17 Friendships are very important in middle school. Most middle school students are more interested and involved in social activities than they were in elementary school. During these years, there are parties, dances, boyfriends, girlfriends, and lots of gossip. Students care about what other students do and wear, and everyone is worried about how they look. The middle school social scene can be exciting, crazy, and sometimes dif- ficult to deal with. We talked to several ninth graders, and here are eight of their suggestions on how to deal with it. 1. “Go out of your way to be friendly. Smile and talk to people—even to people you don’t know.” Carlos 2. “Find friends who have the same interests as you do, and who like you for who you are.” Michael 3. “Don’t do something that isn’t you just to be cool.” Justin 4. “Don‘t talk badly about others. It always get back to them!” Tasha 5. “Be really careful about what you post online—and about what you text.” Marisa 6. “Don’t worry about being popular, and don’t get caught up in the drama and dumb fights.” Sarah 7. “It’s a lot easier to make friends when you’re in sports or band or something.” Nick 8. “Don’t take people too seriously, and let stuff go.” Anna Step – Navigate the Social Scene 7