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The Invisible Friend.

This is quite a peculiar topic, I’m sure, but it seems to be an ongoing theme in our household so I figured the time is ripe for me to write about it… Our little Bum has taken to a new friend, “Angie”, whom we’ve never met or seen before (and nor has she, really, but we don’t tell her that).

This has only come about since our move to the US. And my husband and I can’t quite figure it out, because she’s never known anyone by the name of Angie. So our conclusion is that this must be her way of coming to terms with the move, “losing” her special friends (who she still talks about) and adjusting to this new world around her.  What saddens us is that she might in fact be lonely. Whenever she tells us about a particular activity, or how her day went, little Angie is always included. We have had phone conversations with Angie as well… (She seems quite sweet 🙂 ) To be honest, I actually picture a little red-headed, freckled faced sweetheart!

Sometimes there is good Angie, and on other days naughty Angie (like all kids, I suppose)… it’s on these days that Bum says Angie won’t play with her. Or Angie is at home for the day. Now I’m not going to get too analytical about this, but the following comes to mind.

  1. She is projecting her own emotions about the trauma of such a big move onto this “friend” as a coping mechanism to help her deal with all these big feelings rumbling through her little heart and mind right now.
  2. She is lonely, and because she is such a social kid, misses friends and school more than we realize. She is starting school this September, which is the beginning of the school year here in America, and she is BEYOND excited. Our little overachiever 🙂
  3. She is so engrossed in her fantasy play that she has created her own little friendship circle that she plays with. Which reflects a very lively and healthy imagination that we want to encourage as much as we can.

Is this a positive or a negative thing?

I was reading up a little about this topic – even though I hold a degree in psychology, and I’m a certified play therapist, this strikes a little too close to home and I’m afraid my own biases might just cloud my judgment – so I decided to do some new research. Did you know that two thirds of children conjure up an imaginary or ‘special’ friend? This can be a stuffed animal and object/toy or a little Angie! I will admit to being a little startled when I first read this… But it does point to the fact that our children need deep and meaningful relationships on every level and they have the wonderful, innate, ability to create and celebrate these relationships- even if it is on the level of fantasy play.

According to Heidi from What To Expect – There are a number of reasons why children have imaginary friends!

  • First, imaginary friends give toddlers a chance to exert control over their environment. While real friends might take their playthings, or disagree about what games to play, imaginary friends won’t, which makes them ideal companions.
  • Second, imaginary friends can be helpful scapegoats to blame misdeeds on (lamp gets knocked off the table? “Boo-boo did it”), and to express outsized emotions. Your daughter might not feel comfortable expressing her anger, but her imaginary friend has no such reservations (“Mr.Bunny HATES shoes!”).
  • Third, imaginary friends can help build a child’s sense of security and comfort, and offer a chance to exhibit confidence and bravery; a child may tell his or her imaginary friend, “Don’t be afraid of monsters under the bed,” and in doing so, soothe his or her own fears.
  • Finally, imaginary friends provide the companionship that’s not always available from real friends or family members.

According to research, children that have imaginary friends have great social skills, a rich vocabulary (our little Bum talks the hind leg off a donkey), an active imagination, and a great capacity for independent play!

SHEW!  – Now that’s a relief!

No need for this Mama to get all flustered.  For now…

I guess we will be hearing a lot more about Angie. Who knows, she might be with us for a long, long time! But that’s ok, she’ll always have a seat at our dinner table.



  • Becky

    I had “special” friends growing up. They were always more for championship. I was happy and content for them to be my friends and happy to play by myself with them. It’s good to know its a normal part of growing up.

    • jaxbest4

      Hi Becky! I am so relieved to hear that this is so common. We were a little concerned there for a while. It’s great to have a vivid imagination. And I’m happy to know she finds comfort in this! xxx Thanks for reading ..

  • Mess and Merlot

    My son had an imaginary friend (Ruby!) for a little while, I remember the funniest thing was him trying to play ‘catch’ with her. Bless him 🙂 While my daughter doesn’t really have an imaginary friend she is very into imaginative play and plays with her baby doll Lily everyday. She refers to me as Ellie when she’s in roleplay mode and takes on the role of Mummy to her baby. I see this a way to have control over something which kids rarely get the chance to do in real life. She tell’s me about how Lily has been ‘a complete nightmare’ keeping her up all night or has ‘had a little meltdown’ because she’s been sick etc etc. It’s so interesting isn’t it?
    It’s normal and healthy as far as I know! Best of luck with school in September (it will be interesting to see if Angie gets ditched or not!) #BloggerClubUK

    • jaxbest4

      Hey Charlie!
      This has been such an interesting journey for us.. It has amazed me how the minds of our little ones work. September is going to be interesting :)… Will keep you updated on there whereabouts of Angie!! xx

  • Shannon

    We have Ruthie at our house. Except she’s not just a friend, she’s an imaginary sister. Who apparently loves to play Barbies anytime. I’ll give you one guess…

  • The Tale of Mummyhood

    A friends daughter had an imaginary friend for a little while. She had a great time ‘playing’ with her for quite some time, then one day she just grew out of it and stopped mentioning her. Like you say I think it shows a healthy, active imagination. That has to be a good thing!


  • Ellen

    This is really interesting. I don’t know if I had a specific imaginary friend when I was younger but I always played lots of imaginary and role play games, even if I was by myself!! It’s good to know how normal and even positive it can be, so you don’t have to worry! Hope all goes well when your daughter starts school, exciting. #StayClassyMama

  • An imperfect mum (Catie)

    I thought it was really interesting when you mentioned it could be a cuddly toy. My youngest remains very attached to his! I love how you are embracing this and particularly your final statement: she’ll always have a seat at our dinner table. Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime ?

  • Katy @ Experienced Bad Mom

    My daughter, 9, has an imaginary friend named Po. He doesn’t come around as much these days as when she was younger. But she definitely has a huge vocabulary and a huge capacity for independent play that amazes me, just like your research has shown.


    I think this is great – I think you are great! I also think its absolutely a sign of a coping/ processing mechanism. Hopefully it will see her through until she starts school and then the outlet will be her new friends!

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