Friend in Deed

14 Nov

Dear LetterBalm: I have a best friend I’ve known since we were in second grade. We did everything together and told each other all our secrets. We practically lived at each other’s houses. But everything changed when we got into high school and began taking different classes. We weren’t so close anymore, and she became friends with a group of girls who drink, mouth off to teachers, smoke and cut school. I think these people are bad for my friend, who’s getting a really bad reputation. I want to help her, but what can I say?

–Worried Ex-Best Friend

Indeed, your friend is allowing herself to be influenced by unsuitable people. She’s rebelling and getting herself in trouble. Ms. L.B. suggests you draw on your past close friendship to reach out to her. Meet up with your friend at school, and tell her you miss her. Gauge her reaction. Is she edgy and uncomfortable? Does she want to run off? Does she trash-talk you? If you see that she’s friendly, consider it an opening where the two of you can sit down and talk. Stay calm and don’t judge her. Understand that she may not want to resume being friends, but at least you tried. Say this:

Abbie, I’ve missed you so much. I’ve missed the times we used to hang out together, but especially I’ve missed not being able to tell each other everything like we used to. I hope you won’t be mad at me, but I’ve got to tell you something that’s really bothering me. I’m really worried about you. The girls you’re friends with aren’t good for you, and you’re getting a bad reputation. If you don’t want to hear this, I can’t say anything more, but I will have tried. I’ll always be your friend, I won’t gossip about you to other people, and I’ll always be there to listen whenever you want.

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