• Keeping Friends

I’m 14 years old and my best friend is unreliable

Published: August 11, 2014 | By | 2 Replies Continue Reading
How does a young teen handle a friend who is unreliable and doesn’t always consider her feelings?



I am 14 years old and have been friends with my best friend since we were in kindergarten. She has always been the more social one, which is completely fine with me, until now.

I have noticed that she goes from friend to friend quite quickly. She will become super close with one person, think they are the most amazing friend in the world, and then just drop them. She has always been friends with me but it feels like an emotional roller coaster being friends with her. One month she will love me to death, and the next she will get annoyed at everything I do. The one constant thing is that she always comes back to me.

Our mutual friends have even mentioned her habits to me out of concern. I feel like I am her personal toy that plays with her whenever she needs me, and when she doesn’t, she leaves me under her bed until next time.

I have mentioned it to her and she says that I have always been her real best friend but she doesn’t act this way at all from my perspective.

We are going into high school soon and have started training with the soccer team (we both play soccer.) She plays for a club and has tons of friends that are also practicing with this high school team now. The problem is, when her other soccer friends are around she will act like we are strangers. She will never talk to me at practice but then as soon as we aren’t at practice anymore, she acts like we are best friends.

I, on the other hand, do not know anyone on the team yet and was looking forward to playing with her and meeting new people. She sees me sitting alone and decides to ignore this. I expressed my concern to her about the issue and she promised to introduce me to all of her friends. But just like before, the next day at practice she didn’t even look at me. I have no idea how we will manage through high school if it is anything like this.

I would love to stay best friends with her, but I don’t know if I can handle this roller coaster anymore. Please tell me what and if I should do something to fix this friendship.

Signed, Misty


Dear Misty,

I’m sorry you’re having difficulty with your friends. When one person seems to have more “power” in the relationship, it can be hard to have a satisfying, healthy friendship at any age.

Some of the pals you meet as a child and teen may be lifelong  friends, some may be friends through school and drift apart in college, some might only last a few weeks. While you may think every girl your age has a BFF, the forever part of the equation rarely lasts into adulthood.

People have different styles in terms of what they want from friends and the older you get, the more you’ll learn what’s most satisfying and comfortable for you. Your style might change, too, as you grow, fall in love, get married, have kids etc., but the basics of your personality will probably remain much the same.

From your letter, it sounds like you prefer a small number of close friends whom you can trust and who will be loyal. Your friend seems to be more outgoing and likes to be around lots of people. She probably finds new friends fast and finds that exciting but after she gets to know them, she is no longer satisfied. I’ll bet it takes you longer to get to know people and feel comfortable, so you have much less friendship trauma-drama.

Sometimes friends with different styles have great relationships; they can balance each other out and challenge each other to stretch outside their comfort zones. This can offer new experiences to learn and grow. Other times, people with different styles are incompatible as friends.

Unfortunately, you can only change yourself and not your friend so looking at what you might do differently could be helpful. From your letter, I wonder if you allow your friend to get away with too much. For instance, you accept her back after one of her other friendships fizzles out. What if you didn’t take her back or if you took her back and kept her at a distance while growing closer to others?

What if you said to her on the soccer field, “Hey, I thought you were going to introduce me to your friends.” I believe we often teach people how to treat us. Even though you “shouldn’t” have to remind your friend to introduce you, you might be happier being a bit more assertive and pushing her to follow through on her promises.

Here are some questions to help you clarify what you want from your interactions with your friend.  You can answer them for yourself; talk to your mom, aunt or older sister about them; share them with your friend; or just keep the questions privately in your head or in a journal. They may help you make some decisions about this friendship.


  • What’s your style of friendship?
  • Realistically, what would have to change to be happy in this relationship?
  • What can you do to help improve the friendship?
  • If things stay the same, what do you want to do with the friendship?
  • What can you do to improve things with your friend?
  • How much of yourself are you willing to sacrifice to be her friend?

Hope this is helpful.

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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Comments (2)

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  1. Donna says:


    I agree with Mrs. Chen. You deserve a friend that will be loyal, kind and compassionate. My daughter is also dealing with a friend that she has been close with since 2nd grade, and all of a sudden, now in 6th grade, she’s become unkind to her. My daughter has distanced herself from her and is trying to put her energy towards girls that are kind and make her happy.

    You don’t need to put up with it – you’re worthy of more. 🙂


  2. Mrs. Chen says:

    Hey Misty,
    I see the kind of behavior you describe all the time. I have a daughter your age and another one 3 years younger. I’d like to give you the same advice I give my daughters.

    Your friend is using you as her “back-up friend”. You should not have to accept this kind of treatment from her, or from anyone else. Don’t believe her words, believe her actions. If she ignores you when her other friends are around, then you are NOT her “real best friend”. You have the right to expect to be treated by her the way you treat her. Since this is not the case, you need to move on.

    I know it hurts to accept that your friend does not appreciate your friendship, but Misty, there are many many other girls who will. Give it a try. Next time you go to soccer practice, say hello and introduce yourself to someone you don’t know. Choose someone who is not in your friend’s inner circle. And, very importantly, continue to be nice to your friend. You do not want her to turn against you and try to get others to be mean to you. Trust me, Misty, you will see how easy it is to meet other people. You don’t need anyone to introduce you. YOU introduce you. And I don’t want to hear that you are “shy”. Everyone is shy, so get over it.

    Also, I want you to know that I am not saying that your friend is not a good person. She may still grow up to become a wonderful friend someday. But right now she is dealing with many physical and emotional changes (as you are)and is perhaps feeling insecure or is testing out her own social power muscles. This is quite common among kids your age. Either way, you don’t need to be her doormat as she works through her issues. If and when she matures and decides to treat you right, you may consider becoming friendly with her again. Until then, go make other friends.

    I hope this helps.
    Mrs. Chen

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