Problems Between Me, My Friend and My BFF

Published: May 14, 2012
Dear Problems Between Me, My Friend and My BFF,

Dear TeenHealthFX, My Best friend has fallen completely in love with her boyfriend, and most resently one of our other friends has lost her mother, and lately she has been cutting, smoking, using smokeless tobaco, and has been exchanging boyfriends daily, and loves all of them.and we've kept our mouthes closed long enough, she has gotten extremly irritible, hateful, and snobby around us. It wasnt until Friday morning we were feed up, she told my Best friend that she should break up with her boyfriend so she can go out with him. That night my Bestfriend had texted me and told me she had cut her wrist lightly enough to break the skin. The next morning she didnt come to school. And I had went and talked to her (our other friend) I talked calmly and nicely and told her she was getting too carried away, and that she needed to appoligize to her. She threw her milk down and said " What ever I hate you shut the h*** up!!" . I just want to help them both I dont know if its just a phase, But the've been really close to me..


Dear Problems Between Me, My Friend and My BFF,

Given that your friend just lost her mother, she probably needs you not to keep your mouths shut and ignoring the situation. That doesn’t mean she needs you to judge, criticize or tell her what to do – but she is probably going through a lot of heavy emotions right now given such a significant loss in her life and she needs to know that her friends are there for her and care about how she is feeling and what she is doing. She needs to hear things like, “I can’t even imagine how hard it must be for you right now with your mom passing. But know that I’m here for you if you need anything.” You might also cut her a little slack for how she is acting and not be so hard on her – losing a parent is a really hard thing.

FX suggests that you apologize to your friend for telling her she is getting too carried away. Of course she is getting carried away – she just lost her mother. Instead, let her know that you appreciate how hard things are for her right now and tell her that you are just concerned about her. Encourage her to talk to someone about how she is feeling – a staff member at school, a private therapist, or a family member. And throughout the conversation try to be as compassionate as you can. If your friend resists the idea of reaching out for help, then FX suggests that you go to a trusted adult for some guidance on how to handle the situation. Your parents or a school staff member might have some ideas about how an adult could intervene to help your friend during this very difficult time.

As for your best friend, FX suggests you check in with her about her cutting herself and missing school. Let her know that you are concerned about her and ask her if she’s ever cut before. Let your best friend know that you can appreciate she might be hurt and angry by your friend saying she should break up with her boyfriend – but check in about why your best friend’s reaction was so intense that she self-cut. Encourage your best friend to talk to someone about how she is feeling, and, if she doesn’t, consider whether you need to tell an adult who can intervene on her behalf.

Finally, in being there for your friends it is important that you have your own supports so that you don’t feel too overwhelmed or angry as you try to help them out. Make sure you have a trusted adult to talk to as well about the situation and about how you are feeling.

 

If you or your friends are interested in talking to a therapist, consider the following: If you live in northern New Jersey and need help finding a therapist you can call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 888-247-1400. Outside of this area you can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals in your area. You can also contact your insurance company to get a list of in-network mental health providers or check with your school social worker or psychologist to get a list of referrals in your area.

Your friend who lost her mother might also benefit from Rainbows, a non-profit, international organization that works to help children and teens who have had to deal with some kind of loss in their lives. She might also find some helpful information on the website, Grief Speaks.

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