BFF’s, The good, the bad, and the ugly.
Do you remember how many times your mother told you that you needed “better friends?” Well, at least mine did—countless times. She seemed to have this view of me that I should know better than to hang out with anyone who wasn’t a straight A student, didn’t come from a two-parent “normal” family, or otherwise address her like Eddie Haskell with “You look lovely today, Mrs. Cleaver.” Not surprisingly, those “perfectly nice” friends were the ones who had the most issues. They were also the cliquey kind of “fair weather” friends that I had no desire to be associated with—no matter what status they held in the high school food chain.
What my mother didn’t understand was that the friends I chose were friends because they weren’t trying so hard to be perfect and fit in. They were real, they were genuine, and they made me feel like I belonged. Now I won’t pretend that they didn’t often lead me down some precarious roads, but they were the kinds of friends who stuck by me and wouldn’t ditch me when times got tough. I learned a lot from them—both good and bad—and I think they learned a lot from me.
When I created BFF’s for Penny, my character in ON THIN ICE, I wanted to show both sides of the friend fence. We have sweet, innocent Katie on the one hand, and troublemaking, seventeen-going-on-thirty, Sami, on the other hand. Both girls have their issues and it’s clear that neither has a perfect life no matter what it looks like on the outside, but what strikes you throughout the story is how the three girls stick together and support each other in spite of their differences. The lesson learned is that friendship is not so much about what we share in common but that we share the common bond of love.
Since I was fortunate enough to have some BFF’s from grade school right through high school, I can tell you that my mother was both right and wrong about them. Maybe my home girls didn’t catapult me into the sphere of Ivy League colleges, but I also didn’t end up a streetwalking hussy as my mother feared. The girls I hung out with were as different from me and from each other as girls could possibly be. I think it was our differences that attracted us to each other as much as anything we had in common. We balanced each other out. What I did learn from the friends I chose was loyalty, honesty, and acceptance. Lessons I’m sure every mother would like her daughter to learn. For better or worse, the lessons we learn from our friends will be lessons we take with us through life. So quit biting your nails, moms, and as my smooth-talking young adult son once said, “You did a good job raising me, Mom. Trust that I can make good descisions.”
Okay, readers, what did you learn from your BFF’s?
PJ Sharon is author of several independently published, contemporary young adult novels, including HEAVEN IS FOR HEROES. Her stories have garnered several contest finals, including two awards for her up-coming book ON THIN ICE, due out this month, and a place in the prestigious Valley Forge Romance writer’s contest for SAVAGE CINDERELLA coming out in the spring of 2012.
Writing romantic fiction for the past six years, and following her destiny to write Extraordinary stories of an average teenage life, PJ is mother to two grown sons and lives with her husband and her dog in the Berkshire Hills of Western MA.
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