Teen Talk

Teen Talk: Talk face to face to resolve dispute

DEAR KELLY: My group of friends consists of about eight girls. We’ve all been friends since middle school. My bestie is Leah, and most of the other girls have best friends within the group. I’ve never gotten along with “Amanda” but it’s not bad, just we never would do anything together alone without the group. I find Amanda shady and I think she talks badly about people behind their backs, so I’ve never really trusted her. Leah used to always say the same thing and we made sure we never told her anything really personal.

Lately, Leah and Amanda have been going places together by themselves. It’s kind of weird and when I asked Leah about it, she just said that Amanda is cool and has changed, and I should give her a chance. So I decided to try and hang out with them, just the three of us. We ended up going to the park and doing a mini-photo shoot, taking pictures of ourselves all around the park.

Things were OK with Amanda until later that night. She posted three pictures on Instagram of our photo shoot and in all three pictures she had cut me out. It was only her and Leah. I couldn’t believe it. When I texted Leah and told her what Amanda did, she said that I shouldn’t take it personally and that it was only because they had been hanging out more lately. I posted a picture of all three of us and hashed #yesIwasthere. She direct-messaged me and asked what I meant by that. When I said that she had cut me out, she said to stop acting like a baby and get over myself. I dm’d her back and said that she was rude and mean and to grow up. This was followed by a few texts between us, then all communication stopped.

What should I do now? About six of us planned to go to our friends’ cabin for the weekend in a few weeks and now I don’t know what to do. Should I text her and try and resolve it before or just ignore her and hope the trip goes well? I feel she owes me an apology, and I don’t want to move forward if she can’t give it. I defriended her on Instagram that night and we have not spoken since. I know Leah still hangs out with her and it’s making things kind of awkward between us as well. In the back of my mind I thinks she’s trying to get close to Leah just to hurt me because she’s just that kind of person. Any advice on my situation?

– Alone And Angry

DEAR ALONE: If you want to resolve things with Amanda, here is part of the problem: Social interaction has been replaced by social media. You and Amanda are using texting, dm’ing and Instagram to air out your problems.

What happened to having an old-fashioned face-to-face conversation and working through things? As long as you choose to use social media as the mediator for your personality conflicts, it will be very hard to find a resolution and come to a place of peace between you guys.

If you and Amanda are about to spend a weekend together and you aren’t even on speaking terms, you need to act swiftly to patch things up or that could be a very long and uncomfortable weekend for everyone. Reach out to Amanda and ask her to meet at Starbucks before the trip. Tell her you want to talk about things before you are with the group and in a close environment. Hopefully, she is open and receptive to getting things on the table before you have to be around other girls in the group.

Start the conversation with her by saying that you had a good time with her at the park with Leah, so it surprised you that she chose to crop you out of the pictures. Ask her if you did anything that upset her or made her mad that day to explain why you were taken out of the pictures?

If she acts nonchalant about it and saw nothing wrong with what she did, take that as your cue to not expect an apology for what she did. Instead of demanding she apologize, talk about what you both need to do to move forward so things aren’t weird or uncomfortable at the cabin.

Leave her relationship with Leah out of it. You don’t own Leah and you can’t expect them to not hang out just because you and Amanda don’t get along. If you feel Leah pulling away, reach out to one of the other six girls in the group. Don’t be the victim and play the woe-is-me card because Leah has another friend. When you’re talking with Amanda, just keep it about your relationship with her.

Sometimes the best resolution is to agree to disagree. You both saw the situation differently, so it’s a tall order to think you will see eye to eye on what happened. Your best bet isn’t to try and agree on what happened or who was at fault but rather focus on how to move forward in a way that respects both of you.

Certain personalities don’t get along. If you and Amanda can’t get along, then make sure you don’t drag others into your issues. Try to establish basic boundaries on how you will respect each other and not create drama. Don’t create so much dislike between you and Amanda that the other girls feel they need to pick a side.

Leave any chips you have on your shoulder for Amanda at home if you go to the cabin. Go with an open mind, a happy heart and a willingness to forgive.

Kelly Richardson, a Folsom therapist, works with adolescents.