Mod S2S Mentor

Dealing With A Bad Influence

This is kinda complicated. I have this one friend who is like a TROUBLEMAKER. Like a major trouble maker. She also curses every five seconds But I really like her. I know she might be a bad influence on me, but she is SUPER nice and she’s the only person who lives near me. So basically if I stop hanging out with her, I don’t hang out with anyone. I’m just so confused. On one hand, she constantly curses (and I am only 10) and she is a huge troublemaker. And I don’t want to be like that. On the other hand, she is SUPER nice and the only person who lives near me. And also, I don’t mind the cursing. But it HAS started rubbing off on me. I’ve noticed. I know she is a bad influence, but she is SO FREAKING NICE. I don’t want  to give her up. And also I just moved, so I don’t know anybody besides her. UGH. Thank you! - Anonymous

Hello!

Wow, that is a complicated situation to be in! It's always hard to have a friend who is both a lovely person and a problem. I've been there, and it can be stressful and cause a lot of conflict, both inside of you and between you and your friend. So I definitely sympathize with you!

As for what you should do...I think the first thing you need to do is talk to your friend, be it in person or via a letter, email, etc. Getting your feelings and concerns out in the open is a big part of any friendship, and I think that would help, in this case. I know that this could be a potentionally hard conversation to have, so some things I would focus on are:

-You want to be her friend. If she knows this, and knows that you do like hanging out with/spending time with her, she is far more likely to listen to everything else you have to say. Focusing on the positive, as well as the negative, is a good thing to do in a situation like this one. Make sure she knows that you don't think she's a bad person, and that you think she's nice and a fun person to hang with.

-Tell her exactly what bothers you, and why it bothers you. This is a really big one, because the more specific you are, the better. Explain to her exactly why her being a troublemaker bothers you/makes you uncomfortable, and that you would prefer it if she wouldn't curse as much as she does right now. Make it clear that you don't mind cursing, but maybe if she could tone it down a little bit, you would like that. (If she didn't curse so much, it probably wouldn't rub off on you as much.)

-Be respectful. This is really important. Even though you're having this hard conversation, you should still be polite, and respectful, and mature about the situation. For one, she's more likely to listen, and for another, it's just a good thing to do. Listen to what she has to say, and really hear her out. Be firm in what you think, but don't be rude about it. That kind of thing. A two-sided respectful conversation is the best way to go, it sounds like.

If you talk to her, and she doesn't change, or if she refuses to listen to what you have to say, I would suggest trying to get to know more people in your area. Maybe there are some people that your friend knows, that you've talked to a couple of times? Or maybe there's some kids at school (if you go to school) that you'll click with? Ask your parents, and see if they know of a way to get to know other kids, even with COVID being a problem right now. They might have some ideas.

If you decide to remain friends with her, some things you can do to avoid her being such a bad influence are: If you catch yourself cursing, stop yourself. Notice if there's a pattern as to when you curse, and if there's a way you can subsitute curse words with other words that have the same meaning, but that aren't curse words. You can also talk to your parents and explain what's going on, and maybe they can help you find a way to not curse as much; When your friend does something troublesome, ask her to stop, or tell her why that thing isn't okay, and that it makes you uncomfortable. And don't go along with her if she tries to rope you into something. Set boundries, and stick to those boundries.

I really hope that you're able to resolve things with your friend, because she sounds like a nice person. I hope the tips I gave were of some help to you, and I wish you the best of luck in figuring things out. <3

-Phoenix

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