I don’t understand why schools always choose the same girls for everything
Hi, I’m Bina.
I don’t understand why schools always choose the same girls for everything. I know people say it’s not true – but seriously, it is. I am in 10th grade and I am never chosen for anything! I don’t really care, I just think it’s totally and completely not fair. I do so much for the school, they have no idea. I convinced so many people to come to this school and when other girls in my grade bash the school, I always defend it. I would think that for all my loyalty I should get chosen sometimes. Whatever, like I said I don’t care.
My friend Sara gets chosen for everything. She said a dvar Torah at the school Shabbos, she was class chesed representative last year, and this year she is assistant chessed head. This means that she is always busy with her new friends, or working on some school responsibility that she can’t tell me about because it’s private. The other girls from her committee always laugh together with her regarding some private joke or another. I am just getting so nervous from her! It’s like she is purposely rubbing it into my face that she was chosen and I wasn’t. Why can’t she at least tell me what she’s working on? I could probably even help. I’m pretty creative.
Worst part is that she pretends everything is normal. When she is not busy with her new friends she’ll sit with me at lunch and call me on the phone to schmooze or study. Honestly, at that point, I’m not interested. Don’t use me when it’s convenient for you.
Hi, I’m Sara. I’m loving high school, bh! I’m working very, very hard. Marks do not come easy for me, unlike my best friend Bina who easily aces every test and assignment. I spend hours rewriting my notes, creating study guides, and then actually studying. I am not complaining; I’m happy that with my efforts I earn decent grades. In elementary school I constantly went to tutors. Now that I am in high school, I am using the skills I learned and working very hard, but at least I do not need to spend so much time with tutors anymore! The other nice part about high school is that I get to be part of school committees. I signed up for the chessed club. Everyone can sign up and after one year of participating you can serve as head. This year I volunteered to serve as head. It’s exhausting but so rewarding. I organize three events throughout the year and coordinate all the volunteers from my grade.
When I’m busy with those events, I sense that Bina is unhappy with me. I’m not really sure why. When she was chosen to represent our school for the Chidon, I was just happy for her. When she acted in the school play as the main part, I cheered for her the loudest.
In elementary school I always needed to follow her and I seemed to live in her shadow. Now that I’m in high school, I’m finally recognized and noticed for my own abilities. I would think she would be happy for me.
Sometimes just hearing both sides clearly is enough of an explanation and solution.
People are egocentric. That means we perceive events based on how they affect us. This is why we worry about what we are wearing even though we are too busy to notice what someone else is wearing. When we do notice some else’s clothes, it’s usually in comparison to our own. “Wow, she dresses much better than I do.” Or, “I have that dress too and I look much better in it.” Part of growing up is moving away from the egocentric state and noticing and caring more about others. This is a lifetime goal of becoming more selfless. The ability to think of your friend before yourself is what makes you a good friend!
Bina and Sara, like all good friends, you complement each other. That means your differences are healthy for your relationship! When Sara was busy with tutors, she was still able to be a part of school life due to Bina’s participation.
Bina also benefited from having a loyal and supportive friend cheering her on with all her accomplishments, including when she was chosen for the lead role.
As we grow older and develop more of our personalities and strengths, relationship dynamics shift. Bina is no longer the one partner in this friendship to get chosen. Sara is no longer the only one needed to cheer on and be proud of her friend.
When friendships dynamics shift, it can be scary and uncomfortable since we are moving into unknown territory. However, with proper communication and work, the new relationship can be healthier, positive, and even more beneficial than the previous one.
The first step is awareness and recognition. Validate for yourself that the relationship is changing and that makes you feel_______; fill in the blank. It can make you feel scared, insecure, jealous, worried, or another emotion. The second step is to hear the voice of emotion and make any necessary changes. Emotions are not good or bad. They are there to clue us in to what changes we need to make. For arguments sake, let’s say that jealousy is one of the emotions that both of you feel toward each other at different points. Jealousy often comes from a worry that people will take something that belongs to you. If she is getting all that honor maybe I won’t get the recognition that I need. Jealousy of a friend’s success can also signal a fear of losing the relationship.
Once you recognize what jealousy is telling you, you can work it out.
You can work on strengthening your emunah and understanding that no one can take away anything that belongs to you.
You can recognize the changing dynamics of your friendship and use it to enhance your friendship. For example, maybe the two of you can sign up for something together. Or if you have different interests, you can help each other make up the work you might miss.
Have an open and honest conversation with each other and I am confident that you can work this out!
(Originally featured in Teen Pages, Issue 71)
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