A Long To Belong: Helping Girls With Friend Problems

Friday, April 05, 2024

The KidzMatter Blog/A Long To Belong: Helping Girls With Friend Problems

It’s not easy being a girl today. We could list the challenges our girls face from A to Z—anxiety, bullying, cutting, depression, eating disorders, all the way to “z” zits.

But as a ministry leader and mom of four, including two high-energy girls, the number one ache I’ve seen sideline a girl is the friction of friendship drama. Mean girls torment, best friends change with the seasons, the lunch table is lonely, and social media shouts, “you are not enough.”

That’s not all. Think about the other friendship challenges girls face.

F—FOMO. Girls have a Fear Of Missing Out, which only escalates when girls see their friends online. Now girls don’t just have a sense they’re missing out; they can take a screenshot of it.

R—Rejection. Being excluded from friend group activities can cultivate a feeling of unworthiness in our girls. Rejection stings and sticks.

I—Isolation, and

E—Epidemic of loneliness. These go hand in hand. The research is clear: isolation and loneliness negatively impact girls at alarmingly high rates. In fact, 80 percent of girls say they are more lonely and isolated since COVID.

N—Name-calling. Bullies and gossip girls have been around forever, but what’s changed is the number of platforms where they can hurl the hurt. 42% of teens have been called offensive names online or via their cell phone, and that’s 42% too many.

D—Drama. Girl drama creates an exhausting roller coaster of emotions for girls, and their grown-ups too.

Friend, this is the world of our girls today. Though God’s girls have been designed—like we are—by God and for community, many girls are riding the friendship struggle bus and long for a place to belong.

But what if? What if in a culture that unfriends with a snap of the fingers or a quick tap on a screen, we guided our girls to a new and better way to live? What if we opened God’s Word and showed girls the gift of true friendship, both with God and their girlfriends?

That’s what Friended is all about. Friended is an exciting GEMS curriculum that teaches girls what it means to be a friend to the God of the universe and to one another.

The theme verse for Friended is John 15:15, where Jesus says, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father, I have made known to you.

The good news is our girls don’t have to fight for a chair at the cool friend table. They've been invited to the table of Christ, the best table possible. In Christ, there is no FOMO, Rejection, Isolation, Epidemic of Loneliness, Name Calling, or Drama. No one loves our girls like He does. Jesus is the one Friend where no girl will ever be lied to, left out, laughed at, let down, or lonely. There is no better friend than Jesus. They belong to Him.

Plus, the Bible is filled with “one anothers.'' Did you know “one another” is shared in the New Testament over fifty times? In a culture where goldfish have attention spans longer than our girls, we can’t teach them all the “one anothers,” but we can help girls memorize and meditate on five.

“One Another” friends love one another, serve one another, pray for one another, accept one another, and are kind to one another.

Can you imagine a generation of girls who tattooed these five “one anothers” on their minds and hearts, and then put them into practice in their everyday lives? Friends would circle-up to pray for one another, rather than putting one another down. Classmates would look for ways to serve others, rather than feeling entitled to be served. And girls would unite to sprinkle kindness everywhere they placed their sparkly, sneaker-wearing feet.

It may not be easy being a girl today. But as girls become “One Another” friends, this world will be changed for our girls and by our girls—one friendship at a time.

Cindy Bultema loves the Lord, loves life, loves her family, and loves to celebrate! Cindy has over 20 years of ministry experience including currently serving as the Executive Director of GEMS Girls’ Clubs. She’s a sought-after women’s speaker and author of two best-selling Bible studies, Red Hot Faith and Live Full, Walk Free. 

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