Well That Was Awkward by Rachel Vail

Well That Was Awkward by Rachel Vail

Well That Was Awkward by Rachel VailWell That Was Awkward by Rachel Vail
Genres: Young Adult
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Gracie has never felt like this before. One day, she suddenly can't breathe, can't walk, can't anything and the reason is standing right there in front of her, all tall and weirdly good-looking: A.J.

It turns out A.J. likes not Gracie but Gracie's beautiful best friend, Sienna. Obviously Gracie is happy for Sienna. Super happy! She helps Sienna compose the best texts, responding to A.J. s surprisingly funny and appealing texts, just as if she were Sienna. Because Gracie is fine. Always! She's had lots of practice being the sidekick, second-best.

It’s all good. Well, almost all. She's trying.


Getting dumped by someone you still have feelings for is awful. But maybe even harder to deal with is the friend break up. The whole friend-group can be affected, which is awkward. Even if it’s just you and a best bud who’ve been hanging out but suddenly now you are NOT, it can feel horribly uncomfortable. How do you even deal?

I’ve been there. My characters have been there. Here are my top tips:

  • Catch your breath. Getting dumped by a friend can feel like a massive gut-punch, making it hard to breathe. Literally: breathe. Breathe for a while, to slow down the tumult and turmoil. It feels like an emergency because your emotions are all freaking out. But it’s not an emergency that need you to act on in the instant. Keep breathing. Do nothing else until you feel a little calm, a bit more in control.
  • Write. Get out your journal (or if you don’t have one, an old notebook or just some paper will do) and write it all down. Keep going. Write down all the stuff your friend did and said and your theories, and what you did wrong or so right that your friend misunderstood or should appreciate or whatever. Write it all. Spelling doesn’t count; grammar doesn’t either; truth doesn’t even matter. You don’t have to be fair. You are just letting it out. This is FOR YOUR EYES ONLY.
  • This may be a time when a parent or cousin or sibling or camp friend – someone completely out of the world of your friend-drama – might be able to help you think things through. Or maybe you’re more comfortable flying solo. Either way is fine, but DO NOT bring in other people who are involved in the friend group. That is the way DRAMA lies. It’s exciting and tempting, but trust me on this, it is always the bad choice to start gossiping and making people choose sides and stirring up all that intensity. But think, solo or with an outside trusted confidante: what happened here? What was your fault, where was your friend out of line? Was there a misunderstanding? Or did you two just need some space from each other?


  • Choose your next move. Don’t freak out and be weird about it publicly. Don’t chase after your friend, don’t yell or scream or make a scene. It is usually the right thing, if you’ve been dumped, to step away and give the trash fire that just happened some time to burn out. Time can let any anger cool, and pain will ease its grip on you. If you realize you’ve done something unkind to your friend, now is the time to apologize – not in a big flashy self-flagellating production number, but honestly, calmly, taking responsibility. If instead it’s that your ex-bff wants to hang with another group instead of you, that hurts. Take the day to be sad. Then think about other people you want to hang with or activities you might like to try. Even setting the goal of saying hi to someone you don’t normally chat with much, someone who is nice but just not someone you normally hang with, is a good start for day 1. Be easy to be around, not mired in gloom. But find things to do, people to be with, even a teacher to assist with something. Be gentle with yourself and with your ex-pal. But you are not a doormat for anybody’s dirty boots to stomp on, and it’s not your job to make everybody (or anybody) like you. If your friend steps away from the friendship, okay. See ya. Maybe soon. Maybe not.


  • If you are the one who broke up the friendship: even if you have thought it through and you are making the right choice for yourself in stepping away, be considerate of your friend’s feelings. You don’t have to stay in a friendship that isn’t working for you, but it’s still best to be kind about it. Don’t gossip about your friend even if she or he did stuff you don’t like. You can’t unsay something later. And remember: never allow anyone to be mean to you. That includes yourself.


BONUS: It definitely helps to know you aren’t the only one who’s been through this kind of thing. Here are some great books that have friend-splits in them:

Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead 

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

A Separate Peace by John Knowles

The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot


Rachel Vail is the award-winning author of more than 30 books for young people. As a theater lover, Rachel sees and reads as many plays as she can. Well, That Was Awkward was in part inspired by her love of the play Cyrano – another tale of secrets, wit, self-confidence, self-loathing, friendship, identity-hiding, and romance that blossoms between all the wrong people. Or does it?

Rachel lives in New York City with her husband, their two sons, and (like Gracie) a tortoise named Lightning.

You can visit her online at www.RachelVail.com or on Twitter: @rachelvailbooks





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