How Do I Help My Friend?

Published: May 14, 2012
Dear TeenHealthFX,


How do I help my friend? She used to smoke pot until her mom caught her, and now her mom might send her to boarding school for 4 years in Europe. And I won't see her until then. And I probably won’t even know what she looks like. And now instead of smoking to get the feeling she drinks. And she always gets drunk. (She is 14) but a couple weeks ago I told her to stop. The other day ago she was walking to this guy’s house to have sex with him, and this strong high schooler handcuffed her to his belt and he made her drink vodka. Then she was out of it and so he ripped off her pants and everything and threw her to the ground and raped her. (Without a condom) and then she called the guy she liked and he came and "saved her" and then they had sex with a condom. But she still might be pregnant cause the other guy. And she is scared that she is pregnant. And I don’t know how to help her without screwing up our friendship. And she is not the kind of girl who will ever forgive you. And she won't thank me in the long run. Also her parents are abusive, and if they find out what happened they might really hurt her. And what if she gets pregnant? What do I do?



Signed: How Do I Help My Friend?

Dear How Do I Help My Friend?,


The kinds of self-destructive behaviors that your friend is engaging in – smoking pot, drinking, putting herself in risky situations with guys, and engaging in unhealthy relationships (have sex with the guy she likes after he “saved her”) – are certainly concerning to TeenHealthFX, and are understandably very worrisome to you. It sounds like your friend is not in an emotional place right now to be making healthy decisions for herself, so even though she may never forgive you and might not thank you in the end, it is extremely important that you tell an adult about what is going on with her. With the direction she is going, it is critical that an adult intervene as soon as possible before her self-destructive tendencies do any more damage. Once an adult is involved, your friend can get all of the things she needs right now: mental health treatment to address her self-destructive behaviors, family treatment to address whatever abuse is occurring or has occurred, increased structure and supervision to help prevent her from excessive drinking, drug use, and unsafe sexual situations, and medical attention to determine whether or not she is pregnant, as well as to learn about the options she has or get the care she needs if she is pregnant.


If you have a trusting relationship with your parents, you can start off by talking to with them and getting their help with this situation. If you do not feel comfortable going to your parents with this, FX recommends that you speak with a trusted staff member at school – a counselor, the school nurse, a teacher, or the principal. And whoever you do end up speaking to, be sure to stress that your friend’s parents are abusive and that you are worried about her safety so that the adults involved can take that into consideration and intervene in a way that will not put your friend in harm’s way.


FX understands that the risk here is that by telling an adult about what is going with your friend, the friendship may be jeopardized. However, while there would obviously be sadness for you if you lost her as a friend, you have to decide what is best for her in the end – is it better to not have her as a friend and for her to get the help she needs to a healthier place in her life, or to have her as a friend and watch her making choices that are so hurtful to her physical and mental well-being? FX knows that this is an incredibly hard situation for you (and for your friend) and trusts that you will be able to make decisions here that have your friend’s best interest at heart.


Signed: TeenHealthFX