For Fraught Preteen Years, A Class on Being a Friend

Michael Alison Chandler:

She surrenders her room, with its cozy couch, to the ponytailed pre-adolescents, and their dramas unfold: How could you pretend you didn’t see me in the hallway? Or: Why did you invite Celia to your slumber party and not me? There’s the inevitable “That hurt my feelings” and the occasional “I’m sorry.” On a good day, they leave the room Best Friends Forever. Again.
Many of the girls are graduates of “Chicks and Cliques,” a course Dunne designed to curb the gossiping, rumor-spreading and snubbing that’s endemic to girls. She helps them figure out how to talk through their problems, then she lets them borrow her office to use their new skills.