DR. WALLACE: My family and I recently moved to a new city. I enjoy my new school — I even took a summer school class to get to know some new people — but I'm having a problem with my new best friend. It seems that with everything I do or say, she claims she has already done it or says what I've done is "no big deal."
Let me give you an example. Before I moved here, I owned a horse. I loved her very much and was upset when we had to sell her. When I told my new friend that I had previously owned a horse, she said she wants to own two horses. If I say anything at all about any subject or topic, she has to top it.
Not only this, but anything and everything I do or accomplish, no matter how small, is met with her claims of doing the very same thing previously but better! Why is this girl always trying to outdo me on everything? Do you think I should look for another best friend? I do like her a lot apart from this one issue, but I'm very tired of listening to her constant exaggerations and one-ups. What should or can I do about this? — New Friend at a New School, via email
NEW FRIEND: It's very possible that your new girlfriend suffers from a lack of self-esteem. She feels she can earn your respect if she can make you believe she has accomplished more than you.
Have a talk and discuss this with her. Tell her you care for her friendship, but you don't enjoy her I-can-do-anything-better-than-you attitude. If she continues to "overstate" her accomplishments, find another best friend but continue to be friendly to this first girl from a bit of a greater distance. If that happens, it might just be a good learning experience for her.
THIS GRANDMA CAUSES TROUBLE
DR. WALLACE: I'm 15 and desperately need your advice. My parents are divorced, and I live with my mother who has legal custody of me. She is a wonderful mother, and the two of us are the best of friends. I love my mother, and I consider her the best mother in the whole world. She is strict, but she is also fair and wants only what's best for me.
My dad's mother, my grandmother, lives in a nearby town and comes to visit us once in a while. The problem is that after she visits, she calls my dad in California and tells him a bunch of lies. My dad then calls my mom, accuses her of being a bad mother and claims I've turned into a tramp. This makes Mom angry, and she hangs up on my dad. Then Mom and I sit down and cry because none of the lies are true, and we don't know what to do about this. This has happened multiple times now! What advice can you give us? I'm sick to my stomach when I hear my reputation being ruined like this. — Respectable Teen, Tulsa, Oklahoma
RESPECTABLE TEEN: The vast majority of grandmothers are considered to be loving, caring and helpful members of their families. Only very few could be considered nasty, troublesome, deceitful ladies who have nothing better to do than cause as much family chaos as possible.
I would encourage your mother to inform this meddling grandmother that she is no longer a welcome guest in your home. Have Mom explain to your dad exactly why this decision has been made and ask him to help you get over the feelings you've been experiencing. A good father will most likely rally behind his respectable daughter. Perhaps your dad needs to hear your comments on this topic directly from you.
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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