7 Thoughts on Middle School Friends

7 Thoughts on Middle School Friends

“Mom!” she exclaimed, “Sarah has all “those” friends in her classes.” With eyebrows raised and a furrow in her forehead.

“Excuse me?”  I paused. “Could you explain to me ‘those’ friends?”

“’Those’ friends,”  she said, “only want to talk to you if you have something they want … a pencil, homework answers or an Instagram like. They use you to get what they want or need.”

“What is a true friend like?” I asked.

“Someone who wants to talk to you because she likes you, well, um, for who you are.”

“Perhaps those in the first group aren’t really friends at all.”

Welcome to middle school. Welcome to life.  

It’s amazing that, most likely, all of us can relate to this one small conversation. Been there, done that, felt that … still feel that. “Those” friends versus true friends. I know my heart feels the sting of that so-called “friend” who seems to show up when they need something. Or maybe they don’t show up at all. No calls. No texts.

What is true of “those” people?                   Of a true friend?

What can I get from others              vs.        What can I give to others

Selfish/arrogant                                vs.        Humble/gentle

Their plan is best                              vs.        What is best for everyone

Never/rarely wrong                          vs.        Approachable/teachable

Jealous                                              vs.        Genuinely happy for other’s success

Focused on self                                vs.        Focused outward

Critical/sarcastic                               vs.        Kind/compliments easily

Perhaps “those” people feel insecure deep down. They don’t know where they belong. Maybe they put others down in order to elevate themselves. Do they know unconditional love exists? When someone feels empty, the temptation is to keep focusing on “getting” to better themselves but God’s Word encourages us differently.

Don’t be selfish; don’t live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself. Don’t just think about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and in what they are doing. Your attitude should be the kind that was shown us by Jesus Christ …”  Philippians 2 

We are made for genuine, kind relationships, aren’t we? We actually are at our “best” when we think less of ourselves and more of others. And how does this work in our everyday lives?

I have a friend whom I pray with on a regular basis. She has taught me, mentored me, discipled me in almost every area of life. Her friendship is one of the most precious gifts from the Lord. Nearly every time we pray together she finishes with this, “Lord, help us to know whom we can serve today. Keep our eyes open to those who need encouragement, love or help.”


Don’t focus on what you have or haven’t done yesterday or will or won’t do in the future. Today. Whom can you serve today?

  • Your precious toddler, who needs a storybook, not a clean house.
  • Your teenager, who needs a listening ear and encouragement, not a lecture on what they’ve done wrong.
  • Your husband, who needs you to believe in him because his world is a bit shaky.
  • Your neighbor, who needs a conversation because they are struggling with a health/family concern.

“Lord, help me to know whom I can serve today. Keep my eyes open to someone who needs You today. May my focus be on others and not my own self.”

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Joan Parsons, with three teenagers under her roof — and one away at college! — is thankful for her husband and naps. Between laundry loads and fixing beef, you might find her in the McDonald’s drive-through ordering a coke with extra ice and a chocolate chip cookie … because this is her happy place.

  1. As a middle school teacher, I’ve shared these thoughts many times- middle school students don’t have the discernment to know a friend when they see one- and don’t know how to be a good friend. Phil 2 is great. And they need explicit instruction. Thanks for sharing the idea to serve. It’s something to not take for granted in our busy lives!

  2. Love your thoughts…..this is a good one even for us with grown children. Thanks, you are always uplifting.

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