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Surviving a Challenging Friend-of-a-Friend

Article Glossary

Glossary of Terms

At URSTRONG, we believe it’s important to use kids’ language for kids’ problems. That’s why we have our very own, unique language of friendship. Here are some important terms that children, parents, and teachers learn in our program.

Friendship Fire®: Any situation between you and a friend that results in negative feelings.

Mean-on-Purpose: When someone is intentionally unkind to someone else.

Quick Comeback: A very short word or phrase that is used when someone is Mean-on-Purpose. Quick Comebacks are designed to let the other person know that you heard/saw what they did and you’re not okay with it.

Friend-o-meter: A visual tool that assesses the health of friendships, ranging from the healthy zone to the unhealthy zone.

Friend-o-cycle: The normal cycle in a friendship that brings the friendship back to the healthy zone after experiencing a Friendship Fire. The phases of the Friend-o-cycle are: Healthy Friendship – Fire – Confront the issue – Talk-it-Out – Forgive & Forget – Closer & Stronger – Healthy Friendship…

4 Friendship Facts: A set of four facts that help us have realistic expectations in our friendships so we understand what is normal.

  1. No friendship (relationship) is perfect.
  2. Every friendship is different.
  3. Trust & Respect are the two most important qualities of a friendship.
  4. Friendships change…and that’s okay.

Red Shirt Girl and Striped Shirt Boy: Two characters that remind us about the importance of body language.

Friendship Ninja: A Friendship Ninja is someone who surrounds themselves with friends in the healthy zone of the Friend-o-meter. A Friendship Ninja is kind and friendly to everyone. A Friendship Ninja understands the 4 Friendship Facts and puts out their Friendship Fires when they ignite. A Friendship Ninja stands up for themselves and their friends. A Friendship Ninja makes new friends and understands that friendships change…and that’s okay. Above all else, a Friendship Ninja is someone you want to be friends with because they’re true to who they are!

“What do I do if my friend has a friend who’s not nice to me?” We’ve *only* heard this question about 8 MILLION TIMES!

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One of the most common situations we hear kids struggle with relates to, what we call at URSTRONG, the dreaded Friendship Sandwich. A Friendship Sandwich is when you’re caught in the middle of two friends and, in most cases, it’s a sticky mess!

While we teach kids how to stay out of the middle, what if they’re the bread? What if they’re the kid who’s on one side of the Sandwich?  Here’s how the question often goes: “My friend has this friend who I don’t get along with. I love hanging out with my friend, but this other person is always around. What do I do?”

We call this scenario, “The Case of the Friend’s Friend Fiasco,” and here’s our advice to kids:

First of all, it’s important to keep in mind that your friend is caught in a Friendship Sandwich. Your friend will most definitely feel stuck in the middle and is aware that the two of you don’t get along well.

So, here’s the advice – and it’s super simple:

Make life easier on your friend. Don’t make negative comments about their friend. Don’t pressure them to choose between the two of you. Be an awesome friend and be super cool about it. When the other person is around, simply use that time to do something else. Say something like, “Hey guys! I’m gonna head off and work on my science project now. I’ll catch ya later!” Invite your friend to hang out one-on-one another time. If your friend asks about it, simply say: “Oh, yeah, that’s totally cool that you’re friends with ____. We don’t really click, but that’s okay. Your friendship means a lot to me, so I don’t want you to ever feel caught in the middle!” And leave it at that.

You don’t have to click with everyone – even your friend’s friends. Just accept it for what it is and take the high road.

 

Written by Dana Kerford
Friendship Expert and Founder of URSTRONG