Who Can You Lean On? [Teen Article]

Alexis is a 16-year-old aspiring actress from Armonk, NY. She loves to sing, act, learn new languages, travel, meet new people, and laugh.

Who Can You Lean On?

It seems like everywhere I turn, there’s more and more media attention to the trials and tribulations of high school life. There’s TV- show’s like Gossip Girl and NYC Prep; books- The Clique series among others; music- Bowling for Soup’s High School Never Ends anyone?; as well as countless movies. The recurring theme in all of these is friendship, or rather “frenemies”. A “frenemy” is someone that just about every girl in high school has to face. It’s not as easy as an enemy, who you can just ignore or shoot snappy retorts at, but a “frenemy” can hurt you because you think, or at least thought, at one point, that they were your friend, and it’s often quite hard to cut them out of your life. I have had many experiences with a certain “frenemy” and no matter how many times I get hurt or betrayed, it just keeps happening.

Here’s my story (names have been changed):
I’m a “theatre kid” at my school, and there’s a small group of kids in my grade who are also “theatre kids”. My closest friend used to be this girl Amy. She’s a total diva, thinks she’s better than everyone, but we were best friends for years. Our sophomore year of high school we got into a huge ridiculous fight, stopped talking for a couple of months, and then when we started again, our “group” had two new friends: Sam and Jess. Sam and I became close pretty quickly, but Jess and I never really clicked. Then, Sam started hanging out with Jess and Amy more and more, and it was the three of them, and I was on the outside. Sam and I stayed friends, but she would always tell me about how Jess and Amy would talk about me behind my back and say really awful things. I knew Sam wasn’t trying to hurt me, but I was hurt nonetheless.

My one-time best friend was saying awful things about me, and I felt like I had no friends. I was forced to branch out, which was harder than expected because Amy and I had 6 out of 8 classes together. For the last several months of my sophomore year, I felt like I was in high school purgatory. Summer came and went, and school started again. Amy and I had fewer classes together, but we were still forced to spend a lot of time together due to our similar extracurricular schedules. We hadn’t talked since the middle of sophomore year, but decided that we had to be civil to each other. Things were going fairly smoothly, until Sam’s birthday in late September. Her mom had tried to plan a surprise dinner for her with a few close friends, but Amy and Jess both had their mothers call to say they mysteriously had forgotten about other plans three days before the party. I told Sam to be careful, that they would hurt her eventually, but when she found out about this, she was crushed.

Junior year continued, and it was fairly drama-free until the end. Sam and Amy shared a class second semester and started being friends again. Sam decided to tell Amy that Jess was constantly talking about her behind her back, which is true. Amy asked Jess and she denied it. Then both Amy and Jess came up to me complaining about Sam, and suddenly, three days later, they send her a facebook message saying that they know she didn’t mean to do anything, but that it was really MY fault. Let me point out that I was COMPLETELY UNINVOLVED UNTIL AMY AND JESS CAME UP TO ME!

Right now, I’m more than a little upset, angry at how Amy and Jess always get away with stuff like this, and just trying to focus on my other friends, and senior year goals, but it seems like wherever I am, drama seems to find me. I wish I could tell you surefire ways to avoid getting hurt by a “frenemy” but, to be honest, I’m looking for that myself, so below, I’ve listed some tips for spotting a “frenemy” or future “frenemy”.

1. She has put you down. Whether it be outright saying that she’s prettier than you, or making a joke or snide remark. If she says something hurtful, let her know how you feel. If she doesn’t seem to care and it continues, you might want to try and focus on your other friends a bit more.

2. She’s flaked out on you more than once. I’ve experienced this firsthand. You’re so excited because you’ve made plans with your friend to see the new Harry Potter but-oh! She suddenly remembers she has to babysit. Now, I’m not the most organized person, and I’ve definitely had to cancel plans once or twice because of a paper or my parents or something, but if it’s a regular occurrence, you need to sit down with your friend and have a talk. Don’t let people walk all over you, it never ends well.

3. She ignores you when something “better” comes along. Imagine this: you’re walking down the hallway talking about this new book you’ve read and turn to look at your friend, but she’s disappeared and instead is making out with her boyfriend, or talking to some popular girl that neither of you particularly like. This sucks. It doesn’t mean you have the right to be mean to her, but you should let her know how you feel, and if it continues, maybe it’s time to rethink the friendship.

I know a lot of these tips are similar, but really, the best way to avoid a messy friendship is to talk, let your friend know that she can’t just keep borrowing money and not paying you back, or that it really did upset you when she said SHE would never be caught dead wearing that jacket. And always be aware that no one deserves to be treated poorly by a friend. I don’t know how I’d get through life if I didn’t have my few solid friends. Fights happen, but a true friend will forgive you and laugh about that time you guys fought over a sandwich.

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