Originally created 12/04/01

Advice line

THIS WEEK'S PROBLEM My friend and my cousin used to go out. They recently broke up. They always fuss and fight, and I'm always in the middle, trying to work things out. Now my friend thinks I take up for my cousin too much - even if she's wrong. What should I do to keep things OK between my cousin and my friend? - 16-year-old, Edgefield, S.C.

Here's what you had to say:

The best thing you can do is stay out of it and let them do what they have to do.

If I were you, I'd tell your friend to leave and stop being so jealous. I'd stick up for my cousin more.

I think that you should tell your friend and your cousin that you do not want to be in the middle of their conflicts and that unless they respect that you will not associate with either of them.

I think you should just leave them both alone and just let them fight by themselves. If it gets physical, you need to tell your parents.

Tell your friend that family comes before friends.

I think you should tell your cousin and your friend to stay away from each other as much as possible. But if they do try to make you choose, blood is always thicker than water. Friends come and go.

If you just let them argue and work out their differences, you don't have to get in the middle of it. Intervene when they're getting way out of hand and start bringing you into it again.

Xtreme reporter Alisa DeMao says: The best thing you can do to avoid taking sides is to stay out of their business - and make it clear to both of them that you're not going to let them drag you into it.

It's their responsibility to make things OK between themselves, not yours. You just need to make sure that things are OK between you and each of them. That might mean letting both of them know that you're not going to discuss the problems they have with each other - and it might mean telling them that you're not going to listen to either of them put the other one down.

Tell your friend that you're willing to listen to his problems if he needs help working things out for himself but that you're not willing to listen to him put your cousin down just to make himself feel better. Both of them should have enough respect for you to not put you in the middle when they're not even your problems.

If you do talk to your friend about their problems, be fair and thoughtful in your responses - recognize that he may really be hurt and he might have some legitimate complaints about what happened between them. And so might your cousin. But if either wants to talk to you about those problems, make it clear you want the conversation to be productive, not just bashing.

NEXT WEEK'S PROBLEM, My parents are divorced, and my dad's a real jerk. He hardly ever sees me, and he wants me to go with him for Christmas. My mom encouraged me to go but isn't going to force me to go if I don't want to. So I'm wondering if I should go with him.

Do you have any advice for this 13-year-old Augusta girl? Call the Advice Line at 442-4444 and press 8614. You'll have one minute to answer.

Got a problem? Call 442-4444 and press 8613. You'll have one minute to give us your situation. Please speak clearly and state your age and the town you live in.

You can also send an e-mail on your problems to ademao@augustachronicle.com. Put "Advice Line" in the subject line. All e-mail addresses will be kept confidential. Questions may be condensed for space.


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