At what point in your life does the concept of “friend” really start to matter?

At what point in your life do you start recognizing the difference between a “friend” who is a familiar face in your classroom or neighborhood and a “friend” who you understand has similar interests and compatible play-styles; a “friend” who you look forward to seeing because you want to continue playing “let’s pretend we’re cats.”

I think we’re in the process of watching our girls figure it out now…and its an interesting time for them to do so…


At their school (which I love for the majority of things they do great and the generally awesome experience my kids have had so far), Julianna and Chloe are about to go through a “forced” transition that I’m not overly thrilled about.  The school decided that mid-year, certain kids in every classroom in the school will be moving up to the next classroom.  Normally, the school transitions all together at the end of their school year.  Its actually pretty cool.  For a week, the kids start their day in their current classroom and then the teachers bring them to their new classroom in the morning at some point.  They get picked up at the end of the day in that new room.  All together.  Transitions are tough…and don’t get me started on my kids…but when they are doing it with all their “friends”, its maybe that much easier.  If only they could really articulate how they feel…

So neither of my girls are actually moving, but a few kids in their classes are.  For Chloe, I don’t believe there are great social implications; great “friend” implications.  That being said, one of the kids who is moving in her class happens to be a kid she talks about every day.  I don’t think she spends a whole lot of time actually playing with this kid during the day.  For the record, I don’t think any kids in her class actually play WITH each other, just around and near each other.  But I do believe there is a certain amount of comfort they get from being around these “friends”.

Now for Julianna, its totally a different story.  One of the kids who is scheduled to “prematurely transition” is someone she likes to play with.  I believe she has a much stronger sense of “friend” at this point.  She doesn’t know yet that this friend is leaving her class (and I am hoping that ultimately it doesn’t happen).  I am intrigued by how it will play out.  I believe she’ll be fine.  She has other friends in the class who she plays with and kids bounce from these sorts of things much better than we do.  Its this kid (and the others who I don’t know as well) who I feel for.  This kid has friends too and they aren’t all moving together…just a small group.  It doesn’t seem fair.

Presumably everyone will be fine, regardless of what happens.  Kids bounce.

Maybe this is another case of me being too sensitive…maybe I’m empathizing and maybe that’s not realistic because my concept of “friend” is at least a little more developed than my daughters’…

…or maybe the school is wrong about this one.  Maybe its wrong to not consider the interpersonal implications of a move like this regardless of the age of the people affected.  Maybe those kids have real friends and its just not nice to rip the carpet out from under them.

Maybe I’m being overly dramatic.  Maybe I’m not.