You and your best friend are pretty much inseparable, right? You go everywhere together and do everything together, and you can’t imagine your life without them. After all, there’s a reason why they’re your best friend. So if one of you has to move away, it can feel devastating – what will you do without them?!

I’ve moved house dozens of times in my life and every time it’s meant leaving friends behind. It sucks, but trust me, it doesn’t mean the end of the friendship. In fact, it might even make it stronger.

Things will be a little different, sure, but there are lots of ways to stay close without being physically close…

Make the most of social media…

When I first moved away from a friend the only way we could keep in touch was by writing to each other, old-school style – stamps and everything! And even though that meant I could justifiably spend a fortune in Paperchase, it made keeping in touch mega hard work. Now though, you can let your mates know you’re thinking about them at the touch of a button. Tag each other in memes, send each other silly Snapchats and show them some digital love, and you’ll feel as if they’re right there next to you.

…but keep some things private, too

Social media is fab for keeping in touch, but you need one-on-one time away from all your mutuals, too. Don’t just rely on messaging – give them a call for a proper chat, or make a date for a FaceTime sesh.

Keep the conversation going

When I wrote letters to my long distance friends I felt like I had to squeeze every little detail of what was going on into a single letter, which meant information overload for my mates (and an aching writing hand for me). Now though, I WhatsApp them snippets on the reg instead. It’s pretty boring stuff, to be honest; things like how excited I am for lunch or a pic of a hideous jumper I’ve seen while shopping, but it’s the sort of thing we’d talk about IRL, which makes the distance between us seem like less of a big deal.


One of the reasons you and your bestie are so close is because of your shared history, so keep it fresh in your memory with a nostalgia trip. Download Timehop or enable Facebook Memories to look back at all the amazing times you’ve had together, or scroll through pics of the both of you and dedicate a #TBT to them.

Keep making shared memories

Nostalgia is good, but new is better! Next time your fave show drops on Netflix, watch it together through Skype, or have a night in trying beauty products via FaceTime. Or you could do a matching activity then report back afterwards. “You can start new traditions, too,” says my friend Emily. “I never bothered with holiday postcards, but now whenever I’m away I make a point of sending one to my long distance BFF – it’s kind of become ‘our thing’.”

Take an interest in their life

If your friend is the one who’s moved it can sting hearing all about their new life ‘without you’, and it’s easy to feel left out. But suck it up and ask them about it. They’ll want you to feel included in their life, after all. Plus, as my friend Sarah says, “You can be the person they spill the beans to about their new friends or workmates. They’ll love you for providing a listening ear, and you get to sip the tea without being personally involved in any of the drama!”

Plan your next meet-up

Get a date in the diary for a weekend visit. Knowing you’ll be seeing each other again makes it (a little) easier to be apart, plus it gives you an excuse to bug each other with ideas for all the things you want to do together.

But if a visit isn’t on the cards right now (maybe you live a bit too far apart), there’s nothing stopping you from getting excited about other things in the future. Talk about your ambitions and the things you both want to achieve that you’ll be excited to share with each other, and a time in the future when you’ll be closer to each other. Dream big, and it’ll help you stay friends for long enough to see those dreams come true.


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Image: Amber Griffin

Moving from primary school to secondary school can bring up loads of different feelings. Excitement, fear, sadness, happiness: the first few weeks, or even months, of secondary school can make everyone feel a bit wobbly. After all, you’re in a new place, among mostly new people, doing new kinds of tasks and classes. But you’re not alone.

If you move to secondary school with some friends, this can feel really comforting. You have someone (or loads of people) to lean back on, meet at lunchtime and walk home with. However if you move on your own, it can be scary. Either way, sometimes the process of moving to a new school can change your friendships.

This could be that you drift apart from a friend because they’ve made new friends in their form or at a club. Or it could be that one of your friends wants to stay in touch and you don’t. Or the other way round: you want to stay friends and your friend from primary school doesn’t. It can be tricky to get through it but we’re here for you, and here’s how to deal…

Try talking to your friend if you’re feeling hurt and confused

When someone isn’t talking to us as much as they usually do, it can feel confusing. Before thinking that your friend doesn’t want to be your friend anymore, talk to them. This doesn’t have to be scary or confrontational.

You could say: “I feel sad because we don’t spend as much time together anymore.” Then suggest something you could both do together, like catch up at lunchtime or on a weekend instead. If they don’t want to, it’ll be tough. But at least you’ll know where you stand rather than assuming what’s going on. Be brave and start a conversation.

It can really hurt when friendships end or drift apart

The first thing we recommend is being okay with how you feel. Moving schools, meeting new people and friendships drifting apart is bound to feel a bit weird and even sad. This is a totally normal thing to feel. It’d actually be surprising if you didn’t feel sad! The best thing you can do is remember it’s okay, however you feel.

Sometimes it can make you angry

When we go through a difficult time, we all tend to act differently. Some people feel sad, some people get on with things as if nothing has changed, some people get angry. Just like it’s normal to feel sad, it’s normal to feel angry too.

Chances are you felt quite comfortable at primary school, you knew everyone and how everything works. Now that you’re at secondary school and everything is changing it’s normal to feel angry – especially at friends you feel aren’t there for you like they used to be.

There’s always a silver lining to a friendship ending or drifting apart

But there’s good news here, promise! Once you’ve let yourself feel your feelings, you need to remember that you can get through this. There’s always a good side to everything, like your gran says “every cloud has a silver lining.”

And you need to look out for the good bits of a friend drifting away. Sometimes friends that drift away actually come back as better friends later on – this happened to me loads in secondary school!

It can be a great opportunity to meet new people in your form or at clubs

One of the good things about a friend drifting away is the spare time you have. This is a really good chance for you to meet new people, whether that’s joining a new club or talking to people you wouldn’t normally talk to.

… And it can be a good opportunity to make new friends in different groups

Who knows, some of these new people you talk to might become really, really good friends with you. I remember when I moved from primary to secondary school I wasn’t in the same class as two of my close friends.

I felt really sad for weeks, but soon I began to make different friends and I realised that I actually had more in common with my new friends – we all really liked drama and performing arts. I still said “hi” to my old friends from primary school, but felt really glad to have been strong and started talking to new people.


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Image: Hailey Hamilton

We’re calling it: while having a super tight, exclusive group of friends means your social life is sorted, branching out and finding buddies that you have one to one connections with can serve you well when it comes to becoming more confident, learning about yourself, and discovering skills that will come in handy for future adult friendships.

Your gang of besties will share the same in joke over and over again, until it’s as familiar and comforting as your favourite cosy hoodie. But new friends will share different stories and ideas, broadening your horizons and showing you the world in a different way. Here’s what new friends can do for you – and what you can do for your friends!

Sporty friends

You might already be part of the sporty crowd, but if you’re a sweat dodger, you might think that you will never have anything in common with anyone who plays hockey at lunch for fun. Think again! People who are enthusiastic about a sport tend to be passionate about life in general, and more often than not, they’re desperate to show people why PE is so brilliant. They won’t mind if you’re lacking in coordination, and have a tendency to run away when you see a ball coming towards you. They will be able to show you a life-enhancing, energy-boosting side to sport that will inspire you, and you’ll be able to allow them to share their big love, which is even more fun than triple Games.

Geeky friends

It seems like 100 years and 100 high school movies since geeks were considered uncool. The geeks have inherited the earth, and smart people appreciate smart people. Nerdiness and a love of learning is what makes the world progress.

However, if you’re not a self-describing geek, you might find geeks slightly intimidating and scarily clever. But geeky friends are great friends because they are some of the wisest, most interesting people on the planet – and importantly, while they might get seemingly endless A-grades, they’re usually more interested in the process than the result. Befriend a geek, become a geek, and realise that the smartest people in the room are the ones who are excited about what they don’t know, and prepared to ask lots of questions to find out.

The ‘quiet’ one

This comes with the caveat that you can’t make anyone be friends with you, and if someone is genuinely so shy that they’d rather eat lunch in the loo than sit with you, it’s not fair to force them out of their shell and comfort zone. But: quiet people are the ones most likely to get overlooked, when they could secretly be the funniest person you’ve ever met, or have a really fascinating hobby, or a super exciting musical talent. If you find yourself drawn to the noisiest people, see if you can get that quiet person talking, and learn how to shut up and listen.

The popular pal

According to ancient pop culture rules, being popular makes you really mean; the sort of person who likes to steal boyfriends and ruin proms. The law of averages says that in the history of time, there must be one or two popular prom-wreckers – but consider this. People are popular because they are liked, and they’re liked because they’re usually really nice. If you’ve decided to avoid the most popular girl at school because you’ve seen Mean Girls many times and you know what Regina George is capable of, it might be time to open up and be friendly. Hopefully, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

That super cool sixth former

Don’t be frightened! You might think your style/life crush is far too busy with A levels / UCAS applications / the general excitement of being 18 to appreciate an approach from a fan who wants to become a friend. However, they will be flattered if you say hello, and if you follow it up with a question about a shared passion – you’ve heard they’re taking Economics and you’re curious about it, or you’d love to know where they got their bag from – you have an ice breaker that might get a friendship started. Sometimes you have to find your own mentors. Approaching someone older and wiser is initially scary, but the benefits are massive.

The sweet but terrifyingly enthusiastic first year

You don’t remember being so confident when you were their age. Or so loud. Or… brazen. The younger person who wants to be your buddy might not seem like your cup of tea, but it’s definitely worth giving them a chance. Marissa Mayer of Yahoo recommends surrounding yourself with friends of all ages, because younger people can teach you as much as older people. This person is reaching out because they want to learn from you. Why not see what you can learn from them too? If nothing else, what they know about Snapchat hacks will make your head spin.


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Friendships are complex, eternally changing and can be as full of feelings and drama as a romantic relationship. But there are also certain types of friends who can be just plain bad for you.

If any names come to mind when reading the below, that might just be a toxic friend worth binning…

The Drainer


The Drainer is the friend who pops up in your messages and you think, “Ugh, what now?” They’re always full of drama and LOVE dumping it all on you, without ever asking YOU how YOU are. They chat, chat, chat, chat, and, despite barely giving you a chance to reply, manage to exhaust you within half an hour of being together.

The Ignorer


The Ignorer stresses every cell in your body without ever doing anything… because they hardly ever do anything. The complete opposite of The Drainer, they’re nowhere to be seen in your messages because they NEVER REPLY, and will happily leave the read receipt on. Satanists. They’re also likely to be flaky and drop out of plans last minute without much care, leaving you frustrated and feeling like you put way too much effort in.

The Jiber

Brooklyn 99 Gina

The Jiber thinks they’re really funny. Too funny. They take great pleasure in poking fun at you, which in your books goes a bit beyond banter. They’re kind of mean and especially like to poke fun at your appearance, hobbies, and likes. They’re likely a very insecure person, evidenced by them FREAKING OUT if you dare poke fun at them, but it’s no excuse to be a dick.

The Negative Nancy


The Negative Nancy never has anything positive to say. They’ll go against any thought or opinion you have, just to be different or put you down, and put barriers up at any opportunity. They always have excuses to not do something, will find niggles in every choice you make and every opinion you have, and will make life feel utterly miserable.

The Manipulator


The Manipulator is difficult to spot. You’ll need David Attenborough to come along to dig out their whereabouts and narrate their behaviours. They’re often passive aggressive and will never be obviously confrontational, but they’ll put doubts in your mind so you’ll side with them over anything. You’ll be pressured into doing things without even realising, and feel really confused about your thoughts and emotions as they play around with them. They are, we would argue, one of the most unhealthy species of toxic friend out there.

The Too-Attached


The Too-Attached is a hard one to deal with, because you don’t want to BE the dick. They really like you. Like, REALLY like you and want to hang out or talk ALL THE TIME. They’d sit by your feet as you did a poo if they could. They’re nice enough but a bit much, and may well guilt trip you when you say you can’t hang out. They make you feel responsible for their happiness and, the worst, send multiple texts instead of one long one. SO ANNOYING.

The Bragger


The Bragger can usually be seen on Facebook or Instagram. They only use it to shout about their newest purchases, most recent holiday, or amazing things that have happened, because their life is so perfect. When you meet up, they just repeat what they’ve said. They’re not bothered in asking how you are, and think they’re God’s gift. Getting them a gift card for their birthday is risky.

The Gossip


The Gossip goes beyond the standard little gossip you have when you get to school. They live for it. They want to know the gossip before it’s even happened, and hate people knowing gossip before them. They don’t care who it’s about or what it’s about. Anyone is fair game. This means they can’t be trusted and, in all likelihood, would happily create and spread the gossip about you.

If you think you may have some toxic friends, don’t panic! Weigh up the situation, maybe talk to a family member or friend (who’s not part of the group) for advice, and have a read of our article on how to unfriend someone IRL. It might help. And if you don’t think you have any toxic friends… maybe YOU ARE THE TOXIC FRIEND. No, just kidding. You’re lovely.


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Hands up if you’ve ever been called bossy? UP, come on! We don’t have all day.

Sorry, that was bossy of me wasn’t it? Some might say ‘assertive’ or ‘proactive’… but I’m a girl, and so plain old ‘bossy’ is the invisible label that’s been slapped on my head ever since the first day I tried to organise my nursery school classmates into the optimum formation for a game of Dizzy Dinosaurs (not right next to the tree, yeah Debbie?).

You’ll know if you’re the bossy friend in your group (and every group has one, trust me – that’s how you’re a ‘group’ and not, like, a rabble) because you approach every party, event and outing, even your standard Saturday mooch-around-town, with the organisational fervour of a wedding planner. You empathised so strongly with Monica planning Phoebe’s wedding that you even thought about getting one of those bluetooth headsets, so you can chase up late friends while keeping your hands free to send excited gifs to everybody in your group chat. You tend to get chosen as form captain, prefect, group spokesperson, project group leader and the nominated person to sweet talk people’s parents after house parties, because they know that however much of a nightmare you might be during the process, you’ll always get the job done.

And you also, probably, get made to feel a little bit bad about it. A bit overbearing. Too bolshy. Too loud. Too… much. Right?

Wrong. I’m here today to tell you that even if people give you crap for it, being the bossy one is no bad thing. For starters, the world NEEDS bossy people. It’s how we get stuff done. Without us bossy types, nothing would ever get decided on. No trips would ever get arranged. The whole world would just be one huge, chaotic circle of laid-back people taking it in turns to shrug and say “I don’t mind, you choose!” until we all die.

And I’ll let you into a secret: bossy is just another word for taking charge. Being a leader. It’s a characteristic that’s been prized and applauded in men for centuries, making them world leaders, CEOs and multi-millionaires. Girls and women who have the same qualities, meanwhile? We’re called ‘bossy’. And that’s bulls**t. Bossy girls are the world leaders and CEOs and multi-millionaires (the nice, charitable kind) of tomorrow.

For proof, like so many things in life, we just need to to look at Beyoncé – a woman so totally and fully in charge of her own brand that she’s become an unshakeable world icon… but one who also got called bossy as a kid.

Back in 2014 Queen Bey joined other amazing ladies like Jennifer Garner, Jane Lynch, Condoleezza Rice and Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg in the #BanBossy campaign, to get people to rethink the way they used the world to describe girls. “I’m not bossy,” went their slogan. “I’m the boss.” And with Bey’s fierce, slaying brand of femininity only getting more inspirational by the year, the time that girls really realise they can run the world might be here.

There’s a good way to be bossy though, obviously. A way that listens to everyone and takes the introverts into account too – because a world where everyone is bossy would be just as bad as a world where nobody remembers to designate snack responsibilities and you always end up at a picnic with nine tubs of hummus. Just as bad.

So maybe what we need is a compromise. If us bossy girls learn to keep our traps shut every so often and recognise that not everyone necessarily cares if the official daytrip-to-Brighton hashtag gets used with the correct punctuation…. maybe everyone else could thank us for making things happen, banish the word ‘bossy’ and call us ‘assertive’ for a change. Or ‘proactive’. Or just plain bossing it.


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A little friendly rivalry is one thing, but what happens when we find ourselves in constant competition with our girls? Whether it’s comparing school grades, clothes, Instagram likes, music knowledge or even Christmas pressies, this kind of constant pressure to compete can be exhausting and totally destructive.

Sure, in the right dosage, a small amount of competitiveness can be a great way to motivate, but it’s important to make sure that’s as far as it goes. Remember, relationships are meant to make you feel great about yourself, so if the fundamental nature of your friendship is beginning to get you down it’s time to stage an intervention. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Professor Tracey Vaillancourt, who has researched competition in women, says there’s a big difference between positive and negative forms of envy and it can sometimes be difficult to work out which is which. Here’s how to spot a competitive friendship gone wrong…

Do they put you down?

This is a big giveaway and a massive no-no. If someone is putting you down you’ve got to put a stop to it immediately. You don’t want to put your confidence and self-esteem at risk, ever. You want friends that are proud of you, regardless of whether you came first or last in the sports day race.

Do they support you?

This is super important. Are they there for you when you succeed? Overly-competitive friends struggle to be happy for you when you’re doing well. Pay attention to their reaction when you tell them something good has happened: do they rush over with a congrats card when you ace your piano exam? Or do they try and turn the conversation to them and their achievements? These telltale signs are not to be ignored people.

Do they compare themself to you?

Ever heard the saying “comparison is the death of joy”? We think Mark Twain’s onto something. (He probs had a competitive bff, too.) If you’re friend is constantly comparing themselves to you in a negative way then maybe it’s time to create a bit of distance between you. Nobody likes a negative Nancy and you certainly don’t need a friend who uses your downfalls as a way to bring themselves up.

So, how do I deal?

Competitiveness often stems from insecurity. It’s important to remember this when you’re trying to mend an overly competitive friendship – especially if it’s someone important to you.

Obvs, when you’re at school doing the same subjects or you’re close and enjoy the same hobbies it’s natural there is going to be some competition, but it’s important to know how to deal with competitiveness to make sure it doesn’t effect your confidence and more importantly your happiness.

Focus on yourself

In a competitive friendship, the person who has lower self-esteem can easily become the target. Girl, start being more confident in how amazing you are. You don’t always need to shout about it but make sure you remember all the things you’re good at – however small. The more self-assured you become in yourself and your capabilities, the less affected you’ll be by petty competitions.

Girl power

One of the best things about having a tight squad is being able to confide in each other. Talk to a friend you trust and see if they’ve noticed the competitive behaviour too. If it’s a big fat yes, it might be time to address the problem head-on. When confronting the person in question about this sensitive issue take tips from clinical psychologist Melanie Greenberg. She says: “Speak your truth without blaming anyone. Explain why you want things to change, what outcome you would like – for example, to be happy for each other as a group, stay positive. And take your ally with you.”

Positivity is key

This is something that applies in all aspects of life: choose love not war. Instead of getting sucked into a competition try to ignore the negativity and support your friend when she boasts about her latest achievement. Hopefully she’ll learn from your glowing example.

Take a time out

If your friendship still doesn’t improve, maybe it’s time to have some space. It doesn’t need to be a dramatic split like Brad and Jen, just simply sitting at the other end of the lunch table or spending less time with them on the weekends is enough. Surrounding yourself with people who are happy for you will instantly make you feel better. Follow your heart. If competitions are getting you down, do something about it. You deserve the best. Stat.

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There aren’t many talents which I would proudly ‘fess up to owning, but if I had to name one (and SERIOUSLY girls, we need to get better at this self-respect thing) it is my ability to transform a ‘friend crush’ – a girl or guy you platonically worship, but can’t imagine ever feeling the same about you – into an actual, IRL friend.

One week I’m swooning over THE coolest beb I’ve ever met: a girl who guts and dices enough chickens for 70 people every night* while sporting the BEST eyeliner I have ever seen, for example; the next, discussing Bumble and chatting about what it’s like being a ‘girls’ girl’ in such a macho world. *It’s ok, she’s a chef.

One of the nicest – and most important, I think – features of friend crushes is that they tend to be people that in your day to day life you may not come across or have a chance to befriend. You assume that, because you didn’t grow up with them and or you’re not in their ‘set’, you’ve no chance. Well, I’ve news for you: if someone who grew up with square parents in the squarest suburb of suburbs, watching Newsnight only and with a radio tuned solely to Classic FM or Radio 4 can do it, anyone can.

All it takes is confidence, and the following tricks of the trade…

Say what you think of them

…but don’t overdo it, for god’s sake: there’s reasonable admiration, and there’s kissing the sticky floor they walk on. No one with a heart is going to reject a little bit of basic-level crushing, but don’t go too intense. Just tell them what you admire about them, whether it’s the clothes they wear or their band or their sporting prowess or whatever. Be specific (“You really bring the music to life”) and ask a question (“are your family musical too?”). If there’s one thing I’ve learnt from journalism, it’s that most people like talking about themselves… and by extension, they like a willing listener

Be lighthearted

The temptation is probably to be a bit self-deprecating here – say “omg I can’t even run 500m” or “love your outfit! I hate all my clothes” – but don’t do that. It’s not good for the mind. You’re ace. Crack a joke, though, if you fancy; tell an anecdote if you don’t, or make a relevant reference to something they may have heard of. E.g. “OMG, did you see Adele’s speech about Beyonce at the Grammy’s? What a dreamboat.” etc etc. There you go, easy.

Ask them for a favour

It could be advice (how to cook an aubergine) or it could be something practical. It’s a reason to be in touch again, and of course it’s another compliment for them to be asked. Asking my friend crush Rachel if I could borrow the notes from a series of lessons I’d missed, because her handwriting was neat and she was bloody smart, allowed me to take her for coffee as a thank you. The rest is ten years of close friendship (and exam results that without her, I probably wouldn’t have got).

Be honest

My first friend crush, Emma, was in year four. I was lonely, unhappy with the fickle, cliquey friends I had at school, while at home my parents were on the brink of divorce. One afternoon during PHSE, my form teacher had a quiet chat with each one of us to see how we were and if there was anything that would make our lives better at school. I told her I’d like to be friends with Emma – and she went and TOLD EMMA.

To my great surprise though (Emma being prettier and funnier and cooler than me at the time, I thought) Emma agreed enthusiastically. We played on stilts all the next playtime, and many years later we’re still great mates (with more practical shoes). Of course, I no longer have a teacher to play messenger between me and my crush, but the value of simple honesty as displayed by my 8-year-old self has stuck with me and now, when I think I’d like to be someone’s friends, I’m pretty open about it: “Can we stay in touch”, “Do you fancy hanging out sometime” – even, if the right moment appears and I’m feeling brave and can make a bit of a joke out of it, “do you want to be friends?”

Use social media

What are Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook for if not communicating with people who aren’t yet IRL friends? Add them, follow them and like them – not incessantly, obvs, but enough to suggest a genuine interest in their life and happenings. Use the comments box: it takes a thumb twitch to like a gram or post, but it takes thought to comment on it. If they’re raving about somewhere you too love or want to go to, agree with them. It all prepares the ground for suggesting an actual meeting – and from there the only way is bosom buds, obviously.

Do them a favour

Perhaps you know someone who could help them in their chosen career, or with a project they’re working on.  Perhaps you’ve seen something – an article, a concert, a gig, a talk – that you think they might be interested in. This is about being friendly but it’s also about testing the water. How they respond should give you a fairly good idea of how likely your chance of success is, and thus whether you should keep trying or move on to pal pastures new.

Be friendly

Blindingly obvious, I know – but it’s easy to forget, you’ve got a lot on your plate. No one’s epitaph reads, “Here lies Ellie. She was lit”; people are remembered for being thoughtful, kind and genuine – qualities that, funnily enough, we’re all capable of whether we’re climate change activists, ‘influencers’ or just teenagers with squad goals.

Be yourself

If you want them to be your friend, there is literally no point being anyone else. That’s just common sense.


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Let’s talk about boys. Honestly, sometimes it can feel like they’re on a totally different planet but, the older I get, the more I appreciate the loyal, funny, caring (and occasionally totally stupid) guys in my life.

My first ever best friends were both boys, so I guess I had a bit of a head start. As soon as you start school though, the gender stereotypes kick in hard. You’re told “girls do this”, “boys do that”, and so neat little same-sex friendship circles form around netball vs. football, dance vs. cricket (what a load of BS, we know).

By the time you’re a teenager, those separate groups are pretty well established – and then being just good friends with a boy gets reeeeally complicated by silly gossip, hormones, and unfortunate crushes.

But the thing about boys is they’re not actually as different from us as they might sometimes seem. Forget pretty much all rom-coms, and the rubbish you’ve been told about how boys and girls can never really be “just good friends”. They totally can, and why the hell shouldn’t they?

Having boy friends in your life is great. Variety is the spice of life, and befriending a boy can be a really fun way of mixing up your hobbies and conversations – while also sticking two fingers up at the stereotypes that say boys can’t be sensitive and girls can’t be adventurous.

“Male and female friends make you think and feel differently about yourself – not just about how attractive you are, but about how sporty you are, how clever you are, how good you are at chatting about music, and so on,” explains Dr Angharad Rudkin, a Clinical Psychologist from the University of Southampton.

Of course, boy mates can also offer a valuable insight into the inner workings of the opposite sex, and they’ll often have a different perspective from your girlfriends on life’s dilemmas. In short, a good boyfriend will support you, make you laugh, and offer advice just as much as any girlfriend.

When I was at school, I had two main things in common with most of my best boy friends: we liked a lot of the same music, and we were really good at maths. It really doesn’t take anything more profound than that to strike up a conversation and find that you actually quite like each other.

In fact, those annoying boy-girl seating plans your teacher insists on can actually be really handy when it comes to making friends with boys. If you’re stuck with each other for the whole term anyway, you might as well make the best of it and see if there’s any common ground.

You’re not going to hit it off with every guy you’re forced to sit next to in class (just like you wouldn’t with every girl) but give them a chance. I promise they’re not all as weird and immature as each other!

The school gossip mill can be tricky though, when it comes to maintaining your friendship with a boy. Just because you’re both mature enough to like and respect each other as friends, doesn’t mean everyone else is mature enough not to start stupid rumours about you.

It would be too easy to say: “just ignore them” – although that is also solid advice. The best thing you can do is be open and honest with each other, to make sure you both know where you stand.

“Talk with your friends if you feel things are starting to get a bit different with your relationships – chatting about it is so much easier than trying to guess what the other is thinking,” says Dr Rudkin.

Sometimes that might mean making awkward confessions like: “I’ve developed a bit of a crush on you, but I don’t want this to affect our friendship” – because, guess what, hormones and your blossoming sexuality will do that to you. But mostly it just means being able to say: “Hey, we’re mates, right? I know people are gossiping, but that shouldn’t stop us hanging out together.”

Obviously, it’s also important to choose your boy mates carefully, just like you would any other friends. Make sure they’re respectful – not just to you, but to all the girls in your class – and don’t make you feel bad about yourself.

Hanging out in groups can ease the pressure too. If you and some mates are going to see a band he loves, or grabbing dinner together before the school disco, invite him to come along too. Mixed friendship groups can have a really nice, chilled out dynamic, and you won’t feel quite so awkward as you might do about hanging out one-on-one.

At the end of the day though, Dr Rudkin says: “Just do what feels right for you, and take each person as they are, regardless of their gender. If they make you feel good about yourself and positive about the future, and if they make you more of the person you really want to be, then it’s a good friendship.”

I love all of my girl and boy friends to bits, and they each bring totally different things to my life. With the girls it might be nights in, catching up and watching Pitch Perfect; discussing feminism over dinner; shivering together at a football match; or heading off for a weekend away together.

But there’s also that one guy who’s forever inviting groups of us over for wonderful dinners, or dropping everything to help me out of a tricky spot. There’s the boyfriend who I have endless deep and meaningful conversations with, and who’ll always come to me first for advice. And the mate who’s just as likely to take me trampolining, or on a photography tour round London, as he is to spend hours watching Ru Paul’s Drag Race with me.

I just couldn’t imagine life without any of them.

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We all know that bae has nothing on your BFF. I mean, the second ‘F’ literally stands for forever.

But sometimes, ‘forever’ doesn’t actually end up meaning forever. It might mean, ‘for high school’. It might mean, ‘for the summer’. It might mean, ‘until my crush realises they love me back and we spend the rest of our lives holding hands and gazing at each other while taking long walks along beaches’ (cheers for that one, Bryony).

When it comes to heartbreak, relationship breakups tend to get all the glory. There are gazillions of love songs and squazillions of books (what? Those could be real numbers) that deal with romantic heartbreak. But sometimes friendship breakups are the real arrows to your heart.

With romantic splits, people expect you to wallow. Everyone gives you a free pass if you are unable to get through a two minute conversation without weeping. You’re allowed to hole up in your room and refuse to eat anything of nutritional value, while concerned friends and family stroke your hair and tiptoe round bringing you cups of tea and letting you have the best biscuits.

But, when you break up with your BFF, everyone expects you to carry on as normal. To change that profile picture of the two of you, smiling with your arms wrapped around each other, without fuss. To ignore the eery silence of your phone, which no longer lights up every two minutes with a message from her. People expect you to be angry, not sad. To bitch and rage and plot revenge, not dissolve in a pile of tissues every time you smell her favourite body spray.

Well, screw that. I say you’re allowed to grieve for friendship breakups.

Hell you’re more than allowed – I fully encourage it.

Eat ice cream straight out of the tub. Put on your comfiest, grossest pyjamas. Watch The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants twice. Or three (ok, eight) episodes of Friends. Don’t wash your hair. Make a weepy Spotify playlist filled with heart-wobbling songs by Adele and Drake.  Let yourself be sad.

new girl

There is absolutely nothing wrong with letting yourself be sad. I weep at the John Lewis Christmas advert for two months solid, so it makes sense that I weep for the end of my actual, real-life friendships.

But then – then, you need to put your tissues away, paint your nails turquoise blue and get back on the horse. Focus on what the friendship taught you. Maybe this BFF taught you the importance of honesty, or that sometimes you should be kinder than is strictly necessary. Maybe she taught you how to do the macarena backwards.

Whatever it is, looking for those silver linings will help you form stronger friendships in the future.

Of course, you might get back together one day, and your friendship might be stronger because of your time apart. But if you don’t, there are seven billion (this one is an actual number, I promise) other potential friends waiting out there who would be lucky to have you.

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Image: Hailey Hamilton

One of the best heart-to-hearts I ever had as a teenager was in the car park in Moor Park station, waiting for my dad to wend his weary way home from work on the Metropolitan line. It was dark, and neither Mum or I could really make out each other’s facial expressions as we discussed Charlie Laurens and first date etiquette. Mum gave me my first – and best – piece of dating advice: don’t order a salad, and never be the first one to text after a date.

Alas it was too late for my crush, Charlie Laurens; I’d already been there, done the ordering a salad and texting him first post-date thing – and been rejected that morning in two devastating sentences. Hence the mum chat: prior to that I’d handled boy stuff well enough with the help of friends and siblings, but I LOVED Charlie with a love too precious, too DEEP for the common room, and only my mum could help me move on.

She helped me swiftly, and conclusively. She ‘fessed up about her first crush, Richard, and how she still didn’t understand why they weren’t together. FORTY YEARS later. Yet with two marriages, two children and a load of great mates under her own belt, she was pretty confident my life would go on. By the time dad came into land, my wounds were – if not healed, then at least bandaged.

I don’t look back longingly on Charlie Laurens; but I do reflect on that conversation, and how being side by side, looking forward in semi-darkness, enabled me to ‘spit it out’ in a way I’d never managed sat opposite someone over lunch in broad daylight. Since then, I’ve found there are a number of times and places in which real, juicy heart-to-hearts are best conducted. Here, in no particular order are mine:

1. In the car

Whether driving or stationary, the same principle applies here as it did in the car park: you don’t have to face each other. Difficult, awkward or potentially embarrassing messages are easier to deliver when one of you’s in the back, or you’re side by side. No one can storm off if things heat up, and the radio is there to helpfully fill any long silences.

Good for: Deep-and-meaningful conversations (DMCs), problem solving, philosophical debates, confessions

Not so good for: shouting matches, beginner drivers who haven’t yet learnt to talk, listen and drive all at the same time, convos that are best resolved with a hug

2. On the phone

The fact that Donald Drumpf made national news the other day for hanging up on the Australian PM tells you everything you need to know about phone etiquette. If you or your partner in conversation haven’t grasped its basic principles – basically, not slamming the phone down – then this isn’t the place, and you should find another time. If you’re a phone fan, though (retro) this can be perfect. Make sure you’ve got minutes plenty of time, and you’re somewhere quiet, free of distractions. Maybe with snacks.

Good for: DMCs, problem-solving, philosophical debates, confessions/awks chats where you’d rather not see the other person’s face

Not so good for: phone-phobics, convos that are best resolved with a hug, Donald Drumpf

3. On a walk

Preferably with dog in tow – to give you some focus and/or comical distraction when you reach a conversational mud patch – but not always. I’ve chewed many a cud on a dogless walk, and 99 per cent of the time they end in success. There’s the winning combo of fresh air and exercise boosting your mood and wellbeing; there’s your surroundings to remark over when things get sticky (“ooh look! A bird”); and again, there’s the possibility of directing any awkward or difficult comments to the sky/trees/your feet/some place other than their face.

Good for: shouting matches (no one can hear you scream); DMCs, problem solving, philosophical debates, confessions/awks chats where you’d rather not see the other person’s face, convos that are best resolved with a hug, Donald Drumpf

Not good for: people who can’t walk easily, rainy days

4. Cooking (or washing up)

There’s nothing like the meditative mindlessness of peeling carrots or washing plates to get the conversational juices going, while at the same time the act of working together toward a shared goal (dinner/clean dishes) offers a safe space where you can discuss everything from TV to online dating, to politics, feminism and – a personal fave – what religion you’d have been brought up in if you could choose.

Good for: DMCs, problem solving, philosophical debates, confessions/awks chats where you’d rather not see the other person’s face, convos that are best resolved with a (soapy, damp) hug

Not good for: shouting matches. Not with all those sharp objects around.

5. Cup of tea

Needs no justification. It’s tea. It’s the British answer to all the world’s problems. My advice – if it’s particular, tricksy convo that’s called for – is to go out for your cuppa, so you’ve got some neutral territory to really thrash it out in. Put your phone away (right away in your bag, not face down on the table) and get some cake in: sounds ridic I know, but somehow sharing food creates a bond than can weather even the hardest of conversational storms.

Good for: shouting matches; if you’re out, the public nature of the place will force you to keep your voices down, and the cake will keep you together.  

Not good for: awkward confessions. Having tea together generally involves sitting opposite and sharing and if you or the other are embarrassed or awkward it can get a bit intense.

6. In the loos

The tendency of girls to have some of our best bants in the ladies is one that has baffled scientists to this day. Maybe it’s the women-only vibe? Maybe it’s the amount of we time we spend queuing in them. Either way, there is something about weeing, wiping, powdering and hair-fluffing that makes us feel comfortable sharing, not just concealer, lip balm and quality chat, but the deepest secrets of our soul.

Good for: DMCs, problem-solving, confessions/awks chats where you’d rather not see the other person’s face, convos that are best resolved with a hug and anything to do with relationships

Not good for: philosophical debates. There’s only so long you can spend in the loo before people outside start to be alarmed and send in Immodium.


Image: Katie Edmunds

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1. You promise to message and meet up all the time.


2. You judge each other’s uniform.

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3. They quickly find new friends and you get protective. How dare they.

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4. You stalk everyone involved in any second of your spare time.

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5. You debate joining a sports team just so you can go to their school and fight the new friends.

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6. Your best friend starts to change and you don’t like it. At all. You agreed Snapchat filters were overrated and now look! She’s wearing a flower crown!

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7. The “Do you mind if so-and-so comes?” texts start to roll in and encroach on your BFF time.

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8. Your parents start to ask why you haven’t mentioned your best friend in ages.

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9. But then, suddenly, they turn up in your Facebook messages when something goes wrong. They need you and only you.

Best friend back

10. And you realise that no matter where you are, how you’ve changed, and what you’re doing, that’s just life and you’ll always be each other’s number one.

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10a. (Fine, and the new friends are actually ok…)

Easy A screaming gif


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It’s not fair. It seems like the summer holidays had only just begun, then suddenly the shops are full of the dreaded ‘back to school’ gear and the start of a new term is here. Unfortunately we can’t predict what this next year has in store for you, but we can pretty much guarantee these things will happen in the first week…

1. Someone will doze off on the school bus

After six weeks of lie-ins and naps on tap, getting up at the crack of dawn for school will be a heck of a shock to the system. If someone’s not snoozing on the way in, they will be on the way home.

2. You’ll have a special ‘returning’ assembly

You know the one, where you’ll be told to set an example for younger students and that you represent the school within the community and should behave accordingly. Blah blah blah.

3. Everyone will have new stuff

New coats, new rucksacks, new stationery. You’ll spend the first few days eyeing up everyone else’s new shoes and wondering if you should have begged your mum to buy you block heels instead of ballet pumps.

4. All the boys will be a foot taller

In fact, everyone will look different somehow. How can people change so much in just six weeks?!

5. At least one girl will still have a colourful hair wrap she got on holiday

And she probably won’t stop going on about her exotic vaycay either. We get it, Louise, you went to the Bahamas.

6. There will be a new person

It’ll be really exciting if it’s a new student, and everyone will bombard them with loads of questions about where they’re from. But if it’s a new teacher you’ll regard them with suspicion until you’ve got them figured out.

7. No-one knows where they’re supposed to be

Everyone will be late to lessons while they get to grips with their new timetable – even the teachers. Fingers crossed your classes aren’t on separate sides of the school grounds.

8. You’ll do your very best handwriting in all your new exercise books

Well, for a few days at least, then you’ll fall back into your usual scrawl. Who cares as long as you can read it, right?

9. There’s a mad rush for the best seats

If you’re going to spend a whole year in the same seat in each class, you’ve got to make sure it’s in prime position next to all your mates (you want it to be as easy as possible to pass notes, don’t you?), so you can expect a bit of a scramble at the start of the first few lessons. Elbows at the ready!

10. The school will have done something totally radical

Like changing the lunch menu or moving break times slightly – and everyone will be talking about it for days.

11. There will be an outrageous rumour about something that happened over summer

It’s usually about a girl in the year above getting pregnant or someone’s brother going to jail. It’s probably completely untrue, but everyone loves a good gossip.

12. Your teachers will get right back on it with the homework

Nope, there’s no easing you back into things. And even though they’re happy to hand out homework with reckless abandon, it’ll be weeks before they mark the assignments they set over summer!

13. Everyone’s a bit smug about going up a year

If moving up a form comes with any privileges, such as a common room or jumping the lunch queue, you’ll be sure to rinse them for all they’re worth. And even if it doesn’t, you’ll still feel a bit superior to all the students in the years below you.

14. You promise yourself you’re going to buckle down with your studies

You tell yourself you’ll do your homework the moment you get home, that you’ll keep a razor sharp focus in class and that you’ll start revising for exams months in advance. But let’s be honest, you probably won’t. And that’s fine, just do your best – it’ll be the summer holidays again before you know it!

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