The Ban on Best Friends

At the beginning of January, US News ran an article written by Dr. Barbara Greenberg, PhD talking about whether schools should ban kids from having best friends. After the first thought of What idiocy is this??? I was ready to become a keyboard warrior and shoot from the hip about how ridiculous the concept of banning best friends truly is. Then I decided to wait until my emotions weren’t running quite so high, so I could address my concerns with this concept from a more clinical standpoint.

I have read the article posted a few times to make sure I didn’t misread something — but I didn’t. Initially, I saw a post which referenced the article and since I was concerned about a psychologist encouraging a ban, I made sure to dig until I found the original article, because there was always the possibility she had been misquoted. She hadn’t. She wrote the article … and it is difficult to misquote yourself. I was disappointed to find according to her bio that Barbara Greenberg blogs as “The Teen Doctor” for Psychology Today. When I was young and working out what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer was psychologist as being a writer was unlikely to pay the bills. I’m probably one of the few pre-teens to ever have a subscription to Psychology Today. Okay, so it was my mother’s subscription, but I’m the one who read it from cover to cover as soon as it arrived. Why would I be disappointed in Psychology Today? Because they employ someone with faulty (and potentially dangerous) thought processes to blog for teens. And I used to revere their articles as gospel.

Because I took such exception to the article and the ideas espoused, this will probably be the first blog post on this issue, but not the last. No one wants to read a 350 page rebuttal to a US News article, and I’d rather focus on one point at a time. So, let’s start with the concept of best friends. One of the problems I had with the article was the lack of acceptance that it is possible to have multiple “best friends” … while the term can mean a single friend, it can also refer to a small group where you are all best friends which is why the best friend jewelry industry runs to making pendants that have more than two parts.

At no point in the article did Dr. Greenberg ever intimate the possibility of having more than one best friend. Yet, ironically, in the middle of the article about banning best friends in favor of small groups of close friends is a link to the article on The Promise and Perils of Friendship Threesomes posted earlier in the year. Both of these posts are in the Health section of US News. Now I’m confused, US News … you run an article stating that having best friends is bad, and you also have run an article about the dangers of having a small group of friends. So are you anti-friend? Or is it that you’ll allow anyone to state their opinion as an authority just so you have content?

Anyway, my point is that we have an authority stating a premise where anything that contradicts the premise is conveniently left out or ignored. Which is not exactly the best method to employ when you are stating a position where you want people to accept your word on the matter as the expert. Because such a basic variable to the conclusion was ignored, you have lost my acceptance of you as an authority. The premise developed a hole I could drive a semi through, so it is no longer valid.

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