Annoying Friend

Question:

I was just emailing you to ask for a little advice, maybe big advice but you’re the judge on that. I have this friend at school who has really been annoying me. All she does is muck around in class then she expects me to let her copy my work, she also doesn’t do her homework and expects me to also help her at lunch time, and I have better things to do at lunch. In class she always looks up hot guys on her laptop and I’m like “please can you do your work because I’m not helping you with it later” and she always replies that she’ll do it for homework. But she never does and will come bugging to me later.

I’m not being meanL, it’s just she’s been doing this since the start of the year and I didn’t mind at first but now it’s really getting to me. She’s clingy to, like I tested her once we were like walking and she was sticking to me like glue. So I started walking towards a wall and stopped and she nearly walked into it. I hate it when people are clingy I can’t stand it. Also the other day I was in English class and my teacher just explained one of the tricky question we were supposed to answer, well straight after she explained it my friend turns to me and asks for help. That got us both in trouble.

At the start of the year I had my friends from middle school with me but I sort of distanced myself from them because I felt left out. But now I miss them so much but I can’t just go sit with them again because we are just so different around each other now. I just don’t know what to do and I needed someone to confess to, I can’t tell my friends because they will think I’m being a b*tch. I’ve already told my mum but she says my friend values me a lot and really enjoys my company, but it’s different I don’t know how to tell her without coming off as shallow and unkind, especially because she used to be bullied at school, and I know how that feels.

What would Alice do in this situation?, What would you do? what do you think i should do? should i tell her?

Phyllis replied:

Alice did have this problem.  Don’t you remember her friend Amy, who appears in a number of Alice books?  In “Dangerously Alice,” Alice is mortified when she consents to be photographed with her at a dance.  But  she also saves Amy from embarrassment when some girls play a trick on her.  It’s great that you understand that she used to be bullied, but have you ever considered the fact that she, in a way, is bullying you?  You definitely feel uncomfortable when she repeatedly asks to copy your work.  Or doesn’t pay attention in class and then expects you to fill her in.  I think part of the problem here is that you need to learn to stick up for yourself a little more.

Have a good talk with yourself.  Decide what are definite deal breakers:  copying your work, for one.  It’s plain wrong, and enables her to get by without effort.  You are harming her and her ability to learn when you agree to this, so this is a definite no.  Rehearse what you are going to say.  “Becky, I like you too much to make things harder for you in the future by doing your work for you now.”  She will probably have to get a failing mark on a couple of assignments, have a few meltdowns, and a couple teacher conferences before she “gets it,” but don’t be an enabler.  As far as friendship goes, she will take rejection better if she has an acceptance to look forward to.  Decide on the times you don’t mind having her around; an activity or time you can do something one-on-one with her each week.  Squeeze in a little time for her when you see you can do it easily.  Then tell her simply that you need time alone, time with other people, as well as time with her. Learn to say, “Not now, Becky.  I just want to think about a paper I have to write.”   And single out at least one other girl at school, possibly among your old crowd, whom you could approach to go to a movie with, or just hang out with, and get to know better.  Start widening your circle of friends by eating with someone else at lunch; inviting a new person over on Saturday.  Every close friend once started out as a new person you had to get to know, so be the one to take that first step.

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