When I started high school I let go of many of my friends and tried to move into a more popular group. The popular girls seemed to have more fun, get much more attention and were never teased or bullied - I wanted in!
I was still close with my best friend Zahra who I knew since I was a baby, but we spoke less at school. My new friends didn’t like me hanging out with her. My new friends wore different kinds of clothes and wore a lot more make-up, so I started to also. I gave up being a peer leader at school, as they said it was not cool and we would just hang out in the car park after school instead. It was not as fun and interesting as I thought it would be.
My old friends commented that I had changed a lot, that the old me was cool and interesting and that I shouldn't listen to these other girls. I didn’t take their advice, I thought they were maybe just jealous that I was more popular now.
One morning before school, my new friends and I were at the corner shop having a milkshake and Zahra walked outside the shop. One of the girls put her foot up and tripped her over, which made Zahra fall and spill her milkshake all over herself. When she stood up she was crying. I felt so awful for Zahra - I couldn’t stand back and let this happen! I went over to her, put my arm around her and told her she could wear my spare sports t-shirt in my bag.
I told the girls who tripped Zahra over that the way they acted was not cool. That being mean to your classmates is never okay. And that they should find better things to do. I didn’t care if they would never talk to me again. I knew that this was not a group of people I wanted to be friends with anymore. They were not my real friends.
Real friends are supportive, build you up, allow you to be the best version of yourself. Instead I’d spent the last few months being the worst version of myself. I was happy to stand up for Zahra and I knew she would do the same for me. I was so lucky that my old friends forgave me, and now we are closer than ever.