SmileyTeen11 asks: Dear Shirelle, I have a boyfriend and he’s really nice, but one of my friends hates him (she used to date him, and they broke up) and she wants me to dump him. I love her like a sister and don’t want to break our friendship, but I love him with all my heart and have never liked a boy like this! Also, he’s 14 years old and I’m only 12. Is it bad that I’m dating him? I feel such a spark whenever I’m around him! What do I do?):
Oh SmileyTeen11, what a mess this is! It’s certainly a common one. Lots of people refuse to ever date anyone who their friends have dated, just to avoid this issue.
But in a way, it comes down to a very simple fact. You have a great friend. But that means that she has a great friend too. And just because you’re dating a guy she hates, that doesn’t mean she’s lost her friend. You do want to keep her in your life. So the real responsibility, it seems to me, is on her to deal with it.
You’re very young. Most likely you’ll have lots of boyfriends, and lots of breakups, in the next 10-20 years. So will she. Now if a person insists that, every time they break up with someone, all their friends have to avoid that person, their life is going to get really difficult! So this is a great opportunity for your friend to begin to learn to set up realistic boundaries for herself.
For example, maybe she hates this guy so much that she can’t be around him. Well, can she ask you to never have him around when you and she are together? Or maybe she just can’t stand the fact that you’re dating a guy she dislikes. Well, I certainly understand that, but the odds are that later she’ll have friends who marry people she doesn’t particularly adore, and that’s just something she’ll have to live with. After all, do you or she really love every one of your family members, and the people in their lives? But you tolerate them when your family gets together, right?!
There’s also one other issue here. Maybe your friend hates this guy because he treated her badly. And maybe she imagines he’ll treat you the same way. Well, if he doesn’t, maybe that’ll prove to her that she did a good job of teaching him how to treat a girl right, and what not to do. But if he does prove to be just as much of a jerk to you as she thinks… oh then it will make your friendship all that much better!
I remember one night when I was with Handsome and one of his very best friends, a woman named Gorgeous. And Handsome was very unhappy because a girlfriend he was deeply in love with had just broken up with him. And Gorgeous said something amazing to him. “I’m sorry to see you in such pain, but I have to admit, I’m really she ended it. I couldn’t stand to see her hurt you over and over again.”
You see, Gorgeous could see how badly Handsome was being treated by this woman, when he was too in love to see it. But after this, he began to see what she had seen. And today, he and Gorgeous are still great friends, while that other lady is long gone.
So what I’m really saying here, SmileyTeen11, is that your job is to hold on to both – your friend and your boyfriend – and see what happens. If he’s as great as you think, she’ll probably come to see him that way too over time. And if he’s not, you’ll still have her. All you have to do for now is to make clear to her how important she is to you, and how you never ever ever want to lose her friendship.
Hmmmm… you know, that reminds me of another situation of Handsome’s. Long before I was born, he had a girlfriend who his best friend didn’t like. And the best friend dropped him as a pal, because of her. This hurt Handsome a lot. And sure enough, after a few years, he and the girl broke up, and he later became friends again with that guy. But guess what – some years later, that guy dropped him as a friend again. This time it seemed that that guy just thought he was too much better than Handsome to keep him in his life. And now Handsome is friends again with that long-ago girlfriend, but not with that guy. In other words, I’m suggesting that a friend who would leave you because of who you’re dating, probably will leave you for another reason anyway.
So talk with her and see what happens. You sound like a pretty terrific person, so my guess is she’ll stick by you. Even if she thinks your boyfriend belongs in a litterbox!
(Oh and with that other question of yours, do I think there’s anything wrong with a 12-year-old dating a 14-year-old? Not at all… as long as he treats you like a 12-year-old! In other words, don’t let him talk you into doing anything that doesn’t feel very appropriate for your age!!!)