Bulletin Peer Pressure

By "Carrie" and Dr. Sonya Rogers
Contributing Writers
Posted 4/12/07

Editor’s note: Bulletin Peer Pressure is a new column that gives teens advice about the many issues that teenagers face each day.

Advice is given by “Carrie,” a mystery teen who attends a high school in Daphne, and Dr. Sonya Rogers, a …

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Bulletin Peer Pressure


Editor’s note: Bulletin Peer Pressure is a new column that gives teens advice about the many issues that teenagers face each day.

Advice is given by “Carrie,” a mystery teen who attends a high school in Daphne, and Dr. Sonya Rogers, a certified counselor.

To ask a question, e-mail bulletin@gulfcoastnewspapers.com. In the subject line, type “Bulletin Peer Pressure.” The column will run on an irregular basis, as teens submit questions.

Q: My best friend is also best friends with my worst enemy. What should I do?

— Clueless

C: Dear Clueless, my first suggestion is to try to become friends with this enemy.

Put all bad blood behind you and let him/her know that you are finished being rivals with them. Chances are, he (or she) is probably feeling the same way you are and would preferably be your friend too.

If you absolutely cannot be friends with this person, talk to you best friend and let him (or her!) know that you aren’t exactly pals with their other friend, and you would rather just the two of you hang out.

Of course, there will still be times when you have to hang out with both your best friend and your enemy, but during these times just try to set aside your differences with this foe and act congenial toward him or her. (After all, it’ll probably be just for a few hours!)

The things not to do: talk bad about you enemy in front of your friend in hopes that he or she will like this person less; or make your best friend pick between you and his/her other best friend, which could definitely put a strain on your relationship.

Also, it’s probably not a good idea to launch into a gigantic fight with this enemy whenever you two are near each other. No one wants to be around two people who can’t stop shouting at each other.

SR: In the novel, “Feathers,” which was written by Jacqueline Woodson, one of the main characters, Frannie, was best friends with a girl named Samantha who was also friends with a snooty girl named Maribel Tanks. Frannie was quite confused as to how and why Samantha was good friends with Maribel and yet, still good friends with her when she detested the ground Maribel walked on. For the most part, Maribel acted as if she was better than others. This bothered Frannie! However, she had been friends with Samantha since first grade.

When adolescents — and adults — are friends with those who are also friends with the enemy, it is often difficult to truly trust the one who is friends with both.

However, over time, generally the one who is friends with both can become a peer mediator and find a smart way to allow each party to see the value of the other person, so that hard feelings and false precepts can be diminished.

In business and in personal relations, people typically depend on a third party to serve as a “messenger” until uncomfortable conflicts are resolved. While boys tend to handle disputes with fists and kicks, girls hash out their differences with whispers, secrets and shifts of affection.

According to research, females often negotiate relationships that can include difficult periods of possessiveness, unrealistic idealization, envy and emotional indifferences.

Healthy relationships require much time and effort.

Q: Lately I have had some “changes.” In some ways they are with my friends, but they are mostly in how I act. My family and friends seem to deeply dislike me because of my irrational behavior. I am striving to reach beyond all obstacles in life, but the more I strive to be more loved by my peers, the more I am detested. How do I show my beloved family and peers that I can be myself by changing in ways that are not like myself?


C: I know it might seem hard right now, but don’t worry, the “changes” you are going through are only temporary and totally normal.

For now, try to work through your emotions in a healthy way. How about taking a yoga class or doing some kick-boxing — both of which you can probably find at a local gym?

As far as being liked by your family and peers goes, just be as sweet and nice as possible and know that with time you will probably be back to your old self soon enough.

SR: Sometimes in life it seems as if the things we want the most are the hardest to obtain. I think that is because we put so much emphasis on those goals.

Change is inevitable, and something that we can not control. As we develop, we find ourselves experiencing things for the first time and sometimes we are not ready to deal with everything at once.

When some people feel really stressed or overwhelmed, they take deep breaths until they can exercise or escape to some place peaceful. It is wise to find something constructive to do when you are angry or feeling uncomfortable with an issue. Then, when you are relaxed, find a rational way to deal with the situation or person.

 You might even keep a journal and document the times you remember feeling u

pset with someone, or when someone reacted negatively toward you when your intentions were good. By doing this, you may discover a pattern of behaviors that need to be altered.

In being ourselves, sometimes we do behave in a way that disappoints others. You’ve heard the saying, “Actions speak louder than words.” Remember to think before you speak and act. Show respect and be honest to others. Even though you cannot control their actions, you can set a good example.