DEAR AMY: I’m in high school. I have a group of 10 friends who are so close that we often joke about being family. We are generally a very happy group, but ever since the school year started, a guy, “Steve,” has been dating “Catherine.” It has recently come out that Steve is manipulative and abusive with Catherine. On multiple occasions she has tried to break up with him, but he has threatened suicide. Since these arguments between them often happen in the middle of the night, she has often woken us all up to beg for help, only to then tell us that things calmed down. We have learned that Steve is bipolar and on medication, but it seems to be having no effect. Amy, I’m only 16. I worry for Catherine’s safety and everyone else’s, but she won’t break up with him because Steve threatens suicide. Recently, he had a meltdown in which he slammed his head against the ground and walls, screamed and cried and begged Catherine to change her mind. This was because she had picked a partner for a group project other than him. He seems extremely jealous of her friends. They have very long and vicious fights over small things and it is beginning to affect the rest of us. What should I do? I can’t back off because they are in many of my classes, and talking to either of them has no effect.
Worried in Oregon
DEAR WORRIED: This is frightening, and it is important that you (and other friends) do something concrete — right now. I want you to skip your next class and go to your school’s counselor and/or dean of students. Tell that person everything you have reported in your letter.
Teenage intimate partner violence is too common. A 2013 survey noted that 10 percent of high school students reported physical victimization and 10 percent reported sexual victimization from a dating partner in the 12 months before they were surveyed. Teens who experience abuse in high school are at risk for risky relationships later. A 2011 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention nationwide survey found that 23 percent of females and 14 percent of males who ever experienced rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner, first experienced some form of partner violence between 11 and 17 years of age.
You must contact an adult to intervene. You and your friends are simply too young to stop this, but you should raise the alarm — with your school counselor, your parents and hers.
For further support 24/7, text the Crisis Help Line at 741-741. Write this text number on your forearm — and your friend’s.
DEAR AMY: I have two friends (sisters) who are perpetually late. I hosted a very small Memorial Day barbecue, consisting of just them, their significant others, and another couple, and asked that everyone arrive at 4 p.m. A couple of hours before the event, the sisters alerted me that they would be two hours late. Since both the other couple and myself have children, I decided that this would cause us to push dinner back too late, so I told them that if they couldn’t come on time we could reschedule for another time. They are both now very angry, and considered themselves uninvited to my home. In a way they were, but isn’t being two hours late to something very rude? I feel like I handled it well, and don’t feel a need to apologize, but they aren’t speaking to me. What should I do?
DEAR CURIOUS: I agree that being two hours late is more than extreme lateness — it is like accepting tickets to the ballet and arriving at the curtain call. While barbecues do often have a more open-ended dining window, this is excessive. You might have responded by telling them to come ahead and that you would save some food for them, but this pair of sisters should have thrown themselves at your mercy, instead of blaming you for offering to host them another time.
DEAR AMY: Leave politics out of your column. Like half of this country, you don’t know what you are talking about. Your response to “Uneasy,” who didn’t want a visit from a swastika-sporting Trump supporter was idiotic.
DEAR DISGUSTED: My intention in suggesting that “Uneasy” should attempt to be tolerant was that he/she might actually be able to engage in a respectful exchange. The rude tone of your response to this Q&A is exactly what I am trying to combat.