My ex-best friend is making my life a misery. I suffer paranoia because of him, and also stress. We fell out in April this year, and after that, he’ s been speaking about me behind my back, calling me names etc. And yet- sometimes he’ s my friend & we’ ll hang about with each other. It’ s hard for me to stop speaking with him- he’ s in all my classes in school! If he wasn’ t in my classes, I think I’ d be able to cope better.. We all have bebos, and on our bebo friends we put the best ones first- I used to be 3rd, then next day I was 19th! I’ m confused, and I worry about going to school incase he will talk about me again. It’ s hard aswell- in most classes I sit next to him because he’ s after me on the class register… And, if we’ re in groups, he’ ll sit with someone else and speak about me right in front of me, and I sit there feeling small & upset. I’ ve nearly been in fights with him, but they’ ve never went on.. Sometimes I don’ t know wether he’ s joking or not.. What can I do? I don’ t want to let my Guidence Teacher know incase she tells him my name, or even if she doesn’ t he’ ll probably guess. I’ ve considered getting my class moved, but I have some close friends in the current class I am in. My friends are also his friends.. It’ s a really bad position & I hate being in it. I don’ t know what to do, and I hate being in his class
Do you know what is the real job of being a teenager? Oh yes – you do have a job. And it’s not really to go to school and learn lots or pass exams. The real job of being a teenager is to learn how to be an adult. You’re an apprentice grown up, in fact. Which doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy and inhabit what you are at present – but you do need to see is a way and a time to acquire skills. One of the many skills you’re busy picking up is how to get on with people.
Relationships are tricky things. To manage them, you have to understand yourself – what drives you, what you need, how you feel and express yourself. And to manage them well, you have to widen that to understanding other people – what drives them, what they need, how they feel and express themselves.
Adults who have come through their teenage years being treated with respect and acceptance by their parents and the adults around them tend to be kind, caring, sympathetic and generous. They take care not to be hurtful and to be consistent, upfront and honest.
But to get there, sometimes young people go through phases when they fool about with other people’s feelings. They play emotional games, they are contradictory, they can be cruel. Instead of being able to say “If that was done to me it would hurt and I wouldn’t like it so I’m not going to do it to anyone else” they may seek the power trip of seeing just how much they could make another person jump or squirm.
Sometimes people do this because they have been so emotionally battered by someone else that they think it would make them feel better if they could get the upper hand and dish it out instead of having got take it. mostly, they do it because they simply don’t realise how much it hurts.
But what can you do? I would suggest three tactics.
Firstly, is to realise it’s not personal. I bet he does it to lots of people, too – what about the other people on that bebo list; numbers 2 to 18, and 19 and under? You get hurt because you take it to heart. Look around; if you could shrug it of maybe you’d realise he’s not picking you out but just being the same to you as he is to many people. Friendships do fluctuate – one day you’re in somebody’s good books, the next you’re in others. Don’t take it so seriously and you won’t get hurt.
Secondly, why not pick a moment when you and he are on speaking terms and alone, and gently say “You know, when you talk about me in front of other people it really hurts my feelings. I’d like you to talk to me not about me”. He really may not realise how much it hurts, and be sorry if he did.
Thirdly, if you have a Guidance Teacher for heaven’s sake use her. It isn’t her job to leap in and haul him out of class and humiliate both of you! That wouldn’t work anyway so why would she do it? He job is to sit down with you and listen to what is worrying you and to talk through with you what you would like done about it. Just talking it out can help. But you and she may also be able to identify ways that she could gently change the situation. Give her a chance!
And fourthly – do talk with your parents about this. Not for them to go into the school to do anything, unless the situation begins to get out of hand and moves towards bullying. What they should do is support and bolster your self confidence and self esteem so you can deal with this yourself.