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Friday, April 7, 2017

Making Friends

Dear Bro Jo,

 I have two friends in the church. We talk, maybe hang out. We don't do much more. I thought that that was fine. I thought that it was okay to wave at all of the girls at the stake dances and firesides and have them ignore me. I thought that it was normal for all of the other girls to have scripture reading parties, and not invite me. I thought it was normal for the leaders to invite all of the laurels except for a few to get ready for Mormon prom. I tried to be accepted, but I wasn't upset because I thought that friends are just for some people, and I don't need any.

But then I joined a swim team. They didn't make me feel less because I did experiments and enjoyed them. They didn't make me feel less feminine for liking superheroes. They didn't make me feel weird for graduating early, because they were too. They didn't ostracize me for quoting Shakespeare because guess what we do during land workout? We go through the death scenes of LOTR, HP, and Shakespeare's Tragedies.

I realized that I not only benefited from having having friends, I needed them. I looked and I saw that I didn't have what the leaders to tell you to have in church- friends. Over the past six years, that I have been where I am, I have tried to organize activities at church, join things in the stake, talk to people about their interests, open up about myself, and everything that the church says to do to make and strengthen friendships. It hasn't worked. I just don't connect. Is there some extra advice that you can give me about making friends? So far I attend mutual regularly, I go to youth activities, I go to the dances, I go to seminary, I participate in class. Is there anything else that I can do without changing myself? or should I accept the fact that these girls will never be my friends, and move on?

- Tonks




Dear Tonks,

(Interesting name, btw.)

Everyone needs friends.  President Hinckley said that.

Every group has clicks; small groups who are more likely to associate because of the things they have in common.

Where I live it's the girls at Church you would fit in with and the swim team that would make fun of you for loving the things you do.

The best way to make a friend, of course, is to be a friend.  Unless someone's behavior is bad one should not change who they are.  And even them it's best to make that change for yourself, not for others.

Will you ever be part of this particular click at Church?

Probably not.

But as people get older their interests change and along with that their group of friends can change, too.  You may find one day that you and some of these girls have much more in common than you once did.

At that moment the best thing for you to do will be to be forgiving and open to new friendships.
Right now I think you should ask these leaders why you didn't get invited to Group Scripture Study and to get ready for the Prom.  I think the answer could be quite educational for both them and you.

In fact, I hope you'll let me know how that conversation goes.

There's power in moving on, but there's even more power in information ... and even more power in inviting your new friends to Church.

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

I have decided to stop worrying about having friends in my word for a few reasons. I'm going to college next year, these girls aren't going to be there, and even if they are, it's highly unlikely that I will see them if I don't really want to at BYU. Contrary to what my Young Women's leaders say, Friends aren't necessary for a strong testimony. If I focus on Christ, and less on how other people treat me, I'll still look forward to church. I just have to try harder.

Lastly, I talked to two other girls who attend BYU and BYU Hawaii. They had the same problem as I'm having now. One girl even left our ward 2 years early to go to the YAG. It's unlikely that I will find a solution where they didn't, and the search for one will only frustrate me and stand in my way of growing closer to Christ.

I talked to my leaders about inclusion, and how there were so many cliques. I don't think that they realized what they were doing. They probably thought that all of the girls were really close because the clique encompassed so many people. They have decided to look at their rosters and invite everyone if they're having a YW sleepover, or makeover night, or something like that.

As to inviting my friends to church, all of my friends are my friends because of what kind of people they are. They all act like Mormons, even if they aren't. They're even more rigid on dress codes, keeping the Sabbath day holy, and their intake of media than most Mormon families are. Because they are so active in their churches, they decline going to our church. Some of them have been interested, but their families have said no, so it isn't the right time in their lives to accept the gospel. I can only hope that when they're older, and they question their religion, they will remember me and our church.

Even though I have given up on befriending the girls in my stake, I know not everyone is like that. However, a lot of people are. These people will be with me throughout my life: the kind that are so insecure that they manipulate their world to make people like, or act like, they like them. How do I handle and deal with these people effectively. I will likely have these people as roommates in college, as visiting teaching companions, as coworkers, as mission companions. How do I handle them so that it's a pleasant experience for everyone.

Thanks,

- Tonks




Dear Tonks,

I believe in killing with kindness. You'll never regret it and will always have a reason to feel good about yourself.

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

Thanks, I've actually been made secretary of the class. That has helped a lot because I'm able to talk to the leaders more, and I actually know how to serve and what needs to be done.

- Tonks




Dear Tonks,

Wonderful!

- Bro Jo

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