Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.
DEAR AMY: I’m currently a junior in high school and would greatly appreciate advice on how to successfully terminate an unhealthy relationship. I met a girl in varsity soccer and we hit it off pretty well. We began to have lunch together (as friends) and exchanged phone numbers. Fast forward a few months and things turned sour. She was trying to push me out of the group of friends that I invited her into and harassed me through any means possible. I have blocked her on all my accounts but not before I was ejected quite forcefully from the group. I have told her that I didn’t want to be friends any longer (as childish as it sounds) and she has resorted to harassment on campus. Other students have joined in, telling me I was wrong to sever the friendship and that I was a “soulless person” for ignoring the “innocent friend.” Please provide me with suggestions.
DEAR HARASSED: If you have already tried to avoid and ignore this person and things don’t settle down — or certainly if these comments escalate or bleed over into a social media campaign — you should take the whole episode to your coach, the school’s dean of students and/or the school counselor so they are made aware of it and can take appropriate action. Having the two of you sit down together for a mediated discussion might help, certainly in terms of educating her about unacceptable behavior. Talking about this, describing it and being honest about the impact on you should help you move forward.
The details you supply are not very specific, and so I’m also wondering about your definition of harassment. Your former friend persuading other students to side with her is obnoxious and wrong — but is it harassment? Other students expressing their opinion on some action you may have taken (for instance blaming you for “ignoring” this former friend after you cut off the friendship) might not sink to the level of harassment, unless they do this repeatedly, purposely intimidate you or seek you out in order to criticize you. I caution you not to see yourself as a victim — but to see her as an obnoxious person who is not worthy of your friendship.
DEAR AMY: I recently ran into a famous local sports figure at my gym. I didn’t want to bother him but much to my surprise he approached me. Turns out he knew me from my profession. He asked if I wanted to go out for coffee and we exchanged numbers. A few days later we had coffee and I thought it was pretty cool that he considered us friends. Then everything changed. He told me he was interested in taking out a woman we ran into. She is my ex-girlfriend and we’ve remained good friends. He asked me a couple of times if I wouldn’t mind if he asked her out. I reluctantly said no. I made plans with him, and then after talking to my ex I found out that he ditched our plans to go out with her. The next day he called me and asked if I could help him move some furniture. I barely know the guy, next thing he will be asking me to drive him to the airport. Two friends of mine warned me not to trust this guy. What’s the deal — am I being too rash or should I dump the guy as a friend?
— Feeling Foolish
DEAR FOOLISH: The good news here is that you won’t have to dump the guy as a friend because he is not a friend. He’s an opportunist who just keeps asking you for stuff. I suspect that when you turn down his generous offer to let you move furniture for him, you’ll likely never hear from him again.
DEAR AMY: “A Grieving Daughter’s” mother hid her cancer diagnosis from everyone. Her mother might not have done this on purpose. Sometimes people don’t process that diagnosis. My mother was told she had lung cancer. When it was mentioned several weeks later she asked what we were talking about because she did not have cancer. If Grieving’s mother was elderly she might not have understood. I hope Grieving doesn’t let this ruin her memories of her mother.
— Been There
DEAR BEEN THERE: “Grieving Daughter” felt robbed of the opportunity to process her mother’s illness and death. Like you, I hope Daughter is able to recover her fonder memories.