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New York Times Says Best Friends Are Bad For Kids

The Trouble With BFFs

I'll never forget the day in fifth grade when my best friend stopped talking to me. We had spent fourth grade being inseparable, and had gone to two Summer camps together that Summer. But when school started again, she had a new BFF and made it clear to me that she had moved on. That might have been for the better though. Educators and others who work with children worry that exclusive best-friend relationships can lead to destructive social behavior like bullying.

In its story on best friend trends, the New York Times explains that the social interactions of children catch the attention of parents and teachers these days: "today an upsetting text message from one middle school student to another is often forwarded to school administrators, who frequently feel compelled to intervene in the relationship." Such relationship management includes encouraging students to have more than just one friend. One interviewed school official said: "if we find a best friend pairing to be destructive to either child, or to others in the classroom, we will not hesitate to separate children."

Teachers and parents have become more involved, but it's clear that cliques and exclusivity are still just part of growing up. And once you become an adult, jealousy, cliquiness, and competitiveness don't simply disappear. While it was hard to accept the end of my exclusive friendship with my 10-year-old BFF, I'm certain that experience taught me valuable life lessons and I would never trade in the fun memories I made sharing secrets and goofing off. Based on your experiences, do you think kids would be better off without BFFs?


Join The Conversation
AntiBarbie AntiBarbie 7 years
BFFs are apart of the experience of life. I don't know what I would do without the ups and downs of friendships. My life wouldn't be complete without them. Technology just changes the way of communication, we got to deal with it.
Rosay77 Rosay77 7 years
These administrators are being too involved. They should let the children handle it themselves. Dealing with broken relationships and cliques is a part of life. They need to learn this lesson before they become adults. Also, what if the children refuse to separate? If they are separated anyway, the result will be emotional and psychological damage. I agree with #7, Pistil, on that children should not be micromanaged. I also like the program that she suggested. Choosing friends based on interests is what we do anyway; this just makes finding a friend for a child easier (especially if they have no friends).
Pistil Pistil 7 years
Where I live there's actually a program being proposed at an elementary school to develop specific peer groups. Kids would be lumped together based on their interests (science, arts, athletics or humanitarianism). :oy: Kids do not need to be micromanaged.
jessy777 jessy777 7 years
My BFF and I were inseparable from 7th grade to high school graduation. I haven't seen or spoken to her since 2002. I don't think they are bad for kids even when they stop being friends. Everything is a learning experience and kids need to learn not be protected from every little thing that might be painful or uncomfortable. And sometimes a BFF will last forever and it would wrong to separate a friendship on the off chance they are getting too close.
weffie weffie 7 years
I've known my best friend since we were in preschool and I honestly don't remember life before I met her. We lived in different provinces on and off as kids, and when she wasn't allowed to visit me in the summer we went absolutely mental... I don't see how parents or teachers would be able to separate pairs of friends, if anything the resistance from our parents strengthened our bond. 25 years later we're roommates and still best friends :) Obviously we have other friends besides each other so it's not quite the situation they're describing, but I think it would be downright mean to keep any kid from their partner in crime.
Shadowcat14 Shadowcat14 7 years
I read this on the NYtimes this morning. I thought it was a load of crap when I first read it and I stand by that now. Just because you have one bff does not mean that you will automatically exclude others. People thrive of off personal connections.
skigurl skigurl 7 years
Best Friends are a great thing to have, and they are one of those things that makes being a kid, a kid. It's great, and sometimes the relationship turns sour, but kids should deal with that. No need for parents or teachers to get involved unless it's turning into a serious bullying or abusive situation. The only thing I would say is that kids should not ONLY have one BFF and segregate themselves from other children. I will encourage my child to have friends other than their best friend, both school friends, friends from extracurricular activities, family friends etc. It's best to be well balanced and live a life that doesn't only revolve around one BFF, because when things go downhill (which is inevitable as a kid), you don't want their entire life to shatter into pieces and they will be socially ostracized and absolutely friend-less.
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