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Friendship: When second best isn’t good enough

August 25, 2015 | By | 4 Replies Continue Reading
A teen’s friend makes her feel like she’s second best.

QUESTION

Hello,

I’m 15 years old and very depressed. My friend and I agreed to see each other one day, and on that day she told me she couldn’t come because she had to go to her grandma’s house. I understood. I wasn’t sad or anything.

But today was different. We rearranged everything and I even gave up going shopping with my sister so I could go see her. So I asked her what time we should meet and she said nonchalantly, “Oh I can’t I’m busy today.”

I asked her nicely why she couldn’t come. And her reason was because she was supposed to see her best friend today. I’m not jealous. I don’t mind that she has other friends. She is one of the most popular girls in school. Anyway, it really upset me that she ditched me.

I asked her again if we could see each other and it’s been two weeks since we were supposed to see each other. And the worst part is that I tried to re-rearrange our hangout so I sent her a message on Facebook. She saw the message but didn’t reply so I sent her a message with a “?” and she saw that but didn’t answer.

I have a feeling this girl is being really mean and doesn’t want to see me. That makes me feel like I can never make friends and that I’m really weird about crying like this about friends and stuff. She has done this to me twice. What should I do? I need your help so badly! I always feel like I’m second best and I am sick of it!

Signed, Margene

ANSWER

Hi Margene,

I’m so sorry your friend has disappointed you. Most people would feel just like you’re feeling. Having to visit a grandmother at the last minute may have been beyond her control, but choosing to spend time with her best friend when she already had plans with you is an unkind choice she made.

You’re very mature to realize that your friend has other friends, even a best friend. Sometimes in our eagerness to see friends, we can be over-accommodating and inadvertently send the message that we think their time is more important than ours. If you’ve fallen into this pattern with your friend, she might not be aware her behavior is impolite and inconsiderate. We teach people how to treat us by what we will and won’t tolerate.

It takes years to develop healthy, direct, effective communication skills. At your age, you’re at the beginning stages of learning these skills and you’ll be perfecting them throughout your life. I’m not making excuses for your friend. She hasn’t treated you like you are special and important. If she doesn’t want to socialize with you, telling you would be kinder.

Friendships are healthiest and most satisfying when both people share the same “power” and affinity for each other. Right now you’ve given her more power because you seem to want the friendship more than she does.

You deserve to have friends who treat you with respect and the same level of care you put into the relationship. Please don’t let this one experience make you feel badly about yourself or other friends. Your “people” are out there, waiting to meet you. Look for girls who share your same interests, whose sense of humor is similar to yours and who seem like genuinely nice people. High school is a hard time because lots of teens get hung up on who’s in which group and what others will think. If you can put that aside and focus on the quality if the individual, you’ll have easier, more satisfying relationships.

Good luck, Margene. You deserve to have friends who care about you as much as you care about them.

Signed, *Amy Feld


*Amy Feld, PhD, MSW has trained and worked as a child psychologist.

Disclaimer: Nothing in this or any other post is intended to substitute for medical, psychiatric or clinical diagnosis/treatment. Rather, all posts are written as the type of advice that one friend might give to another.

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Category: Child and adolescent friendships

Comments (4)

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  1. Patricia says:

    Being a teenager is extremely difficult these days. Much more difficult with social media then while I was growing up. Girls are mean. I’m sorry to say it but girls are mean, I see what they do to each other with my older boys (15 and 13) girl friends and now dealing with it with my 10 year old daughter.
    My advice to you is simple and you it only works if you follow through. And this is what I try and teach my daughter, who is still young enough to listen.
    I agree with LUCY — forget her, don’t be rude, be nice and if she asks to hang – hang if you want to but do not get hung up on waiting for her to create your own happiness. GO OUT with other friends…make a group of your own that you can depend on and create happy, loving memories with them. Go to the movies, go to the park, have get together’s with them, but the last thing you should do is suck over this girl. Once you release yourself from her, you will realize that you are not dependent of her for your happiness.
    Good luck

  2. Nancy says:

    Hi, Margene,

    High school can be a really hard time for so many people because of the type of thing you are going through. My son didn’t have many friends in high school because he was really shy. I kept encouraging him that he would find more friends in college, and he did. The son of a friend of mine had the same experience as my son. Hang in there and try developing some talents and interests of your own. I would guess that there are a lot of people in your school who are experiencing similar things as you are.

    My family moved twice when I was in high school so I went to three high schools. It was really hard. A therapist gave me this advice: don’t think about trying to make friends; think about being a friend. Then, if a person doesn’t seem to want to be friends, then just accept it and move on.

    You seem very articulate, sensitive, intelligent, and mature. I believe that college, if you go, will be a much better experience for you. Someday, when you go to high school reunions (I picked the first high school I went to because that is the one that had the people with whom I grew up), it will be really interesting. People that you didn’t pay a lot of attention to, or who didn’t seem to notice you, will be socializing with you. Some people peak in high school and don’t seem to do much after. My mother used to tell me, when I had hard times growing up, “this, too, shall pass.”

  3. Miel says:

    Hey Margene,

    I’ll just add that this doesn’t mean you will not find better friends than her. The fact that you wrote about how this made you feel is a sign that you are going to be able to connect up with people who make you feel valued as a friend and who want to spend time with YOU and who you WANT to spend time with (that is important).

    One thing that I wish we women were more open about is that unless you want to put up with everything that everyone does in your life, some times you are going to have some alone time and there is nothing wrong with that.

    Truly. Find ways to enjoy your alone time, do things that you enjoy doing. I am going to say that I think that all healthy girls and women have something they enjoy doing by themselves. This makes them a more balanced person. I know you want good friends, I and can really relate to that feeling. Enjoy watching a favorite movie, enjoy a treat, a walk outside, enjoy your favorite music or something else you enjoy doing. It won’t change your friend or your disappointment in her, but it will remind you that there are things in life you can enjoy on your own. All girls and women need that. It balances out our desire for relationships with others.

    You will meet some people who are good acquaintances but not best friend material and that is ok too. If you have something you look forward to doing by yourself, you won’t feel so frustrated by the times where you may not feel you have a best friend in your life.

  4. Lucy says:

    This friend is inconsiderate. I would consider her to now be more of an acquaintance than a true friend. Take the high road and don’t be rude to her. Be polite when you see her, but I would not try to engage with her too much. These situations will happen throughout your life. It still happens to me and I am in my 50’s! It hurts, but concentrate on other more positive relationships in your life. You deserve better and you will find it.

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