Wednesday, February 18, 2009


A student turned to me and asked if it was alright to ask me a random question. Of course it is.

"Have you ever heard of 'postponing a friendship'?" she asked. Turns out that another 15 year old told her off today, and that is what she asked of my student-to postpone their friendship for awhile. What does that mean, I asked her. She didn't know.

Language like this is new to me on a number of levels. Remember we're dealing with 15 year old girls here. They can be mean. But 'postpone a friendship'? I'd like to sit back and think about it during her lesson, I said. I'll have an answer at the end. We enjoyed some music and some smiles. She seemed to loosen up a little by the time the lesson was over. Music always does that.

I guess, I said, that if I were asked to postpone, put off, a friendship for awhile, that I would certainly agree. While we were on our hiatus, I think I would reevaluate whether we were ever friends in the first place. It seems hurtful and manipulative to think that you can take a break from a friend relationship in this way. As a grownup, I've seen couples do it. It doesn't usually end up working out very well, but I've heard of it. When she comes back and wants to be friends again, if she comes back, you need to be ready with an answer.

My other question for her was "Was this a way that you want to be treated another time in the future? She may (will) do this to you again when she doesn't like something.

A friend of mine would have just looked at her and just been done-for good. This seems definitive, but yet brutal somehow.

Finally, I told her, "This statement says a lot more about her than it says about you. I think you're amazing and special, and I don't think you should have to be on hold for anyone, ok?"

Have YOU ever heard of this turn of phrase? What would you have told her?

On a side note, after hearing a chickadee for the first time since November on Tuesday, we got snow overnight. Here is Snow on the Sedum. A momentary postponement of spring, I guess...


  1. I have never heard of "postponing" a friendship. I could hear myself giving her the same counsel you did. One of my impulses would have been to respond like your friend...Of course, we can postpone it, like forever! But when I was her age I probably would have cried my eyes out and been very hurt, especially if I thought we were good friends.

  2. Your counsel to her seems both right & empathetic. As part of a couple who chose not to have kids, my main way of keeping up with the younger set is as a music teacher. I've never heard that expression either.


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