Agony Aunt helps to break the cycle of insecure friendships and build healthy relationships

Buddy’s troubling behaviour

My childhood friend of 16 years shifted to Delhi two years ago. She is in the 12th grade right now. She has had a huge change in her behaviour since then. She has been back answering her parents, not focusing on her studying and being overall ‘difficult’. Knowing her since the age of two, I know this is completely out of character for her, and all of this behaviour is probably the impact of her friends. I want to help her, but I don’t know how. What should I do?

Ans: The reason why your friend is behaving differently could be due to a lot of reasons and not simply because of her friend’s influence. As a friend who has known her for so long I am sure you know things about her to a great extent. So being her good friend it is essential that you first figure out that what could possibly be causing this change in her rather than basing it on your assumptions. You could begin by talking to her and understanding whether she sees her behaviour as a changed one in the first place. Only then you would be able to help her in any manner.

To friend’s rescue

My best friend from college has a boyfriend. He is two years older to her and not a good person. He is verbally and sometimes physically abusive, extremely possessive and doesn’t care for her at all. I have tried everything from being brutally honest to being supportive. I have tried telling her parents, but they won’t do anything. I want to help her out what should I do?

Ans: At times when people close to us might be in situations that we feel are going to hurt them eventually, however, due to their own limitations or personal reasons they are unable to see the logic that we might be trying to show them. Thus, in situations like these you can exhaust all your options, but if the person isn’t in a state to understand your arguments, there is only so much you can do. Being her best friend and not being able to help her might be difficult to accept, but you have done everything so far and it’s best to watch out for her so that at any point you feel she requires you, you can be there for her without any judgements or “I told you so”.

An anxious lover

I have a friend, he lives in Pune. He is 14. He likes this girl in his class whom he is best friends with. He really likes her and wants to tell her, but he doesn’t want to ruin their friendship. He is scared that she might not like him back and thus, he keeps his feelings to himself. But this is causing him a lot of anxiety whenever he hangs around her. What should he do?

Ans: Often when feelings from being friends change to liking the other person, this apprehension does crop up that how will it affect the friendship. It is important to understand that your friend is already behaving differently with the girl he likes due to his anxiety. Honest communication always helps in any given situation especially, when it has to do with the feelings. Sooner or later his friend might realise that there is something wrong and things might be difficult to handle at that point due to existing anxiety. As far as ruining the friendship is concerned, it is again an assumed fear and it is important to overcome this in order to let the girl know how your friend feels about her.

The love triangle

My friend likes this guy from my class. He is a really nice guy. But he doesn’t like her, he likes me. And I like him back. But I know that my friend likes him so, I didn’t want to get in the way of them and ruin my friendship over a guy. But I still like him and don’t want to lose him. What should I do?

Ans: The conflict here is about wanting to do the right thing and that everyone should be happy at the end of it. Here your friend likes a person who doesn’t like her back and you aren’t instrumental in letting that happen as it isn’t because he likes you. It is essential to understand this distinction because you and the guy independently share feelings towards each other. Discuss this with your friend and tell her about how you and the guy feel about each other before she knows about it from any other place. It might upset her, but you can’t make a decision on her part for the friendship part and compel yourself to make a choice between her and the guy you like.

Agony Aunt helps to break the cycle of insecure friendships and build healthy relationships

No time for love

I am 29 years old. I have been married for 5 years. Both I and my husband are working and are in the process of building up our careers. We both are so busy all the time; we don’t get to spend enough time with each other because every time we are either working or extremely tired. I feel like we are growing apart. I miss spending time with him, but at the same time, I don’t want to tell him and bother him, because I know that work is important too. Is there something that I can do to work on this distance? What should I do?

Ans: Work-life balance is often a matter of concern in maintaining a relationship. You have realised the problem in your relationship that is leading to distance between you and your husband. Now, in order to bridge this gap, certain adjustments have to be made on both the ends so that none of you ends up feeling that “I am giving up on so and so but s/he isn’t” which is a breeding ground for further arguments. Telling him about how you feel may not necessarily hinder his work, but rather make him realise that work is having an impact on your relationship.

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