Teenagers and adolescents often face way more problems than adults. This week, Annie was bombarded with emails from teens about their day-to-day problems and queries.
Most of them were quite unable to understand the change in a friend’s attitude and actions while other are in general confusion. So Annie decided to advise them on how to handle seemingly confusing situations.
Q: Annie, I recently got a boyfriend, and I am just so happy with him. I have been talking to my friend about it for a few weeks and today she got mad and said that all I did was talk about him. I was appalled and she’s my best friend. She should be happy for me, right? Why is she acting all defensive?
A: While your best friend may be happy for you (and hopefully she is), that doesn’t mean she wants to spend most of your time together being regaled with stories about you and your boyfriend—particularly if she’s not in an exciting relationship herself. Think about how you would feel if the roles were reversed. So, let her know that you realize that you’ve gone a bit overboard with talking about your boyfriend and appreciate her honesty in letting you know that. If you want to keep your best friend (whom you will absolutely need if you and your boyfriend breakup), try to tune in to her feelings and topics that are important to her, while not leaving her out on major aspects of your life, including your boyfriend. It’s about finding the right balance.
Q: Hi, Annie, my problem is that I have a friend who is very nice and kind, and we’re close. I feel disappointed in her sometimes because whenever I tell her a problem she is like “meh” or sometimes she even gets irritated, or she simply changes the subject. But whenever she has a problem I always comfort her and she ignores my advices. What should I do? Please help me.
A: It’s possible that your friend is not very sensitive when you talk about your problems because she is so caught up with what’s going on in her own life. The problems she talks about with you may not seem like much, but sometimes a lot of little things can end up feeling overwhelming, or there might even be some bigger issues that she’s not talking about. It also may just be that she doesn’t realize how you feel when she downplays your problems. I’d suggest talking to your friend about how you feel. Tell her that when there’s something difficult going on in your life, you’d like to be able to talk to her about it. In terms of her not following your advice, you might want to ask her if she wants advice when she has a problem, since some people prefer to just vent about their problems and then figure out a solution on their own.
Q: Annie, I was raised very dependent on my parents. While some kids were already doing some things like cooking or cleaning for themselves at age 12, my mom and dad always did things for me and my brother. That’s not bad, except that now I’m almost 18, and worried that I won’t be able to do much for myself or live on my own. Help!
A: While many kids would have loved to have had a childhood with no responsibilities, you are realizing that it’s put you at a disadvantage. But it’s not too late to start developing the skills you’ll need to live a rewarding, independent life. Put together a detailed list of everything that you need to learn—from cooking to cleaning to managing money. Then decide who can help you in each area (friends, parents, and even television and the internet) and figure out a realistic time frame. Try not to expect perfection right away. The more you practice (and make mistakes), the more you’ll learn.
(Have any questions that plague you? Just ask Annie. Drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org)