DEAR ABBY: My friends and I are in eighth grade. This is our last year together. We'll be going to different high schools in the fall.
"Allie," "Betty," "Carol," "Diane," "Emma," "Fran," "Gail," "Hannah," "Ivy" and I sit together at lunch. The table is pretty crowded, so we took a vote that two people should leave the circle. Allie and Betty had to move to another table. After lunch, Carol said she didn't think it was fair to vote friends out of the circle. I realized she was right, so I passed a note to Diane about not wanting to break up the circle and what Carol had said. I said we should all sit at the same table again. Diane said OK.
The next day, we all got together at our regular table, but Emma and Fran got into a fight. No one liked anyone anymore. The circle was officially broken. Now four of the girls sit at the original table; the rest of us sit at a picnic table. I'm the only one who's friends with everybody from the circle.
It hurts me to see my friends separated at lunch time. Will you please print this letter and let them know it was wrong to break up the circle? I want my friends to reconsider: Remember who your friends are. Think about the good times we've had and that I'm all of y'all's friend! -- BROKENHEARTED IN FLORIDA
DEAR BROKENHEARTED: Your mistake was in taking the vote in the first place. I'm printing your letter in the hope that your circle can be mended. If it can't be, console yourself by understanding that, much as we might wish it, not all friendships last forever. As people mature, they sometimes change or have less in common.
P.S. You have a wonderfully upbeat personality. If you also have an affinity for languages, you'd be a natural for the diplomatic corps.