Q: I'M A freshman girl and I have a lot of new friends this year. However, an old friend, "Adrian," who's been a good friend since third grade, follows me around like a lost puppy. He's constantly butting into my conversations with other people. I think that if he could, he would follow me into the girls' bathroom. My friends say that he likes me and that I shouldn't say anything and just "deal with it." "Adrian" is really nice and I don't want to hurt his feelings, but he is getting annoying. What can I do?
Q: There is a girl who's in several of my classes who takes jokes personally, is very pessimistic and is just a drag to be around. She is always trying to look at other people's grades on a test, read texts or get into other people's business. I am really tired of her and wish she would just leave me and my friends alone. Everything she does annoys me! How do I get her to get the hint that I don't want to be friends with her?
A: I'll respond to both of your letters with the same response since your questions are fairly similar. The missing ingredient in both of your issues appears to be communication. You are getting annoyed about not feeling left alone yet neither of you stated you had talked with the other person about how you feel. Ignoring someone in hopes they "get the hint" is not effective communication. It actually has the opposite affect. Ignoring someone often makes them work harder at getting your attention.
"Adrian" feels close to you because he has a history with you. The girl in the Letter 2 must somehow get the idea that you are friends because she follows you around and thinks that you and your friends enjoy her company. But instead of "not dealing with it" or giving hints why not just talk to them about the space you need and how they are making you feel smothered?
Sometimes compassion can go further than you imagine. Yes both are annoying but consider their position before you judge and alienate them. Boundaries are needed and open communication can clear the air so hopefully you can both practice a little kindness andunderstanding.
Kelly Richardson is a licensed therapist in Folsom who specializes in working with teenagers. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.