Devil’s Advocate

Dear Devil’s Advocate,

My best friend and I go to different schools, but we try to hang out as much as possible. My problem is this: every time we go out, she constantly brings up her relationship with her boyfriend. I personally don’t like him that much, but I haven’t had any real issue with
him until now. I’ve noticed a change in her behavior (her views and opinions are not what they used to be) and frankly, I can’t stand her at this point. How do I bring this up without being insensitive or offensive?

-Concerned Friend

Dear Concerned,

Um, are you not watching The Hills on MTV? Lauren feels your pain! Heidi has become so lame since she’s fallen in love with Spencer (who is not only a complete try-hard loser, but a dirtbag to boot!). But seriously. I think the real question needs to be directed at you. Why did you let this go so long that you “can’t stand” your own best friend? You need to recognize that the intensity of your feelings has resulted from not speaking up sooner, before things got to this boiling point for you. But now that you’re there, it sounds like you need to talk to her. Before you address the problem, consider how important (or unimportant) the issues are. Is it just that your friend has traded in
Pepsi for Coke? …the Yankees for the Mets?…Nirvana for Gwen Stefani? (Actually, that would be a good reason to question the friendship). Or is she undergoing serious changes in values? Is she overdoing it with drugs or alcohol, or giving in to sexual or social pressures? Obviously, if she’s changing the big stuff, you’re right to be concerned. If smaller tastes or habits are changing, you should let it go.

For now, I’d recommend starting a conversation about something you both used to agree on-music, religion, politics-but that she now has changed her mind about. Tell her-nicely-that you notice her views have changed, and ask why. Hopefully the two
of you can have an open conversation about the shifts that have gone on. You can tell her you think her boyfriend has too much influence, but keep in mind she’s not likely to enjoy hearing that kind of criticism. Finally, remember that she might not be the only one
who has changed. It could be that the dynamic of your friendship isn’t going to be the same now that you attend different schools and live in different social environments. I’m not saying your friendship is ending, but it might be taking on a different shape. Try to
be flexible.

Dear Devil’s Advocate,

The past year has been the worst in my life by far. I broke up with my girlfriend for over a year, lost a friendship with my best friend of 17 years, and all my friends are dorming on campus, whereas I commute to St. John’s. My problem is that I literally don’t have any
friends that I hang out with anymore and all the efforts I have put into finding new friends have failed mainly because the people I want to hang out with dorm and I
have to make a commute that is too much for them or me. Overall, my problem is just finding people to hang out with. Any advice?

-Lone Ranger

Dear Ranger,

Wow, that does suck. But have no fear-life doesn’t have to continue sucking! The friend you lost probably had a big impact on your life, as he or she was apart of it for 17 years. Whatever it was that ended your friendship had to be pretty serious to cut ties completely, but I would make a final attempt to reconcile. After all, a friendship that has lasted the
span of both your lives may be worth saving. It’s great that you have friends who live on campus, but it does become a burden if you commute. Try scheduling hang out sessions with them before or after classes, and perhaps alternate where you’ll be spending time together, i.e. one week going to your place, and the next staying on campus. I strongly suggest getting involved in other school activities on campus so you’ll meet other great commuters as well. We do tend to make friends in the most random places and moments, but clubs, campus organizations, teams, and school publications are the best way to be surrounded by students you share something in common with.

Get involved and get socializing!