Friendship Puzzlers

How much do you know about friendship? Click on the answer you think is best for each of these Friendship Puzzlers!


Friendship puzzler #47: You like your new haircut, but a friend told you that another kid said it looks silly. You should:

  1. Say, “Oh, well,” and change the subject.
  2. Crawl on your belly to sneak up on that kid and then leap up and yell, “You haircut bully, you!”
  3. Ask your friend twelve questions to find out exactly what that kid said, when, how, why, who was around, what did that kid mean, what happened next, etc.
  4. Ask everybody you know what they think of your haircut.
  5. Confront the other kid by asking, “Why did you say that mean thing about my hair?”

Answer: A. Definitely don’t confront the other kid! It’s hard to accept, but what someone says behind your back is none of your business. People are entitled to their opinions, and they’re even allowed to express them in private conversations. Your friend shouldn’t have repeated the other kid’s unflattering comment. The important thing is that you like your haircut. But even if you didn’t like how your haircut turned out, there’s no need to focus on everyone else’s opinion. Also, having–and even expressing–different hairstyle preferences is not bullying. It’s not reasonable to think that everyone has to admire your haircut!


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Friendship puzzler #294: Your friend brags that he's a better skateboarder than you are. You should:

  1. Say, “Nuh-uh! You stink!
  2. Ask, "Can you show me how to do that new trick?"
  3. Say, "Hmmm," then change the subject.
  4. Pull off your socks, stuff them into your mouth, and then spit them at your friend.

Answer: B or C. Getting into an argument with your friend about who’s a better skateboarder isn’t interesting or fun. If your friend actually does have some skills you’d like to learn, why not ask for his help? Otherwise, just change the subject and keep playing. Option D isn’t a good idea because socks aren’t very tasty.

Friendship Puzzler #202: Your friend beats you at checkers three times in a row and wants to play again. You should:

  1. Accuse your friend of cheating.
  2. Knock the board over and say your friend has to pick up the pieces.
  3. Say, “Ugh. I guess so” and sulk or don’t even try during the next game.
  4. Say, “You sure are good at checkers!” and suggest a different activity.
  5. Start singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

Answer: d — It’s not fun to lose–especially three times in a row–but you need to be a good sport. c) is not a good answer because, even though you’re doing what your friend wants, you’re not doing it in a friendly way. That ruins the game for your friend. It’s better to suggest a new activity that both you and your friend will enjoy, so you can have fun together.

Friendship Puzzler #433: Your friend asks to copy your answers on a homework assignment. You should say:

  1. “How much wood would a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck would chuck wood?”
  2. “Uhmmm… I guess so.”
  3. “How dare you ask, you furry eggplant!”
  4. “No, I’m not comfortable doing that.”
  5. “I don’t want you to copy my work, but I can explain how to do it, if that would help.”

Answer: d or e — Unless your teacher has given you permission to work together, sharing or copying answers is cheating. Don’t let yourself get talked into doing something that you know isn’t right, even by a friend! You can say no without being mean. You may have to say no more than once if your friend keeps asking. In some situations, you may be able to help your friend without cheating, by explaining how to do the work.

Friendship Puzzler #26: How many times should you apologize after you’ve accidentally hurt, upset, or annoyed your friend?

  1. Only once, but you have to mean it. Say what you did, without excuses, and tell what you’ll do differently from now on.
  2. Never! You should never show weakness!
  3. Don’t apologize; just keep repeating the word “zipper.”
  4. 147 times.
  5. Don’t apologize; just avoid that friend for the rest of your life.

Answer: a — A sincere apology is a wise and caring thing to do when you’ve upset a friend. You don’t want to end a friendship over a mistake! Say you’re sorry, say what you did wrong, and tell how you’re going to avoid doing it again. (What will you do the next time you’re in that situation?) But what if your friend also did something wrong? Your apology might inspire your friend to apologize to you. Even if your friend doesn’t apologize, you’ll know that you did the right thing. Don’t apologize again and again. That’s just annoying. Say it once and mean it, then move on.

Friendship Puzzler #921: You’re having a conversation with a kid who says something mean about your friend. You should:

  1. Tell your friend what you heard.
  2. Say something nice, to stick up for your friend.
  3. Give that person a karate chop.
  4. Ignore it and change the subject (and remember that this kid talks behind people’s backs).
  5. (b) or (d).

Answer: b or d or e — Saying something nice to stick up for your friend is the kindest thing to do. If you don’t feel able to do that, for whatever reason, ignoring the comment and changing the subject at least cuts off the mean comment and shows you’re not interested in mean talk. Telling your friend what you heard seems like a loyal thing to do, but it spreads meanness, so don’t do it. If you repeat the comment, your friend will feel bad and the other kid will also get mad at you.

Friendship Puzzler #721: Your friend tells you to stop making that weird noise. You should:

  1. Gently stroke your friend’s nose.
  2. Yell, “Quit bullying me!”
  3. Do it louder, eight more times, so your friend can tell how funny it is.
  4. Say, “Sorry!” and try to be quiet.

Answer: d — When friends ask you to stop doing something that they find annoying, you should try to stop. You may need to sit on your hands, pretend your tongue is stuck to the roof of your mouth, or just move farther away to give them some space. It’s not bullying when people ask you to stop annoying behavior. If something isn’t funny the first time, it’s not going to become funny if you repeat it. Also, if you continue doing something that your friends have asked you to stop, they will probably get very mad at you. Listening when people ask you to stop shows you care about them.

Friendship Puzzler #765: When you see a kid you know outside of school, you should:

  1. Ignore him or her.
  2. Accuse him or her of following you.
  3. Smile and say hi, using his or her first name.
  4. Hide behind the nearest tree then sprint in the opposite direction.

Answer: c — Saying hi is a friendly thing to do. Adding the other kid’s name makes your greeting more personal and more friendly. You don’t have to be best friends with people to greet them. Sometimes, kids have trouble with greetings because they feel shy or self-conscious. Say hi, anyway. If you say nothing or look away, you’re telling the other kid, “I don’t like you, and I don’t want anything to do with you!”

Friendship Puzzler #183: Your friend says he/she wants to play with someone else at recess today. You should:

  1. Yell, “You traitor! I’m never speaking to you again!”
  2. Suggest, “How about if we all play together?”
  3. Say, “OK, maybe tomorrow.”
  4. Burp loudly.
  5. (b) or (c).

Answer: b or c or e — If you enjoy the game your friend wants to play, playing all together, option b), can expand your friendship circle, and it’s a kind thing to do because it means your friend doesn’t have to choose between you and the other friend. Otherwise, option c) is your best choice. Getting mad or insisting that your friend HAS to play with you will hurt your friendship.

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