My youngest is a forthright kind of girl; if she wants something she tends to just ask for it – no standing on ceremony or dancing round the issue. ‘Why mess about?’ is her philosophy. She’s a very sociable kid and on a recent holiday she attended the Mini Club. Keen to make friends she posed the following question to the first child that happened to make eye contact: “Shall we be best friends?”
Now I wouldn’t want that child to not feel special but I have to admit, it’s not the first time she’s asked someone that question and I don’t think it will be the last. Mostly they tend to just go with the flow and play with her and everyone seems pretty happy with that. It seems though she had met her match on this occasion. This is how the conversation went;
Daughter: “Shall we be best friends?”
Best friend candidate: “Well where are you from? Ireland, England, Scotland…?”
Me: “She’s from England.”
Best friend candidate: “Well I’m from Ireland so I don’t think it’s going to work out. Besides I already have a best friend in Ireland.” [This is a 6 year old]
Me: “Perhaps you could be best friends just for today?”
Best friend candidate: “Hmmm, maybe.”
Daughter: *looks bemused and quickly starts looking for alternative best friend material*
While, as a mother, I appreciate her trying to manage my daughter’s expectations I fear she was over-thinking the situation and taking her request far too literally. Being a ‘live in the moment’ kind of gal (and 4 years old) she wasn’t really looking for any kind of commitment (she demonstrated this by failing to ever remember the child’s name and simply shouting ‘friend!’ at her whenever she saw her during the rest of the holiday). When she asked her to be her BFF (best friend forever), she was really only looking for a BFFT (best friend for today).
At least the girl’s best friend in Ireland can be assured that she didn’t ‘cheat’ on her with any new best friends and for that we have to respect her honour.