I spend a lot of time on this blog bemoaning my lack of high-school style friendships. “I started this search wanting a BFF like I had in high school,” I find myself saying to book clubs all the time. “Where you hang out all day, then talk for three hours on the phone at night about what happened during your day, then repeat that routine all week. ”
And I really was lucky in high school. I had fantastic friends and I have little-to-no memory of getting in petty teenage fights with them that were motivated by jealousy and insecurity. (I’m not saying they didn’t happen, just that I don’t remember them. I do remember those fights from middle school.)
But lately I’ve been reading a lot of young adult books, and they’ve served to remind me how tough friendship can be in high school. How–as a teenager– if your friend beats you out for homecoming queen, you usually aren’t happy for her, you’re jealous. And how boys can so easily come between two best friends. And how the littlest disagreement can spiral into a massive blowup because you are 16 and your hormones are raging and you don’t always know how to properly address conflict before it balloons into World War 3.
As a teenager, you can fight with your bestie about spilling a secret or keeping a secret. She could be too needy, or too distant. She might flirt with your boyfriend, or totally ignore him. Every little thing she does, and its opposite, can cause a fight. And everything you do, too.
At least, these are the reminders that my current batch of young adult novels are drilling into my brain. Because any YA book worth its salt will have BFF drama. That’s just High-School Stories 101. (See: All 142 Sweet Valley High books.)
It’s funny to me (funny weird, not funny ha-ha) that I’ve spent so many hours feeling wistful for a time that, back then, might have been filled with anxiety and uncertainty in its own right. And it’s plain old funny-sad that I’m just realizing this most basic of lessons (the grass is always greener!) two years later.
So I’m wondering, do you look back at high school (or grade school) friendships with nostalgia or horror? Do you miss the teenage friendship years, or do you give thanks every day to have moved past that stage?