It sucks being a ‘Nigel No Friends’. We’ve all been there and if you haven’t well shame on you. It’s like a rite of passage, a normal part of growing up.

‘Nigels’ come in all shapes, sizes, genders and ethnicities. Sure, there are the popular kids with all the gadgets, the looks and the, well, friends. But friendships don’t always stay the same and pecking orders have a way of rearranging themselves on a whim. Today you could be the toast of the town (or playground) and tomorrow, you’re toast; usually burnt.

When I was little I went to three Primary school:
The first was large and I found myself about middle on the popularity ladder. I had a

Image by Mw.Prof.Dr.C.H.M (Hetty) Nooy-Palm

best friend and an enemy who tried to steal my best friend. Some days I was friend-full, others friend-less, it was just the way it was.

Then came a medium-sized school. I was the new kid, a bit of a hit. There was the token enemy but it just didn’t seem to matter as there were lots of others to play with. Unfortunately, I was only there for one year. One sweet year with minimal politics and an injection of self-esteem.
Following this golden year was a year from HELL. A tiny school, year 6 and one class. Oh bottom. No friends for a year. I was teased, slaps were threatened but I held my ground which only added to my low position on the popularity ladder. Darn kids.
And then there was High school, but that’s another story.

So, there are my N.N.Fs credentials. Impressive, no? Oh yes, I remember and I know what it is like to be alone, lacking in popularity points and picked on. This experience has not been restricted to my childhood, though. Oh no. Especially in the affluent suburb I call home. To some people, you are not worth talking to if you don’t have the dough. So you can imagine what the children of some of these families are like! Eeeeek. Thankfully, this juvenile attitude is restricted to a small portion of our lovely community and they’re working on an immunisation program as we speak.

Last week, my little son-man had a N.N.Fs week. Being a sensitive soul, he just didn’t want to playing rough like so many other boys. As a mum, I wanted to don my red cape, boots and mask, fly in and save him. But my hands were tied and I knew it was just something he needed to learn to deal with.
I am sure with time he will find some new pals to hang and do what he wants to do for once. What I want the most for him is to know that his family will always be his biggest fan; even if he’s a N.N.F. We’ll love him, his extended family will love him, so he’s never really alone.