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FRIENDS TO THE END?

You and your BFF always intended to travel the highway of life together. But every friendship hits bumps in the road. Here's how to keep on track.

"I was best friends with this girl Sara, but I hate her now," says Patti, 14, explaining how her now ex-best friend supposedly spread mean, gossipy rumors about her. How could this happen? One day, two girls are telling each other their most secret of secrets, and the next day they're not even sitting at the same cafeteria table. Sad. And it's not always about bud battles either. Lots of things can challenge a friendship. Like, you could find out tomorrow that your family's moving to another state, so for you and your best friend that would mean what? Is e-mailing and phone time enough to keep your friendship going long and strong? Here are seven common friendship potholes, plus ways to detour around them so you and your best friend really can be "friends to the end."

ONE OF YOU GETS A BOYFRIEND.

The excitement of getting a new boyfriend is even better than walking into an afternoon class and seeing a projector set up! But a guy takes time and attention away from buds. How will you deal?

IF IT's YOU: You have a boy calling and, girl, you're totally stoked! When he asks if you feel like meeting him at the skate park on Saturday, will you think about your BFF and have her come along? Or will you just conveniently forget the fact that you always spend Saturdays with her? Now is the time to compromise and make plans with your new guy and your BFF (and keep those plans, no matter what!). Put it this way: Let's say this boy is around for a month. Will your friend be around if you practically ditch her for the whole 30 days?

IF IT'S HER: It's hard not to feel jealous! She's got this new guy, and you, well, you've got this nagging feeling you're about to be a third wheel. Please, please, please, don't confuse her excitement for him as a sign that you're now not important in her world! Also key: Resist judging her new situation, be happy for her and let her talk about and enjoy her new romance (you'd want the same if things were reversed). Then, remind her that you're her homegirl, and make hang dates so your weekends aren't solo couchfests with Nick at Nite rerun marathons.

BEST FRIEND GAB: "When my friend Debbie first started going out with this lame guy Greg, she was with him constantly, but I didn't say I thought he was icky for her," says Crista, 13. "Then Debbie was sick of Greg in, like, three weeks, and she was all, 'I'm so sorry!' It was over so fast, and now I'm so glad I didn't say, 'I told you so!' We made a pact we would never get so into a boy that the other one gets left alone. I'm so happy to get my friend back!"

ONE OF YOU BECOMES POPULAR.

Certain things can propel a girl from wallflower to homecoming queen: showing up after summer break looking like Mandy Moore, making the cheerleading squad, dating the hottest guy in the grade above you, whatever. Popularity is dumb, but real. What will you do?

IF IT'S YOU: So, suddenly people know your name, and a girl in that popular, well-dressed clique is stopping by your locker to get your opinion on her new glitter eye shadow. Popularity is the high school equivalent of celebrity fame, with the same potential personality-spoiling effects. Your friend is your friend, and becoming popular just equals more friends, not replacement friends. If you want to rank and categorize people based on their fame quotient on campus, you'll be all alone at the top! Introduce glitter girl to your BFF and, whatever you do, keep it real!

IF IT'S HER: This sitch can feel like you're standing in your friend's shadow, and that shadow feels suspiciously like, as they call it in Hollywood, bad lighting! What does she have that you don't? Namely, nothing. Unless random people at school, who don't know her half as well as you do, count as something.

Popularity is just a superficial rush of attention. If she gets a little big-headed, it's likely just a temporary ballooning of her ego, so try not to be too annoyed while you wait out her reign. If she starts ditching you, remind her of who was there when she, say, accidentally peed her pants in the third grade. Chances are the attention will fade and the school's popularity worshippers will soon be on to the "next big thing."

BEST FRIEND GAB: "Janey and I were the tightest friends," says Janelle, 14. "We were like a team--until Janey made cheerleading and things changed. I'm way more into riding my horse, so we weren't seeing each other that much after school. She had all these new friends, and I was the same old me. It seemed like she was moving on without me, but then she said we should be glad we're into different things. We realized we don't have to be together constantly and have identical interests to stay friends. And who cares if she has lots of friends? I'm her best friend."

ONE OF YOU MOVES AWAY.

Whether it's to the other side of town or the other side of the country, a physical separation is a brutal hurdle for a friendship to clear. Can you stay close when you're so far away?

IF IT'S YOU: Maintaining a long-distance friendship takes lots and lots of effort. The phone becomes a big part of your life, but free e-mail accounts can help minimize the phone bill. You're the one who has to split, so you should be doubly good about writing letters (and letters can be fast and easy like the ones you passed in class!). Remembering her birthday or sending a quick "hi" on e-mail so she knows you haven't forgotten her can go a long way in a long-distance friendship.

IF IT'S HER: Even though you know it's not her fault, it's hard not to feel like your BFF just up and abandoned you. Your No. 1 hang is hauling her stuff away, so what are you supposed to do now? Step one: Have a going-away party! Any excuse for a bash is a good excuse! Step two: Make plans for long, quality visits. Think of how much more exciting your summer vacations will be? Step three: Hit the post office for stamps and the stationery store for letter-writing loot. Step four: Promise to stay in close touch. Step five: Stay in touch!

BEST FRIEND GAB: "Claire's dad got a job in New York, so she was officially thousands of miles away," says Kristen, 11, from New Mexico. "We were bummed at first, but now we see each other weeks in a row over vacations, and our on-line chats are exactly like they were when she lived around the corner. And we both got to learn how to snowboard because there's snow in New York! I guess being forced apart turned out to be sorta cool."

ONE OF YOU GETS BAD NEWS.

From getting a bad grade on a mid-term exam to finding out a family member is seriously sick to hearing a certain dude isn't returning the affections, bad news is hard to handle. How do you think you would deal?

IF IT'S YOU: You never saw it coming. That's probably why bad news is so harsh. It blindsides you when you least expect it. Wise dudettes say that life throws lots of curveballs. But it's how you handle these "difficulties" that matters most. Will you become absorbed, obsessed and unable to talk about anything but your new situation? Or will you go to your friend for support, remembering all the while that not only is her support a gift but also that she's got her own problems to deal with?

IF IT'S HER: Now it's your turn to be a good friend. Whatever your own problems, difficulties or dilemmas, when a friend comes to you in tears or with the look on her face, it's your job to drop everything and listen. Even if it's a "minor" thing, like she failed a math test, being a supportive friend means appreciating that your friend's problems are big to her. She needs you. And you need to be there for her. There is no compromising this friendship code of conduct.

BEST FRIEND GAB: "My friend Ashley's mom was in and out of the hospital all the time because of cancer," says Stefani, 13. "They thought she had made it through the worst part, but then they found Out it spread to her lymph nodes, which meant it would spread throughout her whole body. One day, Ashley came over and she was white as a sheet. She said, 'My mom's gonna die in three months.' I spent the next six months at the hospital with Ashley, bringing her homework and sandwiches, helping her help her mom pass away. Now, Ashley comes to my house a lot to hang out with me and my family. We'll be friends forever."

ONE OF YOU HAS RICH PARENTS.

It sounds like a scene from Clueless, but the reality is some people's parents are rolling in cash while other people's parents are trying to make ends meet. When daughters of the two sides become best friends, it can equal a problem. But a problem for which girl?

IF IT'S YOU: Even if your parents are tight with the actual amount of cash they give you, having rich parents usually means you have a nice house, great bedroom, probably a killer computer and stereo, cool clothes, lotsa CDs, and (fill in the blank!). For you, this is just the way things are. For your friend, it may look like quite the luxurious life.

The worst thing you can do is brag about money (It's your parents dough, anyway!) because you don't want her to feel bummed that her room isn't as big as yours or her computer is (heaven forbid!) not brand new. Money isn't a barometer to judge character. It's just money, and money just buys stuff. The things a BFF can give you are priceless.

IF IT'S HER: OK, so she's able to buy every CD she wants. It's not as if you wont be listening to the CDs together, right? Besides, you can get her to burn copies for you on her fancy computer. Money can be a dividing line, but only for people who want to pretend like having cash means they're better simply for being born to wealthy parents! Here are some amazing things that are free: great gossip fests, agreeing on which 'Nsyncer is hottest, digging poetry, having mutual favorite ways to wear your hair. Basically, what does money have to do with the way you love your friend? Or how she loves you?

BEST FRIEND GAB: "Even though we live right down the road from each other, my house is a big fancy ranch, and my friend Wendy's house is this tiny older farmhouse," says Tammi, 12. "The thing is, we like it at her house better. Her mom is always home and making us good stuff to eat, and she has this funny fat dog. When we go to movies and McDonald's, I sometimes cover her, but who cares? She's the funniest girl I know. Plus I know for sure she'd cover me if things were the other way around. We don't think of ourselves as being rich Tammi and poor Wendy. We're just Tammi and Wendy."

ONE OF YOU IS NOT INVITED TO A PARTY.

It's the event of the season! Everyone will be there, and everyone is going to be looking hot, hot, hot! But wait, there's an invitation missing? Guess who won't be the belle of the ball....

IF IT'S YOU: Could the invitation be lost in the mail? Did the hostess confuse your locker number? It's a good bet that there's a logical reason for your friend getting invited and not you. Most people are aware of who hangs with whom.

That said, try and understand if your BFF still wants to make the scene with Miss Tactless. You have plenty of notice, so make plans with other friends or family for a super fun night out. Chances are your BFF will feel guilty about going, but show her you know it's not her fault you weren't invited. Call her the next day to get all the party poop. Then feel free to smile a big smile when she tells you that the hostess came out of the bathroom with her skirt tucked into her fishnets and everyone at the party saw her Hanes Her Ways.

IF IT'S HER: Cool people don't throw big exclusive parties (unless they live in Beverly Hills and know Puff Daddy, but that's another article), so you have to be the one who's cool. Do this: Call the hostess and ask her if by chance your BFF's invite got lost. If she says your BEF wasn't invited, you have two choices. One option is to RSVP and have a good (solo) time.

The other choice is to thank the hostess for including you on her guest list, but then decline politely. You've got other plans. Such as? Spending an evening with the coolest girls in town--you and your BFF.
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Article Details
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Author:Bryson, Jodi
Publication:Girls' Life
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2000
Words:2259
Previous Article:HANGIN' WITH Way Lindsay's.
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