A problem shared: My old friends are jealous of my new ones

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Something troubling you? Share it with your new BFs, Jo Davison and Molly Lynch.

I am 14 and struggling at the moment. I hang around with a group of friends I’ve had for ages and, more recently, some girls who are much more outgoing than me who seem to get a lot more attention, have a lot more fun and a lot more friends.

My weekends are boring; theirs are filled with parties, shopping and meals. I went to a party with them and had loads of fun.

My usual friends don’t like trying new things as much as the new friends, who they don’t seem to like me having. They call me a ditcher as a joke but with one girl in particular I can see on her face she’s not kidding. My old friends are judgemental of my new ones because occasionally they drink and wear more makeup.

My usual group seem to be criticising my every move. They wouldn’t dance at a party and then laughed at me when I danced with my more outgoing mates. Then they accused me of abandoning them for the more popular girls to make myself look popular. All I wanted to do was have a good time.

When we went out the next day, every time I mentioned the party they changed the subject. I thought I was maybe talking about myself too much and tried to make the conversation about them, but they played on their phones and chatted to their boyfriends on Facebook.

I want to be friends with both groups, though now I’m questioning why I’m friends with my old mates at all. They’re being unsupportive and rude.

Molly says:

I long for the day some bright spark invents an interactive newspaper, one which would allow me to reach out of this page and hug you.

Being a girl is tough - and is possibly at its crumbiest when you’re 14.

Boys have it easy. All they have to do is support the right football team or bring their bigger brother’s copy of Nuts into the classroom and they’re in. They’re much more straightforward and - on the whole - far more accepting.

Girls, on the other hand, are like lions waiting to pounce on their prey. The tribe has turned on you.

One of the things you’ll find with growing up is that people grow apart and as you start to find out more about yourself you will probably discover you don’t have much in common with the classmates you were thrust together with in a haze of Play-Doh and acrylic paints during the first days of primary school.

There’s nothing wrong with branching out.

At the risk of sounding like your mother, and in fact every mother since time began, the other girls are probably just jealous.

I know that phrase is the well-worn solution parents provide to any problem, but hear me out here.

Female teens are a hotbed of insecurity and longing to be accepted. At 14, it’s considered a social faux pas to show even a smidgen of self-esteem. Instead you must scrutinise your looks and compete over whose life is the toughest.

Back in my day it was pinching my ‘climber’s’ thighs in front of a mirror. Now, your generation take to Twitter and Facebook to seek approval. It must be like Mean Girls x 100.

The fact that you’ve had the confidence to go and meet others outside the pack, to form friendships and dance at parties and shown unwilling to go out drinking just because them to turn on you.

Truth is, you’ve probably touched a nerve and their survival instincts have kicked in. The easiest thing for them to do is berate you, or poke fun. The aim is to destroy that new confidence of yours.

Don’t write them off just yet, though. Spend time with both sets of friends and stay true to yourself and hopefully they’ll come round.

If the nastiness continues then you’re right - they’re not friends at all.

However there’s no need to stoop to their level and allow it to turn into one of the spectacular fall-outs which happened in my playground every week.

Just politely take yourself slowly out of the equation. Then go to a party and dance the night away with your real mates.

Jo Says:

Might you be being too harsh on the friends you’ve grown up with?

You paint them as boring in comparison to your new group of partying, make-up wearing girls who “drink occasionally,” go out for meals and shopping trips.

Though to be honest, they are probably very normal girls. In comparison, the new girls sound as if they’re 14 going on 24.

Maybe that’s why they seem so very glamorous to you.

Though in my opinion, girls grow up far too fast these days and these friends sound like a prime example.

I’m not surprised your old pals are being negative. They must feel quite hurt. Suddenly you don’t think they are interesting or mature enough for you any more.

They hit the nail smack on the head when they told you they felt you were abandoning them in the pursuit of popularity.

I suspect you feel you’re not sophisticated enough, want to change and feel your old friends are holding you back.

Do you want to hang around with cooler girls in the hope that some of their wordly-wise will rub off on you?

If so, I’m not surprised you feel that way. There is so much pressure. You pick up a magazine or flick onto a pop video and all the women in it seem more stunning than you think you could ever hope to be. Their make-up is perfect; they are slender and lithe and they ooze confidence and sex appeal. But that’s because A. they are older than you and B. An entire team of make-up artists, stylists, lighting people, photographers and a photo shop specialists have made them look that way.

Even if you do become more like your new friends, will you be happier? Will you be able to be yourself? Or will you always be trying to be as grown up and adventurous as them?

At some point you could find that you still don’t fit into their little clique and end up on the outskirts.

I think you need to stop worrying about which group of friends are better for you at the moment, and focus instead on yourself.

Work out who you are, what you are good at (I bet there are loads of things), what really matters to you and what makes you happy - then find a way of expanding on that, rather than trying to mould yourself into someone else.

You are special. No one else is exactly like you and that is a wonderful thing. Embrace it.

Then, you know what, loads of girls will want to be your friend.

Not because they want your personal brand of magic to rub off of them, but because you are happy with who you are - and therefore lovely to be around.

Lisa Read, of www.lisareadcoaching.com, who specialises in helping teenagers become confident and responsible, advises:

I really feel for you. Friendship issues are among the most challenging. Sometimes people who care about us most don’t like us to change. Your older friends may feel threatened by changes they see in you, which is why they’re being unsupportive. Look for the good in all of your friends, allow yourself to choose where you spend your time and ask yourself: What can I do to be a good friend?