Friendship requests suck donkey balls and should go away

There it is. Sitting there. That blank line. With two of the most annoying words in the history of popularity. Friendship request. Yup, I was filling out the camp forms last night and there was that line staring up at me. And it says it has to be reciprocal. Oh shit, I better make that totally uncomfortable phone call to Betty McBoopypants and ask her if our kids can request each other. I feel like I’m in the 9th grade again asking a boy to go with me to Homecoming.

ME: Hi Betty, so I have a question. Do you maybe want to write down our girls for the camp friendship request?

BETTY: Ohhhh, uhhhh, ummmm, I wish we could but I already said I would do it with Peggy McPopular.

AwKwArddd.

Because there are the moms who fill out the camp forms at 11:59 the day they are due, and then there are the moms who know who they’re friendship-requesting way back in September. You know the moms I’m talking about. They huddle together trying to match so-and-so with so-and-so so they can con the system and get ALL their girls all into the same group.

Barf.

The way I see it, friendship requests do four things:

1. They solidify cliques.

2. They make lonely kids feel lonelier.

3. They make moms have awkward conversations.

4. And they stop our kiddos from learning a shitload about making new friends and being independent.

Last year I made my friendship request for Zoey, and guess what happened? She ended up being best friends with a different girl she had never met before. And now they see each other at the ice rink and have play dates and she has a new friend.

Yeah, I know some of you are thinking that’s easy for me to say because my kid is outgoing. You’re right. But from what I see, most of the people friend-requesting don’t have painfully shy wallflowers. By all means if your kiddo is super shy, there’s no harm in making a little phone call to the office to say that it would be nice if she had a friendly face or two from school in her group.

But that friendship request line on the form is like blatantly asking moms to keep cliquey kids together. And I would like to see it go away. Can you imagine the shitshow of moms FAreaking out. Gasp, I can’t find the friendship request!! OMG, it’s not there! What EVER will we do?!!

Oh I don’t know, maybe we’ll teach our kids to be less exclusive and cliquey and show them that walking into a room of strangers isn’t a bad thing. It’s an opportunity. An opportunity to make new friends.

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14 responses to “Friendship requests suck donkey balls and should go away

  1. Karen, I’d like to buy you a drink. I absolutely abhor all of the cliquey nonsense I’m constantly forced to endure with the other girls’ moms aka monsters in my daughter’s class. You keep up the writing and I’ll continue to pump my fist in the air when I read your words of truth. Sending a bottle of Hershey’s your way…

  2. I don’t even know what this “friendship request” thing is. I guess I am glad my kid isn’t going to camp.

  3. I have the opposite problem right now. One of my son’s friends is super needy and the teachers always put them together on class overnights (2 weeks a year). He doesn’t want to ditch his friend, but he wants to branch out. I never put a friendship request in because I want our kids to learn the skills to make new friends, but how do I get the teachers to work with me without sounding like a b***h or helicopter mom?

    • Chris @ Dadding Value

      Amen, Kristine. I think we owe it to our kids to be that b***h, or d**k in my case. It’s like ripping off a band-aid…

    • I am a teacher. I have had parents come to me and explain that in previous years teachers have always paired very compassionate/empathetic child with very needy child. I realize and value how much courage that takes – and also can see where the compassionate/empathetic child learned to care for others so deeply. I never thought those parents were b***h or helicopter parents. They recognized an unhealthy balance for both kids and worked to solve it in a way that helped both.

      In those cases I’ve worked with the councilor and specials teachers to help the needy child to branch out and gain confidence. In part by pairing them with other kids in seating, small groups* (though that is determined by academic needs so harder to separate sometimes), co-op groups, and sometimes specials if the class is divided. Putting the strong/in your face personalities all in one group, the needy personalizes in their group, and the caretakers in a third group can be interesting.

      Believe me the b***h, b******s, and helicopter parents are not concerned with the other child. They often aren’t even concerned with their own child – just their public image and using the child as a prop.

      *Small group – groups of 3-4 kids working at the same level on particular concepts especially in reading and math. very changeable They receive instruction from the teacher for short periods of time then work independently to master concept.

      Co-op groups – Group work kids should be at different levels academically have different strengths and weaknesses. Often used because of a shortage of materials and needing to share books/computers/even art supplies because there is not enough to go around.

    • Personally, I would simply request for the teachers to place your son with a completely new group of students… you could even state the following:

      I would like to ask the following of you, if at all possible, “at my son’s request, please place him with other boys he does not generally spend time with. He is interested in making new friends and branching out (his words not mine).” We sincerely thank you in advance for your assistance with this!! Please feel free to call me if you have any questions or concerns regarding this.

      Then simply sign it with a “Thank you,” your name, and a number to reach you at.

  4. I’ve never even heard of this and I’m so incredibly happy about it. Wasn’t that the point to go to camp, make new friends and all be awkwardly not knowing anyone, or very few people, there? This sounds horrible and totally at odds with what it is supposed to combat. Here, let me just reject you ahead of time….

  5. Disagree 100%. They are helpful, but the camp director needs to manage the process carefully. Having the camp state “must be mutual” is a cop out and sets up the campers and parents for frustration.

    • As a camp director, I’d like to point out that when we have 100+ children to think about we can’t always micromanage requests, or know every detail of the kids dynamica outside of camp. I find that saying “must be mutual” usually makes it possible for a kid who actually DOESN’T want to be with that “friend” from school to dodge that bullet.

  6. This is a thing??? Hmmmm…hope it is not in our near future, keeping my fingers crossed it doesn’t exist in the Pacific Northwest.

  7. I agree with you 100%. I used to send my kids on outdoor adventures with no one they knew. We are from a small town and it gave them the opportunity to meet new people and not be stuck with the assumptions had about them since they were in pre-school. To this day they are not afraid to travel on their own and are all comfortable knowing no one in the room.

  8. I run my own summer camp. We don’t do this. Nope, never. Because of all the reasons you mention above.

  9. So completely right on!!! Helps make new friends and adjust better in the real world!

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