Teens Having “Best Friend” Trouble

A Note From the L.A. Teen Therapist

Does your best friend have a friend that you don’t get along with? Often, when someone is best friends with more than one person, their other friends may get competitive for their attention. – Sandra

“My best friend Anna, I like A LOT. But another friend Hannah, who is Anna’s best friend, I don’t really trust, because she has lied to me or just plain ignored me. I am thinking about avoiding Anna because of Hannah, but I don’t want to hurt Anna. What can I do?!?”

It sounds like it hasn’t been pleasant for you to spend time with Anna when Hannah is also around. Given that she has ignored you and has even lied to you, I can appreciate that you don’t feel like you can trust her. In situations like these, you always have options. You can, as you suggested, not be Anna’s best friend anymore. But as you said, you don’t want to hurt her, and she isn’t the one you are having problems with. So, perhaps there are other options you may want to consider.

Sometimes, it is less intense when you add more people into the group. Whereas with only 3, if Hannah is talking to Anna, you may be left with no one to talk to. With even one other person present, the equation becomes more balanced. A second option is to invite Anna to spend time alone with you. At school, this may not be as easy to do, but after school and on weekends, she may be willing to set aside time to be with you.

Although perhaps not your first choice, another option is to find a way to get closer to Hannah. If you are both competing for Anna’s attention, you may not have even given your friendship a chance to grow. If you could figure out a way to make Hannah a friend of yours, this could solve your problem. If you are enjoying Anna now, and are not ready to give up your friendship, then you need to find a creative way to work with the choices she is making about other friends in her life. Perhaps you might want to add a new friend to your life…

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