New policy hopes to remove close friendships and the accompanying heartbreak
By Eric Wilkins, Staff Writer
In a world where so much is beyond our control, it’s comforting to know that there are still some things we can manipulate at will. With this in mind, it was like a breath of fresh air to me when I heard that several schools in Britain had taken chaos by the throat and wrangled away control of yet another aspect of life previously thought to be unpredictable: friendship. Several institutions have warmed up to the idea that children shouldn’t have a best friend. The reasoning is perfectly logical though; best friends often create strong emotional ties between each other, but should the two ever have a falling out, the emotional trauma is off the charts. This can be astronomically depressing for one, if not both parties. The solution? “Encourage” students to avoid hanging out in pairs and have the juveniles play in groups instead—the larger, the better. When children are in a group, it’s harder for them to form meaningful connections with any singular member of the troupe.
Really? If at any point while reading the above you found yourself nodding along in agreement with this “no best friends” policy, then you should put down that Aldous Huxley novel immediately. No best friends? Words cannot sufficiently describe the ridiculousness of this situation. Friendship is not an artificial commodity. You can’t manufacture it, and you can’t really prevent it from happening. If it’s to be, it will be. And if there is ever a painful time when the two end up separating, no biggie. The kids will get over it. Forrest Gump had it down: life is like a box of chocolates, and sometimes you get stuck with the salted coconut cream. It’s brutal, but you learn to live with it.
I actually had a experience similar to this when I was in elementary school. My teacher was determined to find a way to separate me from my best bud. She told me several times that I should hang out with other kids more, and even went so far as to seat us in desks on opposite ends of the classroom. Needless to say, her attempt to broaden my socializations was horribly unsuccessful that year, though I swear she had a hand in ensuring that we were in different classes the following year. I suppose, if you’re looking for a complimentary term for this woman, progressive would fit. She was ahead of her time!
While I understand the angle of trying to spare children from the pains paired with platonic friendship breakups, it doesn’t make the initiative any less ridiculous. Friends come and go and the sooner children are exposed to this basic fact, the better off they’ll be.