Teen Talk

Teen talk: Conflict with school band mate a sour note for senior

Kelly Richardson
Kelly Richardson Sacramento Bee Staff Photo

HI, KELLY: I’m a senior in high school and we have a very big marching band. It’s kind of been my thing the whole time in high school, and where almost all of my friends are. This year was supposed to be the best year, but so far it’s been terrible.

I’m in the woodwind section and my ex-boyfriend is in the percussion section. A new girl named Devon moved to our school in May. She plays the xylophone, so she’s part of the percussion section. A lot of guys thought she was cute, and she got a lot of attention from everyone.

She immediately became best friends with our drum major, and he’s good friends with my ex. The three of them started to hang out all the time, but everyone knew he and I were a couple so I didn’t freak too much until she tweeted something like, “Ever want what you can’t have?” I confronted her on this and it became a war between us. She totally denied it was about him, but she flirted with him nonstop at practice.

My boyfriend broke up with me at the start of the school year, and I know they hooked up at someone’s house at an after-practice party I wasn’t invited to. But I forgave him and we got back together, but then a week later he broke up with me again and said that he was just overwhelmed with school and band. I knew she was a part of that decision because he was fine last year having school and band. I was so sad but what made me more upset was how all these people who are supposed to be my friends have now become her good friends.

Recently she tweeted something like, “When just our section practices together it is music to my ears,” and I knew exactly what she was saying. I subtweeted her and told her to stop being so mean and find someone else to flirt with. She told me to stop stalking her. When I mentioned it to people who I thought were my good friends (like the drum major), they told me to stop creating drama and move on. I was shocked. I wasn’t the one who started this whole thing and suddenly I’m the one creating the drama? I wasn’t the one who went after someone else’s boyfriend and caused them to break up. I wasn’t the one who has now split the band up into two groups who don’t like each other.

It makes me so sick because they get to spend so much more time together than I do because we aren’t in the same sections. Now the percussion section has preferred percussion parties where no one else is invited. They never ever had these before this year. I know this is just a way to keep me out, and all the people who were supposed to be my friends go.

I talked to my mom about the option of quitting the marching band two nights ago, and she told me to think hard about that decision because I’ve always loved it. I don’t know what to do. I think it’d be easier to just not do band so I don’t have to see them or all the people I thought were my friends anymore. Every day it’s in my face and I dread it all.

Please help me. What should I do?


DEAR SAMMY: You know when they say, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”? Well, I disagree. I think when the going gets tough, the tough stay and figure it out. The tough don’t run. The tough dig in and work it out. Don’t quit the band just because it is hard right now. This pain won’t always be this bad. Leaving something you have loved so much will only cause you regret and remorse. Giving up may be an option, but please don’t make it your choice.

What have you loved about band? Playing music? Marching in parades or at games? Going to competitions? You can still do all those things. Devon doesn’t define the band, she’s just one member. She shouldn’t have that much power over you that you would walk away on something you have loved so much.

If you are ever going to find peace with her or with her in the band, you have to stop interpreting her social media quotes. How do you know they were about your ex? The truth is, you don’t. Ever think of hitting the unfollow button? Make life easier for yourself. Perhaps she says these things just to get under your skin and you are allowing it. If it wasn’t in your face, maybe you wouldn’t feel so inclined to comment. You can’t control what she says, but you can control having to see it.

Since you are both in the band, have you considered asking the director to sit down with both of you and help you sort through this? Having an adult’s perspective could be beneficial and prevent any future issues between the two of you. Using electronics to communicate isn’t working and it’s causing the drama between you. Try a face-to-face interaction and work together on moving forward.

If your boyfriend broke up with you, don’t blame her. He made a decision and it’s not her fault. Even if she flirted with him, it was still his decision to end things. Move on and accept that he’s not the one for you. Holding on to him will not make you stronger, but letting go will.

Focus on making this a good senior year. It’s not too late. Stop being bitter and making people choose between being friends with you and Devon. It’s not a war between you two. Have things changed? Yes, but change isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Open your mind and your heart to new experiences and new people, and chances are you will have the senior year you have always wanted.