What Is a Friend?

Updated on July 10, 2014
F.B. asks from Kew Gardens, NY
8 answers

Mamas & Papas-

What is a friend at age 3, at age 5, at age 7 in the tween years and beyond. Do boys and girls have different expectations or definitions for friends. Have things changed since we were younger?

A friend's son 3, described my boy ot his GM as his best friend. My kid has yet to describe anyone that way. Not looking to change or push things, just looking for some understanding.

F. B.

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answers from Miami on

I like Gamma's explanation, B.. I will just say that at some point, the difference in girls' friendships and boys' friendships start to become really apparent. Girls can be really h*** o* their friends - lots of cattiness and trying to boss each other around, meanness and all of that. Boys are more physical and they get into tiffs and then make up. They are much more able to just let stuff roll off their backs.

Hope this helps.

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answers from Seattle on

Anyone my daughter talks to is her "new best friend!" she's 3

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answers from Dallas on

I agree with Gidget. It's totally a reflection of what the kid hears and the emotion behind it.

Some people are just more social, or more needy, or more free with expressions of attachment. It's cute. Until its not.

It's not always good to unload emotional stuff onto a kid's world. To charge every relationship with more power than the kid can process.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

At 3 everyone is your best friend. One day a friend the next day an enemy. Really, I am seeing that through early elementary. My daughter is now 11 and more getting in to knowing who her REAL friends are.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

I remember when my boys were two or three and they called all kids their friends. The kid they were currently playing with was their best friend. If there were kids at the play ground or at the Y my kids called them friends whether they had ever seen them before or not. After the age of three they became more selective and started having best friends, although best friends could change on a weekly basis. By the time they were five or six they had developed strong friendships that have lasted through elementary school and now into middle school. By age seven or eight they became less willing to start playing with kids they didn't know.

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answers from Springfield on

My 5 year old has been in PreK for the past 2 years, and they use the word "friend" to mean classmate. They say things like, "Ok, friends, it's time to line up to go to the playground," and "We share toys with our friends and take turns with our friends."

I've noticed several preschools in our area use the word the same way.

But I don't think this is at all what you meant. I would say this has a lot to do with how his parents use the word. My oldest is going in to 2nd grade and he has talked about best friends and girl friends. I haven't really used those terms, so I'm betting that other kids at school have. I've talked about his friends at school, but I've been careful not to say "best" friend and certainly not to say "girl friend." Plenty of time for that later.

I think it's totally normal at 3 to not have a very good sense of the word, unless it's something you've spoken about often.

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answers from New York on

A friend at a young age is someone you play with or beside. There's no deep connection. I use to joke about my kids having new best friends every single time we went swimming at the lake.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

To a pre-schooler a friend is someone sitting beside you that likes to play the same toys as you do. That you can go sit by all the time and play those toys. Like in the sand box every recess at pre-school. Outside of that sand box they'd have little in common and probably not play together.

At age 5 it's similar but they are starting to recognize personalities and starting to understand interpersonal communications and who they like to be around. They probably won't remember and want to seek out these friends after school is out for summer unless they interact with them outside of school during the year, such as friends at church or scout like groups, clubs, etc....

At age 7 they are making friends they'll remember their whole lives. It's unlikely they'll still be friend in the higher grades though because they are just starting to find their own likes and dislikes, personality traits they like and dislike, and who they enjoy being around.

At age 7 my granddaughter had a very close best friend. They did everything together outside of school because they went to different schools. My bff and her daughter were our best friends. We were always doing stuff.

As the girls got older, even a year, they started showing signs they weren't as close as they had been since age 2. They were starting to like different music, different styles of clothes, phrases they always said, and so much more.

Now they see each other every now and then and are like long lost siblings, hugging and missing each other a lot. But after about an hour they're ready to be apart again. Absence makes the heart grow stronger but absence also makes the heart forget.

Kids will change groups and friends many times as they grow up, they have a lot of changes they go through. It's hard sometimes to see someone you love and like being around decide they don't have anything in common with you anymore and would rather go play with someone else.

1 mom found this helpful
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