DR. WALLACE: A girl who sits next to me in my homeroom class is my very best friend. We are closer than sisters. We always go to a movie together on Friday nights and have a snack afterward. I have a boyfriend, and he understands that every Friday is ladies night out.
It was my friend's 18th birthday last Friday, and we had made plans to go to a nice restaurant (my treat) for dinner and then go to our movie. I even called the restaurant for a reservation.
Well, the birthday celebration didn't happen because she called a half-hour before we were supposed to meet and left a message on my cellphone saying, "Hi, a guy just called and asked me to go with him to a fraternity party, and he's picking me up in a half-hour. You know I have a big crush on him, so I said yes. I know you'll understand. Love ya!"
She's still my friend, and I love her, but I don't understand how she could do this to me after we made big plans. Should I discuss her rudeness with her, or should I pretend that I understand why she skipped spending her birthday with me? — Stood Up Friend, Orlando, Florida
STOOD UP FRIEND: I find it odd that this young man waited so late to get a date for his frat party. But your girlfriend should have told him, "Thanks, but I already made plans to spend the evening with my best friend, but please call me again because I would enjoy getting to know you better."
She is still your closest friend, so do your best to avoid friction over this, especially while your feelings are still raw. For now, continue enjoying your marvelous friendship with this special young lady. Getting on her case could put a big dent in the friendship you both share. That is not necessary and would serve no good purpose for you at this time. At a future time when things are going well, feel free to let her know that you were disappointed that evening but you got over it. That way, the matter will be permanently put in your rearview mirror, and you will feel better by getting it off of your chest.
PARENTS DO NEED TO STEP UP
DR. WALLACE: I am the mother of a great kid who is on the honor roll and very well mannered. He has never been in any sort of trouble at school or home at all. We both enjoy reading and discussing your column at the breakfast table from time to time. Not too long ago, you ran a letter about a teenage boy who had friends that smoked pot, but he did not participate. He said he knew he would never try it, but his parents wanted him to steer clear these friends.
Well, I am in the same situation with my teenager. I don't think I can get him to understand that. Peer pressure is enormous, and there is guilt by association. What advice do you have for him and for me as a parent? — Concerned Parent, via email
CONCERNED PARENT: I receive many letters and emails from teens that complain that parents want them to abandon friends who have undesirable or illegal habits. I agree with you that peer pressure is difficult to overcome. In time, even "honor roll, well-mannered kids" do join all or most of their friends' activities.
That is why I encourage parents in your position to encourage their teens to find friends who share similar moral standards.
Dealing effectively with a teen's disagreement will be a difficult but necessary task. Parents who see a child in harm's way but do little or nothing to protect the child are guilty of negligence. Parents have a responsibility to be effective, loving mothers and fathers.
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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