Does size really matter?
You guys aren't clueless -- you two look different, always have. But before you brush off this size thing as trivial, think about it. Could it be the root of some unexplainable squabbles?
Polarized-sized BFFs often experience things from completely opposite perspectives, which can play out in weird ways. But the good news is, you can guard your friendship against a size-it-up mentality.
TRIGGER ONE: Shop 'til you drop
Sick of gluing yourself to the accessories rack, while your BFF grabs piles of cute stuff in a store that doesn't even sell socks in your size? Strolling the mall can be great, but unspoken discomforts about size can linger longer than fried rice from the food court.
Says Lisa, 13, "When my BFF and I go to the mall, she heads right for the kids' department while I go off to juniors. I don't mind the size difference, but sometimes it makes me uncomfortable. But my friend doesn't care about it. That's what I love about her."
I AM BIGGER. Says Julia, 13, "I weigh at least 20 pounds more than my BFF does. When we go shopping, I have a terrible time finding anything that fits, let alone flatters. She 1ooks great in everything she tries on. I found a skirt at Old Navy I liked. She looked at it and said, 'Wow, that's BIG!' I m pretty sure she didn't realize what she'd said, but it really hurt my feelings."
SIZE-WISE: Shopping with your skinny BFF can be uncomfortable--if you let it. Just because your BFF "fits into everything," doesn't mean you can't enjoy shopping too. Just think of all the dynamite department store options in women's sizes. Try on clothes you like--threads that work with your body type.
Shopping isn't a contest of who fits into what or who tries on more clothes. Let your pal go nuts in Limited Too, and ask her opinion on those pleather pants you spotted in Express.
If your skinny bud throws you size-related remarks, tell her how much it hurts. She might not know. It's possible that she thinks you're perfectly fine the way you are (she thinks it's cool how well you fill out a sweater), so calling you "big" is no biggie to her. But if she keeps the comments coming even after you've told her how it makes you feel, consider recruiting a new shopping buddy.
I AM SMALLER. "My friend is overweight, and I'm basically a rail," says Allison, 14. "When I want to check out Gap Kids, she refuses to go in. But then she drags me to stores like Abercrombie, and I can't find a thing to fit me. It really makes shopping miserable!"
When Fern, 12, and her BFF go shopping, things can get weird: "Once, we wanted the same pair of jeans, and the salesperson goes, 'This size is great for you.' Then, she looked at my friend and said, 'But you need a bigger pair, my dear.' It made us both uncomfortable. Now, she avoids shopping with me!"
SIZE-WISE: If shopping is this stressful, address it. Surely, you love your friend just the way she is, so tell her! Maybe you're even a little envious of her curves and swerves. But if going into stores that carry smaller sizes truly makes her squirm, don't beg her to go in. Don't forget there are plenty of stores that stock stuff for girls of any size--Claire's, The Body Shop, Target.
And, please, don't rub your pint-size physique in her face ("Oh, these pants are falling off my waist."). Still, it's OK to secretly love that you score major deals off the kiddie clearance rack.
TRIGGER TWO: Closet Case
Lots of girls don't even need to hit the mall to feel dress stress--it can come out with the mere mention of clothes. A girl who's insecure about her bod (and subsequently envious of her friend's bod) might tease or make snide remarks about her friend's new mini.
I AM BIGGER . "I'm in eighth grade and I have six best friends. All of them are smaller than I am," says Lauren, 14. "None of them seem to notice, but I do. I am the only one who can't share clothes. I feel big and oafy."
Says Emily, 12, "The cool part about being bigger than my buds is that I don't ever have to lend my stuff out and worry about it getting messed up. But I do feel left out when I can't be part of clothes swaps."
SIZE-WISE: Instead of feeling left out, try feeling unique. There's nothing more attractive than an air of self-assurance. Love your height and hips. Develop your own look, and be confident.
Just because you all are friends, it doesn't mean you all have to look alike or dress alike--how dull! Next time the girls get together to share clothes, suggest swapping accessories too--belts, scarves, jewelry, the works.
Become a style expert. Be your very own creative clothing designer. That way tiny blouse your bud is tossing? Take it for the cool buttons. Yank 'em off and sew them around the collar of a plain white tee or turn them into a bracelet. Or, those Levi's that just don't fit her quite right? Grab them! Throwaway jeans make great denim bags. Now, you're stylin'.
I AM SMALLER. Paige, 13, says, "My friend weighs at least 40 pounds more than I do, but she's also six inches taller. She gets jealous, but she doesn't know I get jealous of her too. More cool clothes fit her. I can only buy kids' clothes, and I have to get all my pants hemmed up."
As Nala, 13, explains, "I think my BFF Jamie gets jealous that I wear whatever I want. Before parties, she always says, 'Uh, you're wearing that? It's so...short.' She makes fun of what I want to wear or suggests I wear something boring."
SIZE-WISE: You can't throw accusations of jealousy and expect anything good to come from it. Nala was bummed when she realized what her friend was up to. She decided to pick her own clothes, regardless of her pal's biting remarks. Next time a friend says your pants are too tight (if you didn't ask for her opinion), acknowledge that you have different tastes. Thank her for her input, and nicely let her know you love your new pants--so you're wearing them.
TRIGGER THREE: Lunch Time
Chow time rates pretty high on the trigger list too. The caf is killer for kickin' it with the crew, a cool break in the school day. But for some girls, the prospect of splitting a pack of Twinkies is pure torture. Lunchroom tension is very real and not uncommon.
I AM BIGGER. Lunch can be a drag if you're feeling out of shape. You might hate watching your trim pal pick at pretzels or, worse, run through a fully packed lunch bag in minutes. Lilly, 14, says, "My friends have fast metabolisms. I don't. I try to eat healthy, but it's tough."
"My skinny friends are so concerned with who's eating what," says Ellen, 13. "When someone forgets her lunch, people don't make a deal of it. When I do, they tease me about going on a starvation diet. I hate it!"
SIZE-WISE: Sure, it's tricky to chow with ease when you feel like you got jilted in the metabolism department, while your friends made out like bandits. If you're comfortable with yourself, you can let their comments roll off the table.
When calorie-counting chatter clogs the cafeteria, avoid getting into what could become a verbal food fight. Let the convo play itself out, and jump in with some awesome ideas on how you guys can spend the coming weekend. Skateland, anyone?
I AM SMALLER. Janie, 13, says, "There's a big group of us, and I'm the skinniest. I'm always hungry--maybe because I play sports, so I eat a lot. Sometimes they look through my lunch bag, take things out and show them to the rest of the table. Like, 'Look what Janie's packing today--Doritos...cupcakes...Coke...frozen pizza.' Lots of girls laugh or say stuff like, 'It's no fair. You're so skinny, and you eat like a pig.' It embarrasses me."
Francie, 14, says, "If I don't eat much, my BFF accuses me of being anorexic--which, of course, I'm not. I know her weight bothers her, but it's hard for her to talk to me about it. I guess she thinks I don't understand. I feel bad that she doesn't like her body, but I wish she wouldn't say those things to me."
Lacey, 13, also has problems with her bigger friends accusing her of having an eating disorder: "Meanwhile, it seems they are the ones who can't talk about anything else besides dieting. They always tell me I don't get it because I couldn't gain a pound even if I tried. It makes me feel bad for being smaller. I wish we'd all worry about what's on the inside instead."
SIZE-WISE: Commenting on eating habits is tasteless. But it might help to understand that buds who hurl hurtful insults are most likely unhappy with themselves, not with you. It's hard not to take lunchbox teasing to heart, but step back. No matter what side of the scale you stand on, avoid talking food at the table. Keep your cravings to yourself.
Girls who are super-concerned with weight--theirs; or yours--might latch on to any comment, and turn it into an issue. Something as simple as, "Do you want my Ding-Dongs?" can spur remarks such as, "Why? Are you fasting for Yom Kippur?" Or, "I'm going back to the lunch line for peanut butter cookies. Want anything?" could set off a plethora of food-related slurs.
If you know your body and what kinds of foods you like to eat, go for it! Never, ever feel self-conscious about being the bologna-and-cheese chowing chica that you are. Bon appetit!
TRIGGER FOUR: Gushing Guys
What if friendly competition over a guy's glance has an undertone of jealousy linked to body type? When size enters the crush playing field, self-esteem can hit all-time lows.
I AM BIGGER. Lauren, 14, admits she's a wee jealous of her bud: "She's thin and pretty and has several guys crushing on her. I know appearance is a shallow way to look at people, and it really shouldn't make a difference when it comes to friendships. But I get jealous. I even make little rude jabs about her to bring down her confidence. Like one time, right in front of this guy, I said to her, "Do you think those pants could be any tighter? They look like you tattooed them on." Afterward, I felt like dirt and wanted to take it all back. It's just unfair that some people get everything--like good looks and all the guys.
SIZE-WISE: You have to give Lauren a lot of credit for her super-honesty in 'fessing up to her belittling behavior. She's proof that friends who tease and sneer are usually jealous. Since Lauren knows her shortcomings, hopefully, she'll be more sensitive to her friend's feelings in the future.
If you can relate to Lauren, work on accepting your friend--even if she is pretty and skinny or tall and glam. But more important, work on accepting yourself We know, we know. The full acceptance thing is easier said than done. But what most girls don't realize is that lots of guys aren't into just a pretty face and tight abs. Let's hear it for a sharp wit and meaningful chats! Instead of worrying so much about your body type, work on what you've got to offer from the inside out.
Besides, if a dude digs your pal just because she's thin, do you really want anything to do with such a shallow guy? Don't blame your busty bud or skinny sister because some creep always checks her out--it's not her fault, and the guy's totally not worth it!
I AM SMALLER. Caylee, 13, says, "I am the thinnest and shortest of my crew. Once, this boy whistled at me and blurted, 'Hey! Ditch your friends. Why don't you hang out with good-looking girls like yourself?' My friends were upset. But I was angry, too, because I felt like a jerk--even though I didn't say it. Nonetheless, this hassle over me being thinner and looking better has gotten to our friendship. Under all the pressure of teenage life, this is a biggie."
Genie, 13, has a similar prob: "I am the smaller one. The guys tease my friend, and I get tons of positive attention. It makes me feel uncomfortable when guys flirt with me and ignore her. At the same time, she's had three real boyfriends, and I've never had one! It's like guys just look at me on the surface, but they really take the time to get to know her personality."
SIZE-WISE: Be careful never to let size come between you, your BFF and a guy. It's awesome that you get positive (hopefully, that means respectful too) attention from guys. Don't feel guilty or embarrassed--as long as you're not yacking it up with some hottie while she's in the corner counting cobwebs.
And if some heartless creep makes rude remarks that hurt your friend, you are not responsible for his actions. But that doesn't mean you can't say something soothing to help heal your friend's wounds. What are friends for, right?
ONE INCH AT A TIME
Still feel you don't fit? There's more to friendship than a size label. But friends who beat each other down because of their own insecurities are not good friends. And if you rip your skinny friend's head off because she asked to borrow a buck for biggie fries, you need to take a look at your own behavior. Or, if you rag on your friend because she's bigger, how small is your heart?
Contrary to popular belief, just because you're "friends forever," doesn't mean you have to be friends...forever. And it goes both ways. Surround yourself with pals who make you feel perky, pretty and purty darn special! And do the same for them. Take Liz's words, "One of my BFFs is smaller than I am. But just because someone looks different doesn't mean she can't be an amazing friend. Yep, my BFF is different than I am. But, that's why we're BFFs!"
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|Title Annotation:||with best friends|
|Date:||Dec 1, 2001|
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