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CVan

DD getting shut out socially

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CVan

My DD (16) has several auditions coming up for pre-pro schools.  We've realized that the training she is getting at her home studio won't be enough to audition for companies after graduation.  She hasn't been announcing it, but if asked, she does let people know.  It seems that the other dancers are pulling away from her.  The worst was a couple of weeks ago when they all forgot her birthday.  All of them.  This is a group of dancers that, in the past, have been intensely supportive of each other.  There are a few who plan to continue dancing after high school, but I'm not sure if any others are planning to take the same route as my DD.  Anyone else have this experience?  

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Eligus

We've had similar experiences, CVan, but at a slightly younger age (14-15 yo).  You would hope that by the time they get to 16, this social jockeying would have worked itself out.  I'm sorry that your DD has to experience this. 

In your post, you've implied your belief (and your DD's belief?) that this shunning is a result of competition regarding future plans... I would only suggest that you sit down with your DD and try to work out any other causes for the "distance" she is picking up.  In our experience, I've found that these social issues are usually a big, complicated mix of things, including a huge amount of miscommunication (usually a result of online communication instead of in-person) and assumptions about moods and attitudes. 

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CVan

Thanks, Eligus.  They do everything through "group chats" and social media.   Talking face to face seems to be a last resort!

There have been times at this studio where if a dancer is cast in a role that others don't think they should have gotten, there has been snubbing and backlash.  It's so sad to see; they have no control over casting, only over their own dancing.  I've been specifically asked to stay out of it (i.e. not talk to anyone's parents, and I never would).  It hurts to see them hurting, as we all know.

Ah, the joys of teen angst.   We got through it, only to have to re-live it all with our kids!

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AB'sMom

We left our old studio when my daughter was younger, but I think that some of the parents felt like I thought my daughter was too good for their school. It may be hard for these kids to see your daughter moving on, so they may be starting to detach already. 

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Noodles

My DD has received similar treatment. The basis was for leaving the studio and for quite a period of time her friends seemed to abandon her. I think they assumed that DD thought she was 'better than them' and so she needed a better studio. It took some time and it was always DD who reached out to them, trying to rebuild their friendship, eventually things did get better although obviously not even close to the same. DD really bent over backwards to maintain the friendship and support them in their dance efforts, ironically they actually have said that she abandoned them and yet she was the only one trying to maintain the connection. It has been hard because very little support comes back her way. Sometimes friends are just out of convenience and not true friends. Hopefully your DD will be able to sift through which ones are really the true friends. Hugs

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mom2two

All sounds very familiar.  DDs have been through this as well.  They are fortunate, as twins, to have each other.  They had to decide very young that they were in this to dance and not for the social aspects of it.  13/14 was particularly tough and the true turning point when they said: "I'm here for the dancing because the social side sucks!"  15/16 was tough because they were the youngest locals moved up into the company affiliated trainee program where the majority of dancers from out of town were all older, mostly postgrads.  There's even been some off and on issues at their current trainee program (mostly good but I few rough patches), probably because the pressure is so intense to get noticed and be on the short list to get the few available jobs.         

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CVan

Thank you AB'sMom, Noodles, and mom2two.   Good to know she's not alone (also stinks that any of them have to go through this).

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Eligus

CVan --

Noodles said something that really resonated with me... 

22 hours ago, Noodles said:

Sometimes friends are just out of convenience and not true friends

Ballet requires a huge amount of time spent with a whole bunch of people, some like-minded, some not.  The time factor alone means that this social group is seen by the teen, the parents and society as consisting of a teen's "friends," but my DD and I learned that proximity, time and even the bonding demands of ballet does not really forge a true friendship. 

I think of this issue like my previous full-time  "business" environment --- I may have socialized with people there, and considered them my "friends" (we hung out outside of work, we talked about personal issues), but once I left, I realized that only a few of these people were "true friends."  I still keep in touch with those few.  The rest?  Not so much.  And it's not out of any sense of animosity, they were just "work friends" -- a relationship that was forged due to convenience, proximity and share experiences.  Once the proximity, convenience and shared experiences waned, so did the friendship.  The "true friend" category is very different. 

I don't have any advice, exactly, for your DD.  I suppose the best I could offer is to re-assure her that "true friends" will reveal themselves over time, and for her to try to rise above the "work friend" social cattiness and realize that "this too, shall pass."

There were times, in the past, where I had to "play the bad guy" and take my DD's phone away.  I did this several times during the time she lived at home for a bunch of different reasons, one of which was so that I could be the "bad guy" scapegoat (both in HER mind and for her social standing with friends) for what I concluded was a necessary mental break from the social media crap and pressure.  I found that during those times when I was the enforcer of a social mental break, her anxiety and the accompanying angst and drama decreased.  I'm not saying that is the only solution, just that it worked for me at certain times and ages.

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CVan

Eligus I agree; the stuff she sees on social media is really emphasizing that fear of missing out.  She's forgetting (as am I) that she has wonderful friends who are not dancers.  She just doesn't get to spend as much time with them, of course, because of schedules.    I appreciate everyone's input.  It's helping me to remember, too, that true friends are there.

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Eligus

You can do a pledge together to leave social media for a period of time... make the initial depravation more of a bonding and personal time together experience.  :wink:

When I found myself getting anxious about the political climate here in the U.S., I decided to take a break from "unregulated" social media and my phone in general, and it has definitely helped my mood.  Even as an adult, I had difficulty in separating myself from some of what I was hearing and reading on social media.  I realized that a sense of a lack of meaningful contribution and the general appearance of incivility and "mean-ness" in society at large was affecting my mood negatively.  I realized (slowly) that I am only able to influence my immediate, physical, real world environment and I deliberately chose to fill my ears, eyes and brain with media that I (or 3rd party moderators) had a bit more control over.  So, I re-focused on books (which I realized I really missed) and podcasts and allowed myself this forum (since it appears to be well regulated).  It's been an eye-opening experience. 

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nynydancer

A very wise childcare director from the YMCA told my DD (I think 8 years old at the time) that she truly only had 3-4 good female friends throughout her life time.  I remember thinking, huh, she's right!

I do think social media does make it look like they are missing out on more than they really are.  I totally feel you though, and it concerns me and is probably the reason we will be changing schools in the next year or so.   When you are at ballet 6 days a week, the ballet school becomes your universe and it's harder to maintain friends outside of ballet because of the time issues.  My poor DS has tried so hard to keep up friendships but they can never meet up due to class and rehearsals.

I think it's great your DD is auditioning, and it's probably freaking her peers out because they can probably figure out why she is auditioning.  Kids aren't stupid, and if your school is anything like mine, they are comparing all of the time, and there is nothing worse in the universe than someone's ballet dream bubble being burst.  It's very scary and hard, and I think this is why people want to avoid it (and your DD).   

It's so interesting you wrote about this because we are kind of going through this too.  Now I am not saying your DD is experiencing this, but this is something I am witnessing at our school.  A good friend has a  DD who will be heading off to a prestigious international school soon.  The kids in her circle (and their moms) at the present school are mostly relieved she is going.  More nut parts!  Less comparisons!  And I had one mom tell me very strongly that this young girl did not deserve a nice send off like the kids who are graduating are getting.  The feeling now is "Good riddance"!  It's crazy because she has always been in the circle of friends, but there is so much love/hate (more hate now).   I do feel they will come around and there will be more love when the girl actually does leave.  But her leaving also does raise uncomfortable questions (I know because I hear them in carpool): should we leave too? what does she know/have that I don't?  It's easier to say good riddance, she thinks she is too good for us.  I do think they will come around.

We also have a taste of this too.  DD13 is very young for her level and more isolated than ever after being moved up again this year (she is breaking into the above mentioned circle).  I remember a day when she was the last person left in the dressing room.  Right after Saturday class, the older kids in her level all went to a sleepover at one girls house, and the girls closer in age (but still older) from her former level all went to a birthday party (DD was invited the year before).  Sure they can share jet glue and laugh over a joke in the dressing room, but these are really not true friendships.

My DD blossoms like a hot house flower when she is at master classes or SI's with kids closer to her age/ability.   When she leaves for another school with true peers, I suppose that's where she will make real friends.

 Your DD will make amazing lifelong friends on her journey, and there are probably some at her present group who just don't have the courage to be a true friend at the moment or don't realize how she is feeling.

 

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dancemaven

I would agree that two things are in play:  1) ‘friends’ of proximity/convenience, and 2) letting go.  DD (and I) experienced the snubs at her home studio when we made the decision to let her go to a residential ballet school for her sophomore year of high school.  Her teachers were very supportive; her AD was not.  She did not receive much warmth from her fellow students, the closest of whom she had danced with at that school since she was 3 years old.  I had spent a lot of time there over the years and tried to continue to be supportive of their performances and fund-raising activities.  I received very chilled response to my presence and attempted support.   DD retained three very close friends from those years to this day.  Those were her ‘true’ friends and, as it turned out, not those with whom she had shared more ‘fun’ time and class time with over those years.  C’est le vie.  She lived, as did I.

Non-DD was incredibly mean and rude to one of her best extra-curricular sport buddies the last year of his high school experience (she was three years younger).  I talked to her about it because it was inexplicable to me why she was treating him that way.  They had been inseparable in their sport and as running buddies for a number of years and suddenly, she was being a brat to him.  She couldn’t really tell me why; she just said he always made her mad.   Fast-forward a few years, and she was finally able to articulate the issue:  He was ‘leaving’ her and going to college after that year.  She realized it had been much easier for her to be mad at him than it was to miss him.  Subconsciously, she was trying to protect her emotions from losing someone that meant so much to her.  Thank heavens, he cut her slack and she grew into her emotions and awareness.  After that first year of him being at college and her left without him, they resumed their close bond without issue.  They are still best of friends and very important to each other.   

The idea that her treating him so badly was her way of dealing with his impending departure was a new concept to me.  It did make sense—not that it was fair to him.  But I could understand it as a means of her coping.  As such, I do think that perhaps that was also some of what was going on with mine and DD’s ‘friends’ at her home studio once we made the decision to let her go away for school.  Not all of our ‘friends’ at the studio would have had the means to do that.  So, perhaps shunning us was one way to cope with their questions/concerns about remaining and dealing with the supposed reasons we may have chosen to leave.

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CVan

See what happens when I find the adultier adults?  Again, all of this advice is wonderful.  nynydancer and dancemaven, I'm sorry you and your DD's experienced this, too.  

We will definitely talk about (and remind her of) the friends who have stuck by her.  A break from social media is definitely in order.  We will work through it.  

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