Don’t Let ‘Em Tell You Who You Can be Friends With

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I noticed in my little girl’s preschool her friends would try and tell her who she could and could not be friends with.  The new girl who was a bit different then the rest of the gang was strictly off limits or so my daughter’s friends would say.  One day, Skylar, my daughter, told us this.  Both me and her mother said that the very next day we wanted her to play with the new girl and nobody should tell her who she could be friends with.  We said everybody deserves a chance and she can decide for herself if she liked the new girl.  The next day Skylar listened to Mommy & Daddy (we know there is a limited shelf life on that) and played with the new girl.  Turns out the new girl was pretty cool and they became fast friends.  Sure enough once my daughter accepted her the other kids accepted the new girl as well.  Mommy & Daddy were proud.

This happened again in first grade but Skylar did not need to be told to make friends with the girl that was a little stranger than the other girls.  Even I thought the kid was a bit strange.  Skylar has become very close with that little girl.  A few weeks ago one of Skylar’s long time friends started telling Skylar that the “strange” girl did not want to be friends with her.  Skylar was hurt but we told her it was probably not true.  Well they had a play date and of course these were all lies.

What’s my point?  From when we are little kids to mature adults there is a certain type of person that will try and tell you who you can and can’t be friends with.  These people might appear to be the cool kids…even as adults.  They might tell you things about the other person to convince you to see things as they see things.  What they are really doing is revealing their own insecurity and paranoia.  They are revealing that they need control over everything in their world…even your choices.

I see this now in the anti-scamming groups.  Group administrators pressure people to leave groups, or get rid of this person or that person on their friends list.  They have justifications like that person is harmful or this person is a scammer or whatever.  These administrators tell you they know best.  They threaten expulsion if you do not comply for the “good of the group.”  I wonder does the person who receives the ultimatum ask themself  “Who are you to decide for me who I can talk to and what reason I have for talking to them?”  I am seeing a lot of scam victims being bullied into compliance.  See as people we naturally just want to belong.  One of the worst things you can say to somebody is you do not belong.  You are an outsider.  It is all about power and making a person feel like they are missing out if they are not part of this group or that group.  Did you ask yourself what type of group am I joining that wants to take control away from me?

I am not going to tell you what you should say when somebody gives you that type of ultimatum.  Now that my now six year old daughter can decide for herself the company she keeps I no longer tell anybody who to be friends with.  I think anybody reading this is fully capable of deciding for himself the best way to handle that. 

Gotta go…my kid has a play date with the “strange” kid.    

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