Teen can’t connect with her classmates
Published 8:33 am Thursday, August 31, 2023
DEAR ABBY: I’m a 16-year-old girl who is struggling to have a social life. Since I was a little girl, I have had a problem connecting with kids my own age. I have done better with kids older or younger than me. A lot of times I relate better with teachers than with students. The few friends I had before COVID-19 have vanished into thin air.
When school started, I was part of a new group of “friends,” but it didn’t last long. The groups in my school are very tight. It’s almost impossible to break into an already-existing friend group. While I don’t mind being alone, I know I’m missing out. It doesn’t help that I don’t know how to approach other teens and that I suffer from anxiety that makes me doubt myself when I try.
I also can’t express myself clearly because I’m not from this country. English is not my first language, and there are cultural things I can’t understand. Do you have any advice so I can approach people easier and maybe make a friend or two? – FRIENDLESS GIRL
DEAR GIRL: This may be something you can talk about with a trusted teacher or school counselor. Because the cliques at your school are difficult to break into, ask what kind of special interest clubs exist on your campus. Is drama offered, or is there a sport you might be interested in that would allow you to mix with others your age?
You don’t have to be a star athlete or a great actress in order to enjoy activities such as these. The goal is to expose yourself to others who have a similar interest. And remember, high school may seem like it lasts forever, but it doesn’t. Once you have graduated, you WILL have the chance to make many more social contacts on a level playing field.
DEAR ABBY: “Stacy” and I have been friends for more than 20 years. Ten years ago my husband, children and I moved back to our hometown. At that time, I was afforded the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom. Stacy has one child and never married, so she had to work. A few years ago, she was in a terrible auto accident. I took care of her afterward and drove her to her medical appointments for six months.
When Stacy was released to return to work, she didn’t go, so she was fired – and she has changed for the worse. She is verbally abusive at stores, doctor’s offices, restaurant drive-thru windows – you name it. She refused to let me drive, and her driving scared me.
She would call me 20 to 30 times a day, and if I told her I was busy, she would come over anyway. I started having a breakdown. I told her to stop and blocked her, but now she is back at it. I am being stalked. What do I do? – FRIEND GONE WRONG
DEAR FRIEND: Your friend appears to have become mentally unbalanced. Does she have family? If she does, inform them about what’s going on. You have already blocked her on your phone and social media. If she comes over, do not let her in. If necessary, your next step should be to file a police report. If you have reason to think she might become violent or damage your property, you may need to seek a restraining order.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
Good advice for everyone – teens to seniors – is in “The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It.” To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)