DR. WALLACE: I moved to Northern California about a year ago, where I met my current best friend. We're both 14 years old. Sometimes, when I go over to her house, her older brother is there. He's 18 and lives in an apartment with two other guys, but he still stops in to see his parents sometimes. From what I can tell, it's mostly to ask them for money.
My problem is that whenever her brother is there and my friend leaves the room, her brother says mean and nasty things to me. I always tell him to stop and that it's highly inappropriate, but he keeps doing it. This really upsets me, but I don't want to tell my friend because I don't want to lose her friendship. What you think I should do? — Silent Friend, via email
SILENT FRIEND: It sounds as though your friend's brother is a scary, troubled guy. If he is in the house when you go to visit, just don't go in. If he arrives after you're in the house, leave immediately. You can make up an excuse to say that you need to go home. Be sure to smile at your friend, tell her you will see her at school and thank her for the invitation to hang out with her.
I think that when there is a quiet moment, you should tell your friend what her brother says to you when she is not around. If she is the friend you think she is, she'll do what she can to help you nip this problem in the bud. She should absolutely tell her parents about this. In any case, do not allow yourself to be alone with her older brother again.
BACK OFF AND KEEP QUIET ABOUT HER
DR. WALLACE: My best friend and I are both 17, and we have been friends for more than eight years. A few weeks ago, he started dating a girl who has a rather poor reputation at our school, to put it mildly. I know about this because my sister and several other female friends know all about the girl's past history. I tried to warn my friend, but he wouldn't listen to me and has been going out with her for the past two weeks.
It really makes me sick when I see them together because it has become obvious to me that she is not good for him. I saw them both together at school last week, and she made some rude comments to me and steered him away immediately. I was surprised that he let her dominate him like that; he's usually a proactive kind of guy who makes his own decisions. Do you think I should keep encouraging him to dump her, or should I just stay away and let his reputation be destroyed too? — Worried Friend, Hialeah, Florida
WORRIED FRIEND: You have now already done what you thought was in your friend's best interest. It is not really so surprising that he didn't take your advice, as it appears he is infatuated with this girl, so now you should just back off and keep your mouth shut about her. Do continue to socialize with your friend if and when he has free time away from her, but do not bring her name up in conversation when you are spending time with him
You might also try being friendly and courteous to her. I'm sure your friend would appreciate it, and there still a possibility that the rumors may be wrong. However, even if they are correct, it's really none of your business. When it comes to love, everyone has the right to make his or her own mistakes or, in some fortunate cases, their own successes!
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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