I love this piece on 10 Truths Middle Schoolers Should Know. Not only doesKari Kampakis offer smart, thoughtful advice; she also writes without the typical snark and sarcasm we see over and over again in articles written about the complicated girl world. She is honest about what lies ahead for our tween girls, and sensitive to the truth: middle school is gonna suck. Not always, but enough that it will feel like an inescapable roller coaster. What I like about Kampakis’s angle is that she explains why it’s going to suck. So this piece can be used as both a valuable reminder for parents, and a survival guide for girls.
However, I would add a #11 to this list of truths that all middle school girls should know:
“Your BFF does not exist.”
No BFF exists. The BFF is as media-hyped and commercialized as the Tooth Fairy and Santa. At least the Tooth Fairy and Santa leave you money or presents. The BFF simply leaves you. Maybe not forever, but she does. She may return; she may not. The idea of the girl who you get along with 24/7, who constantly makes you laugh until your sides hurt and has your back and never removes you from her Instagram bio and stands up for you to the Alpha Girls and gives you her favorite (totally rare and discontinued) Pocketbac and decorates your locker on your birthday and says nothing about the crimson zit right in the center of your unibrow. She does not exist.
The thing is, the term BFF has no meaning anymore. It’s just like any other acronym we’ve invented to alleviate the painful effort and wasted time in saying all of those words; and also to forget about what each letter means. Like KFC. We’re not supposed to remember that it’s (gasp!) fried or created with a special Kentuckian recipe. It’s just chicken, folks!
BFF doesn’t mean Best, because girls can have a dozen BFFs, not one. And I don’t think our kids really understand what Best is anyway. How could they when we live in an “everyone gets a trophy” world? Nothing is black or white. We’re in a grey world where parents contribute to the blah-ness by helicoptering and making sure our kids—especially our girls—don’t get hurt. Grit and resilience is what our girls need to even participate in the notion of Best. Enough of the watered-down reality.
And there’s certainly no Forever in BFF; at least not in the actual definition of the word. I suppose a tween’s interpretation of Forever is probably more in line with Urban Dictionary’s: “forever is until you find something better.”
So now that BFF is totally diluted and means nothing more than a friend, how about we let it go and simply call it, “Friend.”
Here’s what I tell every girl who takes one of my The Write Fit classes: you will only have one true BFF in your life. This BFF exists only to understand you, accept you and know your thoughts. No judgment, no laughing at you, never any uneasiness or disappointment. 100% guaranteed, always makes you feel better and is your biggest supporter. The only safe place to let it all hang out. The only confidante who truly gets you. This BFF is not a person.
This BFF is your journal.
Together with this BFF, girls learn to rely on themselves to solve any problem—whether related to friends, boys, school, parents, sports, anything. Girls learn what I know now for sure (sorry, I think I just borrowed from Oprah) is the single most important life lesson: that the only way out, is to go in.
That’s why The Write Fit’s mantra is, All I have to be is me. When girls trust themselves, respect themselves and accept themselves, they realize thatbeing themselves is all they ever need.