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Friends and Family Everyone has disagreements, even best friends and family. If you need advice about a relationship, ask us here.

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Ravensnight Offline
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Breaking Apart? - March 11th 2014, 06:45 AM

I know I just posted right below but this is way different.
I can easily say that my cousin is my best friend. Unlike anyone else I know, we can lose contact for a year and pick ourselves up right where we left off with a squeal and a rib crushing hug. She's moved all across the country so I never saw her that much. But this year she moved about an hour and a half away from where I live. I was so excited to see her all the time.
But this year she decided she didn't want to be homeschooled anymore. She wanted to start as a freshman in high school. I was a little nervous for her. She was never really around kids when she was little and I wanted her to be picked up by the right crowd. The kind of people who would help her with her homework and support her, like my friends
But the next time I saw her, she was different. I guess it started with her wardrobe. Everything she wore was black. Then I was given a full blown breifing into her new life at school. Filled with boyfriends and drama and what not. Stuff that I could never see myself as part of. Nothing really changed between our friendship, execpt that now I was her little cousin. She was older by seven months but now I was innocent and naíve.

Fast forward a few months and I knew that school had become a bad i nfluence on her. She was ditching, she'd dying her already dark hair midnight black and feaying the tips, wore spikes in her ears, and had eyeliner an inch thick around her eyes. She almost completely ignored me when I saw her. She was moody and depressed and only wanted to talk about her friends or spend hours texting. We had a sleepover and that was all she did-text.
I'm a straight A, honor roll, 4.0 GPA student. I take school seriously and I'm particular about who I spend my time with people who care just as much as myself. It breaks mee to see my cousin lose all respect for her studies and herself. What can I do? Have I lost my best friend forever? My family is already jacked up. She's the only one I have left.


The universe has to move forward. Pain and loss, they define us as much as happiness or love. Whether it's a world or a relationship everything has it's time. And everything ends.
   
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Re: Breaking Apart? - March 11th 2014, 08:06 AM

Hey,

I'm sorry that things haven't been going too well between you and your cousin. The hardest part of maintaining a friendship is often how easy it can be for two people to grow apart. One person starts to experience new things and the other can hardly relate to them anymore. It sounds like your cousin has changed a lot as a person and it's definitely understandable that this would effect your relationship with her.

I don't think there's much you can do to change her actions or the people she hangs out with. In my opinion telling her that you don't approve of her lifestyle or the people she's friends with will just cause more conflict between the two of you. She'd probably feel as if you were judging her and that would have a negative impact on your relationship. I do think, however, that you should confront her about the way she's been treating you. Don't accuse her of anything, but let her know that you miss the time the two of you used to spend together. I think it's really inconsiderate to be texting the whole time you're hanging out with someone (that used to happen to me all the time with an old friend so I know how much it sucks) and I think you should address this with her. Like I said before, don't sound accusatory or like you're trying to fight with her. Just let her know that you often feel ignored by her and would like to really spend time together in the way that you used to.

Maybe you could also introduce her to some of your own friends. When your cousin started school she probably felt a lot of pressure to fit in with her peers and was more focused on finding friends than finding the right friends. The way she's acting might be due to the group of friends she is spending time with, and if she had people to hang out with who share similar interests she might not feel such a need to fit in and could start returning to her old self. This could very well be a phase that she's going through and the more social interaction she has and the more people she meets she might become more like herself again. But there's also the chance that she's simply changed. Starting high school is a major change in life and it can affect a lot of different things about you. Nobody stays the same person forever, and you might end up needing to accept that your cousin isn't going to be the person she used to be. But even if that's the case, it doesn't mean that they two of you can't still get along and have a friendship together.

I hope this helped a little and that things end up improving between you and your cousin. Good luck


   
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Re: Breaking Apart? - March 11th 2014, 11:29 PM

Your friend sounds like a completely normal teenager to me. It seems like there are various parts to the problem you're facing here, so I'm going to try to break them down and address each one.

It sounds like you're feeling hurt that your cousin has changed. However, this is completely normal. Many teenagers change during adolescence, they go through phases or become a different person. There's nothing wrong with that. I know people who have remained practically the same people, and I know people who went through a lot of experimenting to figure out what they like. Just as your choice to have straight A's and be more responsible is valid and normal, so is your cousin's choice to change. This may seem sudden to you, but it's normal, and probably even more normal to someone who has gotten more of an opportunity to learn about different things and points of view than she previously had.

Sometimes people change. It may affect your friendship, and it can be sad if it does, but it's a fact of life: my friendships have changed a lot from when I was 14! Sometimes those friends don't end, and simply change depending on your age, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. One of my best friends is someone I've known since I was 13 or 14 and our friendship has changed just as we have, but we still remain very good friends.

If your cousin has been ignoring you or spending her sleepovers texting, that's obviously unpleasant to you and you're right. While that type of thing is normal, because she may be making new friends and may want more of a chance to explore those new friendships, it could help to point it out to her. Try to understand her side, and explain that you understand that she may be excited about her new friends and are willing to listen to her talk about them, but that you also wish that you can chat with each other about all sorts of topics like you used to do when you're hanging out.

You say that your cousin has been moody and depressed. Some moodiness is also very common for teenagers, a lot of people experience that and it's not necessarily worrying. I recommend that you do some research on depression and what it really is. If your cousin really is suffering from depression, then it's a good idea to talk to her. Don't accuse her and don't be rude or mean, even if you can't quite understand it. Instead, do your research and make sure she knows that you're available if she ever needs to talk or if she needs any help for any issues she may be going through. Making sure she knows you're available for that can encourage her to seek out your help if she's feeling unwell.

As to ditching class, that's not necessarily worrying. Of course, ditching class isn't a good idea, but a lot of people ditch class once or twice and it may just be part of her trying to figure out how high school works. If it's happening very often and has been affecting her academic performance, then I recommend that you talk to her about it. Again, don't accuse her and don't sound like you're her mother, but simply explain to her how this can end up being a problem. Even if she doesn't have particularly high goals right now that would require great grades, or even if she doesn't care now, this is something she may come to regret, because if she has decent grades then she will have more options available for her than she would otherwise, if she changes her mind. I know that when I was 14 I didn't really need great grades for what I wanted to do, but as I grew older I became glad that I had good grades because that meant that I could have more to choose from when I was more sure of my decision.

As to her clothes, I'm sorry to say this, but you're wrong on that one. There's nothing wrong with dressing the way she does. She may grow out it. She may not. Either way, what matters is that SHE feels comfortable and happy with her style. It doesn't make her a worse person. I dyed my hair, I had wild earrings, etc. and I got straight A's, I went on to attend a really good university, and so on. That's pretty judgemental of you. Also, the way she dresses doesn't mean she's disrespecting herself, it's just what she likes and that's fine.


   
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