When Sandy and Jenny started school as new sophomores in September, they got along very well. They had French and basketball in common, and the rest seemed to go along of its own accord. They kept lots of company with each other for the first few weeks.
As time went on, however, there was little doubt that they were headed for different crowds. Jenny was sophisticated, impulsive, charming; she knew more kids in the school from the first day. Her parents were both fancy lawyers, which Sandy found hard even to imagine. Sandy’s father worked in a drugstore and her mother was a housewife. She was shy, and found it harder to make friends.
Looks were a lot of it. Jenny was tall and pretty, with long dark hair. Sandy blamed herself for being “too medium”: medium height and weight, and medium brown hair.
Jenny felt terrible about it, but slowly she began to drop Sandy as a friend. She still liked her. They hadn’t had a fight or anything, but after a while she even stopped walking to basketball practice with her. She hoped she’d never have to explain it. But she really didn’t know how she could fit Sandy in with her new friends.
Questions to ask:
- Is it true that one can tell what a person is like by who his friends are? In what ways?
- Why did the friendship between Sandy and Jenny take place? Why did it change?
- How much do looks influence one’s friendships? How much should they?
- Are teenagers more influenced by looks than adults? If so, are there good explanations for this?
- Did Jenny have the right to drop Sandy? Would Sandy have had the right to drop Jenny?
- Which would be more justifiable and why?
- How much does one’s social class influence one’s friendships? In what specific ways? What are the best indicators of what one’s social class might be?
Reprinted with permission from MAKING DECISIONS, by Nancy Faust Sizer (White Plains, NY: Longman Publishing Group, 1984).