Important, TW for mental health issues and mentions of substance abuse, specifically of alcohol by a minor.
Hi there, Just a warning this is going to belong because these issues have been bottled up inside me forever. So basically I have a friend who I've been friends with since about grade 3(5 years). She was always a bit more mature than me in ways-interested in boys when I thought they had cooties, wearing makeup before I felt pressured to do so myself. She had her first real makeout kiss at age 11 and meanwhile, I'm 14 and have never been kissed. This never bothered me until this year when she started being rude to me about it. She is still my friend and we have great times together but every now and then she'll say a really hurtful comment about me dying a virgin or the fact that I have never had a boyfriend. I know she is joking but these comments hurt me much more than I let on because although I hate my feminist self for wanting a man, I really do want a boyfriend I just can't get one. She even once totally nonchalantly called me a prude which wasn't even when we were fighting she just slipped it into the conversation. I know that this is a frenemy situation and that I should find new friends but this is where it gets complicated. My friend acts really macho and trying to look tough when I know the real her is compassionate and loving. However, now her true self has been completely abolished and she only is tough and rude to me showing no remorse. It's like she has to prove to other people and prove to herself that she is tough. As hurt as I get, me and my friends are super worried about her. She acts really distant most days and rarely seems to have fun anymore. Her family seems super nice from what I know of them but shes hinted at the fact that she has family issues. This isn't her trying to seek attention. it took her a week of being really strange and going to the bathroom to cry and screaming at us when we came in before she opened up about wanting to run away. Just last night she told me that she has really bad depression and social anxiety which I totally understand because I have mild anxiety too. However, shes only opened up to me twice in the last year and all the other times she has brushed us off or gotten really really angry at us when we were trying to help her. Finally, she drinks a lot. Like a lot. And were only 14 for goodness sakes. I don't judge her for drinking a bit, lots of my friends do, but she is a borderline alcoholic. SHe drinks in the middle of the day when she comes home from lunch and even brings alcohol to school occasionally. She told me once that she can't go to a social event without drinking a few shots. This worries me a lot. I want to help her but she won't let me. If I talk to her shell push me away and end this friendship that I love. I don't want things to continue as normal though because she makes me feel bad about myself when I am with her. I don't know if there is an answer but please help me. What should I do?-Anonymous
This is a very serious issue that your friend has. I understand wanting to help on your own or keep things secret but there are situations where you need to tell an adult that you trust. A fourteen-year-old drinking is one of them. Underage drinking is extremely harmful, unhealthy, and potentially very dangerous. Nobody who is a minor should be drinking alcohol and especially not to the degree of being considered an alcoholic. You are not old enough or qualified to fix this for her and it is not your job to do so. You absolutely need to tell a teacher or a parent as soon as possible. This applies to any sort of situation where a friend is doing things that are a danger to themselves or others such as self-harm, substance abuse of any kind, or other reckless or harmful behavior. There are things that should not be kept secret even if revealing it could cause serious damage to a friendship. The health and safety of a friend are more important then keeping a friendship even if losing it would be painful and difficult. It doesn't matter what the person says, someone needs to be told in situations like serious alcohol abuse. Tell an adult you trust and that you know will be able to do something about this.
Your friend's treatment of you is not okay under any circumstances. Even if she has issues she has no right to treat you in such a terrible way. This does not sound like a friendship that is good for your mental well being. You are still very young and she should not be mistreating you for not having a boyfriend. Not having a boyfriend at the age of fourteen is perfectly normal and it is never okay to name call or bully someone for that. The issues she is having are not an excuse for being a toxic friend. It is absolutely okay if for you to cut this person out. Her problems are not your job for you to fix. You are not her parent and you are not her therapist. I know that you have an attachment to the friendship because you have a lot of positive history with this girl and you want to help her. That doesn't mean that this friendship is good for you and it doesn't sound like it is. No one should stay in an unhealthy friendship because they have a lot of negative effects on your mental and emotional health. Sometimes you really need to remove people from your life even if you still care about them for your own sake. It is okay for you to prioritize yourself. A toxic friendship is just as bad as a toxic boyfriend or girlfriend, it's not a relationship you should stay in.
It is okay to feel sad when cutting out toxic people but you should never feel guilty. You are allowed to stop friendships that are bad for you. Putting yourself first is important. You should never stay in a relationship of any kind out of guilt or because you feel bad for the person. You should distance yourself from people who are harmful to you. It doesn't mean you don't care about the person. It means that you matter and need to look after yourself. It doesn't make you a bad person to end a friendship no matter how long it was or how close you are. If it is toxic then it's the best choice for you and often the other person.