it, and cried.

What's Going On?
Everybody changes as they grow up, and you can't expect your friends to be any different. In this case, Josie and Amy's interests had been moving apart for many months, and Josie found someone else (Maria) who was into all the new things that Josie liked.

Amy felt angry that she was losing her friend. She saw Maria as the competition, and thought Josie was betraying her. Maria, in turn, saw Amy as a threat to her new friendship with Josie.

Ways to End this Fight:
Amy Could:

  • Apologize to Josie for giving her the silent treatment and admit that she's worried about losing Josie as a friend.
  • Explain that she feels left out when she sees Josie and Maria together.
  • Apologize to Maria for calling her names and admit that it was the wrong way of dealing with her fear and anger.
  • Do her best to understand and accept that Josie has changed and that Amy will have to share her with Maria.
  • Try harder to get along with Maria.

Josie Could:

  • Tell Amy that she has new interests and that she's allowed to make new friends.
  • Tell that they can still hang out together, but that Maria might be with them as well.
  • Make sure Amy feels that she doesn't like her any less just because she has Maria as a friend too.
  • Apologize for making Amy feel left out and for not explaining all this before.

Maria Could:

  • Try to find common interests with Amy.
  • Tell Amy that she's not trying to steal Josie away.
  • Back off sometimes and let Josie and Amy hang out without her.
  • Try harder to get along with Amy when the three of them are together.

Keys to Avoiding This Fight:

  • Fairness. All three of these girls need to be fair with each other. Many of us have more than one close friend, and it's important to share our time and make sure we're being good friends with everyone. It shouldn't be as complicated or strict as making up a schedule, but try to be fair with the people you care about in the same way you want them to be fair with you. You don't have to include all of your friends in every activity, but try not to let any one friend feel constantly left out.

  • Loyalty. Josie and Amy have been friends for a long time, so they owe each other some loyalty. Josie should never have let Amy feel like she was ditching her for Maria. Good friends should be loyal enough to treat each other with more respect, and staying loyal through tough times is a mark of solid friendship.

  • Understanding. All three of these girls should understand that this is a tricky situation. Josie is changing, and some of her new interests make her more compatible with her new friend Maria than with her old friend Amy. But that doesn't mean that Amy and Josie no longer have anything in common. For one thing, they have a strong friendship that has lasted many years, and that's very important! Josie, Amy and Maria need to understand one another's needs and feelings, and realize that this is not a competition.

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