DEAR KELLY: I’m 13, and my best friend is love with a guy in eighth grade at our school. We had a school social last week, and she was crying when he danced with another girl. I don’t think he likes her, but she can’t stop talking about him, how perfect he is, how great of a couple they would make, writes his name all over her folders, hashes #iluvlucas on everything.
It kinda drives me crazy because I think he’s only said hello to her a few times, and he follows her on Instagram only because she followed him first. She likes everything he posts and acts like it’s the greatest thing ever if he likes something of hers.
Everyone we sit with at lunch is sick of hearing “There he is,” or “Watch how cute he walks,” or “Who is he talking to?” or “Why is he sitting next to her? Does he like her?” It’s so annoying.
How do I tell her to chill out and that no one wants to talk to her anymore because all she talks about is Lucas and it’s not even like they have even been a couple or that he even talks to her. She’s borderline psycho on him, and it’s making everyone mad.
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– Freaked-out Friend
DEAR FREAKED OUT: It’s not uncommon for girls in middle school to become boy-crazy, but your friend seems like she is boy-obsessed. She likes a boy who doesn’t seem to share the attraction, and she’s driving everyone crazy with her Lucas fascination.
People who are obsessed aren’t thinking clearly and can’t see how other people view them. Your friend could do herself a huge favor by accepting the reality that he probably doesn’t feel the same about her as she does him, but her obsessed mind isn’t thinking rationally.
Is it possible she crushes on Lucas because she knows he isn’t interested in her and so that makes him a safe person to like? Just a thought. Some people know that they aren’t ready to be part of a couple, but they want to fit in so they pick someone unreachable just so they have something to talk about and to feel a part of the group when everyone else talks about their crushes.
Or your friend could just be clueless to not only Lucas’ lack of interest in her but also her friends’ complete annoyance with her constant babble about him. If that’s the case, then you need to step up and share with her how she is going to lose friends if she continues to talk only about him and the relationship that they have never had.
Pull your friend aside and talk with her one-on-one so she isn’t embarrassed or feels picked on. Tell her that you know she likes Lucas, but her one-track mind is driving everyone not only crazy but also away from wanting to hang with her.
Be supportive of her feelings: “I know you really like him, but it feels a little over the top.” Be understanding: “I know this might be hard to hear, but I’m only telling you this because I care about you. And be forgiving: “I don’t blame you for wanting to talk about Lucas because he’s cute, but you have to talk about other things besides only him.”
She may have her feelings a little bruised and get defensive to her behavior, but at least she will be aware of what she is doing. The next time it starts to happen, simply give her a smile and hopefully this causes her to change the topic away from Lucas and onto something everyone wants to talk about.
Don’t be mean when you talk with her, but do be direct. Be a friend who cares about her and wants to make her see what she is doing to everyone else. She may think people find it cute to hear all about Lucas, but once she knows how you (and others feel) hopefully she just tones it down a bit.
When she brings him up, wait for a break in the conversation and kindly bring up another subject (“Who watched ‘The Fosters’ last night?”). Hopefully she catches the hint that you would rather not make Lucas the center of every conversation and rediscovers how to talk about other things in her life.
If you feel creeped out by how much she crushes on Lucas, imagine how Lucas must feel. People have probably shared with him her semi-obsession, and most eighth-grade guys would find this very overwhelming.
Find someone your friend looks up to, like an older sibling or neighbor or teammate, who can share with her how liking someone this much before anything has ever happened can be a major turn-off. While she may think it’s cute to chase after him, he may find it strange and unsettling. She needs to hear from someone she admires that her behavior may be sending him in the opposite direction and he may want to get as far away from her as possible.
Being a good friend means being supportive and nonjudgmental. Is she over the top on this Lucas fixation? Probably. Does she deserve a chance to change her behavior once she knows how people are tired of only hearing about him? Yes.
If awareness is the first step to change, be the one who kindly helps her become aware of her habit. Remember that one day you too might have these crazy feelings for someone and you might do some silly things just to get their attention. Show her the same patience you hope others will show you if and when that day does come.
Kelly Richardson, a Folsom therapist, works with adolescents.