Is Your Teen Having “Best Friend” Problems?


A Note From The Santa Monica Teen & Family Therapist

Does your teen have a best friend that she don’t get along with? Read on to learn how to address this issue. – Sandra

“My best friend Anna, I like A LOT. But another friend Hannah, who is Anna’s best friend, I don’t really trust, because she has lied to me or just plain ignored me. I am thinking about avoiding Anna because of Hannah, but I don’t want to hurt Anna. What can I do?!?”

You mentioned that you and Hannah are best friends with Anna. Often, when someone is best friends with more than one person, their other friends may get competitive for their attention. In this case, Hannah may be competing with you.

It sounds like it hasn’t been pleasant for you to spend time with Anna when Hannah is also around. Given that she has ignored you and has even lied to you, I can appreciate that you don’t feel like you can trust her.

In situations like these, you always have options. You can, as you suggested, not be Anna’s best friend anymore. But as you said, you don’t want to hurt her, and she isn’t the one you are having problems with. So, perhaps there are other options you may want to consider.

Sometimes, it is less intense when you add more people into the group. Whereas with only 3, if Hannah is talking to Anna, you may be left with no one to talk to. But with even one other person present, the equation becomes more balanced.

A second option is to invite Anna to spend time alone with you. At school, this may not be as easy to do, but after school and on weekends, she may be willing to set aside time to be with you.

Although perhaps not your first choice, another option is to find a way to get closer to Hannah. If you are both competing for Anna’s attention, you may not have even given your friendship a chance to grow. If you could figure out a way to make Hannah a friend of yours, this could solve your problem.

We will not necessarily like everyone. Not everyone will like us. People can change over time. Which is why our friendships also can change over time. If you are enjoying Anna now, and are not ready to give up your friendship, then you need to find a creative way to work with the choices she is making about other friends in her life. Perhaps you might want to add a new friend to your life…

If your teen or young adult child is struggling socially or emotionally, I can help you to discover the cause and remedy it.

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