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Advice: What to do when your best friends fight

Advice: What to do when your best friends fight

Dear Auntie, I have a problem with two of my friends, Tania and Shireen (not their real names). Tania and Shireen had a fight over something and I was stuck in the middle. Tania thinks Shireen is selfish and told her so to her face. Now they are not talking to each other. I am still talking to both of them and I still want to be friends with both.

Last week I went to Shireen’s house and we had fun. I told Tania later that I went to Shireen’s house and she didn’t say anything. But after that she completely changed her attitude towards me. She didn’t reply to my text and then started ignoring me in school.

I don’t understand what I have done wrong and why she is so angry. She was the one who fought with Tania, not me. Why should I stop meeting Tania?

What should I do Auntie?

Torn between Besties

Dear Friend,

You are right to think that you should not stop meeting Tania. Shireen fought with her, not you. Expecting you to stop meeting another friend is very unreasonable. You can continue to be friends with whoever you want. That is totally your prerogative.  

At the same time if you don’t want to lose Shireen as a friend, get in touch with her and ask her how she is doing. You can text or call her.

That will be your way of reaching out to her and letting her know that you care for her. If she responds, that’s good for you. If she doesn’t, then the ball is in her court. She can get in touch with you whenever she wants. There isn’t much else that you can do.

Dear Auntie,

My family is having a very difficult time. My daughter is 12 years old. She failed her final exams last year and we sent her to another school because her old school wanted her to repeat one year. I couldn’t believe that she had failed. She used to be a good student, but last year she made some bad friends who brought her grades down.

Now she is in class VIII in another school and is doing okay. Her new school is very strict and she is also going for tuitions. I don’t allow her to meet her old friends at all. The problem is that some of her old friends, relatives and neighbours keep asking me why I changed her school and I don’t want to tell them that she failed. I tell them that the other school is better in terms of studies. But some people continue to ask me why I sent her there.

She is working hard and I don’t want to talk about this to other people as this is how people start rumours. Please help!

Embarrassed    Dear Mother,

The reasons behind changing schools and wanting to keep them under wraps is really your and the family’s business. You are not obliged to tell anyone why you moved your daughter to another school. You can come up with a standard answer which is polite and to-the-point. Just say things such as “The new school is better for Aleena and we feel she is performing better there.” End of story.

If they continue to ask questions and probe you should politely nip it in the bud. You can say, “Thanks so much for your concern. She is happier in her new school and so are we.” Do not divulge any more information than you want to. They don’t need it and you don’t need to give it.

At the same time, you might find that keeping a secret can really begin to weigh you down. Lying or fudging the truth is not fun. Auntie finds it causes a sinking feeling and makes one paranoid. It also leaves you feeling that everyone is focusing on the big bad secret (usually not true).  If you do feel the need to talk to someone about this, you will find that there are a lot of parents out there whose children have been struggling in schools and even failing.

Failure is a given in life. In fact all great people who have accomplished anything worthwhile have usually stumbled along the way, failing at various points in their lives, before they made their fantastic contributions to the world.

Even though failure is part and parcel of everyone’s life, some cultures advocate keeping up appearances and encourage people to lead inauthentic lives. Usually no one — not friends, nor family — will talk about their child failing. They only talk about when their children aced their exams and got into the right colleges, because that is what makes waves.

If you find people who you feel you can open up to, I highly encourage you to do so. Often you will realise that such people are genuinely concerned and compassionate about your problem and can be supportive too.

Auntie will not reply privately to any query. Please send concise queries to: [email protected]

Published in Dawn, Sunday Magazine, October 30th, 2016

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