Archive for October 6th, 2008

October 6, 2008

Twelve-year-old seeks help with feeling obligated…

by Rod Smith

“I am 12. I have been a friend to a boy who is now getting on my nerves. He always sits next to me. He always begins the day with ‘Did you hear…’ and it’s about an embarrassing fact about someone. He usually asks me what we have next as if I am his personal assistant. I tell him that he should know his own timetable and then, like clockwork, he comes back to me at the end of the next period and asks me ‘What do we have?’ My teacher used me an example of good behavior. I know that being good is never something to be ashamed of, but I am honestly going to blow up soon. I feel very bad (obligated). I know that I am one of the only people who listens to him, but I am getting annoyed.” (Minimally edited)

Feeling overcrowded is seldom comfortable. Your response to this uncomfortable situation is appropriate. Address him directly. I’d suggest a third party facilitate this difficult conversation if he were older than you are. Tell him, as strongly as possible, that you will be choosing to establish some distance from him – while also remaining one of his friends. Both of you stand to learn important life lessons as you succeed in defining yourself to your friend. Learn it now, it will serve you well forever.

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