SHE "PLAYS POLITICS" WITH ME AND I CAN'T STAND HER

A new girl joined our class this year. I don't know what it is about her but everybody likes her. Even my friends are always with her. She "plays politics" with me and I can't stand her, because of her my friends have left me alone. How can I get my friends back and tell them that she isn't a nice person?

Looks like the new girl in your class is making you feel quite insecure and you 'can't stand her'. This new girl is quite popular, and everyone is attracted to her, including your friends. Seems like you feel helpless that you can do nothing about it.

It is not that a person is a nice person' or 'not a nice person'. You think that she is not nice, but your friends think she is. So, reflect on what makes you say that she 'isn't a nice person'? Note down any evidence that you ) have for each reason. Have you interacted with her enough to get to know these things? What does she do when she "plays politics" with you? Have others also =noticed the same things? If not, your friends will see that you feel jealous.

Instead of focusing on putting her down, focus on what makes you feel insecure and develop yourself in those areas. If you want your friends back, pay attention to your relationship with them and the fun you can have together. Your friends will not be happy around you if your attention is on her in a negative way.

How about going a step further and making friends with the new girl? Discover whether you find her truly nice or not. Perhaps it is not about competing with her, but all of you finding things in common and being friends. Might be more fun...

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I DON'T HAVE FEELINGS FOR HIM

My best friend of the past five years has a crush on me. I am not interested in him this way and I don't have feelings for him. My priorities are my studies and family. I don't know what to do. I don't want to break my friendship with him.

You are dismayed to learn that your best friend has a crush on you for you are worried that this could mean the end of your friendship.

So, if you haven't already done so, ask for time with your friend and speak frankly with him. Gently but firmly state that you don't reciprocate his feelings. Ask him what he would like to do. He may want to remain friends but want time off from the friendship to work through his feelings. Or he may want to end the friendship. Either way, respect his choice. And if you feel you want to end the friendship, then discuss that with your friend. He would need to respect your decision too.

Unfortunately, with his feelings for you and your relationship has already changed, and even if you don't want to break the friendship, you need to be prepared that it may happen. This will depend on the choices you both make.

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I AM OFTEN SHORT-TEMPERED WITH OTHERS

I'm a 15-year-old boy. My problem is that I get aggressive and often short-tempered with others. I even show my anger in front of my parents. I can't share my problems with anyone; my best friends don't listen to me and one of them is not talking to me. I'm unable to concentrate on my studies due to this. Please help me out.

Looks like you're feeling helpless at being unable to do anything about your anger and its consequences.

First, understand your anger: Find the real feeling underneath the anger. E.g., if you can't share your problems with anyone; if your best friends don't listen to you; when a friend doesn't talk to you...how do each of these make you feel? You get angry when you yourself don't know what you are really feeling. When you're angry, you may end up taking your anger out on  someone/something else, making things worse. You can look up the 'Anger Iceberg' worksheet online and use it to understand your anger. Observe and list the warning signs that you're showing. For example, do you tend to tremble? Does your mind go blank? Do you breathe heavily? Note these down

Manage your anger: Use the S.T.O.P. technique. When you know you're getting angry, first Stop doing anything and just wait. Then Think about what is making you angry and label the feeling, e.g. I feel.... Then think about the Options you have to calm yourself instead of showing your anger. Maybe you could go for a walk, listen to calming music, breathe slowly... Finally, Proceed to do what you need to do next, e.g. you can go ahead and express your feelings.

You can ask yourself: How can I express myself in a way that will truly express my need instead of simply reacting to the person in front of me. Over time, you will learn to find what really bothers you and manage it well.

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I CAN'T FACE PEOPLE CONFIDENTLY

I'm 17-years-old, but I can't face people confidently. I feel as if they don't like me from the way they treat me. I'm easily swayed by my negative thoughts which make me feel bad all day long. Please help!

Looks like you feel hurt and mistreated by people who don't seem to dislike you, and your negative thoughts don't help the lack of confidence you feel.

More than others liking you, it is essential to like yourself first. So, start by asking yourself, 'Is it really true that people don't like me?' Whether 'yes' or 'no', ask 'What proof do I have for this?' All the ways they treat you can be included here. Then ask: How do I feel when they treat me like this?

Next ask, 'How would I like people to treat me?' What steps can I take to make this happen? How difficult or easy are each of these steps. This should also help you to learn about yourself as a person. Are you shy? Hesitant to reach out to others? Do you think you're not good enough or undeserving?

The first step to make it happen is to love, accept and like yourself the way you are now. Self-aceeptance is the best starting point to change and build your confidence.

Develop your confidence by developing your personality. Discover your own talents by trying out different hobbies and by contributing to someone's life. Volunteer to teach younger kids or join a youth group to do social work. If you are less self-conscious about yourself, you'll be more confident. Remember, respect yourself, and others will treat you respectfully.

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MY PARENTS QUARREL OFTEN AND IT BOTHERS ME IMMENSELY.

My parents quarrel often and it bothers me immensely. When I try to intervene, it only gets worse. Neither of them is ready to understand.

Since you mentioned it gets worse, I suggest you do not intervene during the argument. When things have calmed down, speak to both of them and tell them how you are getting affected and disturbed by their quarrels. In the right space, I am sure they will be able to understand you and your situation better.

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