Dear Rhonda & Dr. Cheri: Better offer from a new friend?
Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,
My daughter lied to one of her best friends, who asked her to spend the night at her house and watch a movie there. They’ve been doing this since they were young.
A new girl at school asked my daughter go out to a movie.
My daughter lied to her other friend and said she had to work on a big school project. She didn’t seem to care anything about her long-time friend and said to me, “Mom, this is going to be so much better and more fun than sitting in her rec room eating bad popcorn and sleeping on the floor with sleeping bags!”
I told her it was wrong to lie to her friend because she got a better offer, but she shrugged her shoulders and said, “Well, I already did it. I’ll look stupid if I change plans. They’ll both be mad at me.”
I said she could easily get caught at the movies with this new girl. They will both still be mad at her, if she gets caught.
Then she said she was making a new girl feel better about herself because she made a new friend and won’t be so lonely. Her old friend will always be her friend, she said.
Your daughter’s situation isn’t about getting caught. It’s about being a good friend.
It’s also not about “feeling stupid.” Your daughter would benefit from understanding that how she feels isn’t as important as what she does. Feelings come and go, but doing the right thing, regardless of how she feels, is paramount.
Justifying wrong choices because the result of the right choice might not be the desired outcome magnifies the fact that it’s not the best and most ethical one.
Trading activities with a long-time and loyal friend for a better offer with a possible new friend is never the right thing to do. It hurts everyone.
Ask your daughter about the Golden Rule: Treat others the same way you would want to be treated. How would she feel if the situation was reversed?
There is one simple, but difficult, choice for your daughter. She needs to tell her established friend she’s sorry she lied, and admit she accepted an invitation to do something else with a new girl at school.
Ask her to invite both girls to your home so the new girl will feel welcome and they may all enjoy a fun time all together.
Thanks for being a valiant mom. Be gentle with your young and inexperienced daughter. She needs your strong but sweet advice.
Rhonda and Dr. Cheri
Rhonda Orr is the president of Rhonda’s STOP BULLYING Foundation and host of a podcast at therhondaorrshow.com. Dr. Cheri L. McDonald, PhD, LMFT, is a crime-victim specialist. Write them at Rhonda@rhondastopbullying.org.