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Friendship Needs Give and Take

Nadine Briggs

One of the most common issues that we coach on at Simply Social Kids is that friendship requires flexibility and compromise. Kids who tend to be more black and white in their thinking will want to do what they want to do when they want to do it, often without considering what their friend might want to do. This inflexible thinking can cause issues when they play with others.

A Recent Example

Here is an actual scenario that happened recently at one of our in person groups for elementary-aged kids. Everyone had their own ideas of what would be fun and did not want to play anything except what they were suggesting.

It sounded like this:

“I want to play zombie tag.”
“I want to play freeze tag.”
“I want to play regular tag.”
“I want to play museum.”
“I made up a new tag game and I want to play that.”

If no one will budge, what are we to do?

How did we find a solution?

We gathered everyone together and the group was presented with the situation: They love playing games where they can run around. The problem is that they can’t decide on one game to play and if they stay stuck, they will run out of time, having not played anything.

We asked them for solutions and their ideas were: 

  • Merge the games into one
  • Put a time limit on the games so they can play all of them
  • Take a break from games that are played frequently so they can enjoy a wider variety of games. 

They decided together that they would play Freeze Tag for a little while and then play Museum. Before starting the games, we pointed out that in order to successfully play together, another part of our plan must be to huddle together and establish the rules before each game starts. Some issues and discrepancies about rules from past weeks were discussed and decided, and the first game began. We had a smooth transition into the next game after another quick huddle to establish rules and boundaries. There were a few pauses during the games for clarification and reminders, but the kids were able to work together and have a great time. 

Friendship has to have some give and take. Rigidly refusing to try someone else’s idea can make us miss out on fun and friendship. Way more important than what game they played was learning how to solve a problem by being flexible and open to the ideas of others.

Think about playing on a seesaw – if you want it to be fun, there’s going to need to be some give and take. Flexibility leads to more fun and certainly more friends!

If your child/teen/young adult needs coaching to help them make friends, contact us to schedule a trial or find out more about our weekly programs by contacting us at 978-764-2758 or

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