SPICE Advice: November Nuisances

Advice columnists give their best takes on this month’s dilemmas, submitted anonymously by Friends School students.
SPICE Advice: November Nuisances

Question: “I don’t have a cellphone, but everyone in my social circle (and grade almost) does. Almost every day during lunch, I see all of my friends take out their phones and get each other’s contact info, or show each other videos and laugh. Whenever they do this, I feel like I don’t belong, or that we aren’t really friends if I can’t talk to them over text. Even one of my best friends has a little flip phone. What do you think I should do about this?”

Answer:  Not having a phone can feel very isolating in our chronically online culture. I think the best thing you can do is to be honest with your friends. Let them know that you feel left out during lunch and suggest making lunch a phone-free time. Lunch should be about face-to-face interactions with your friends anyway! As for other times, you could try using platforms like Google Meet or Google Chat to communicate. But remember that friendship was invented thousands of years before cellphones. Ultimately, if someone’s your friend, they’ll love and appreciate you whether you have a phone or not. 


Q: “If you’re flying through the desert and your boat gets a flat tire, what should you have in your pockets?”

A: You’re so silly.


Q: “There was someone in my grade who wasn’t nice to me last year (actually they were very mean) and, after I told them that I wanted to put everything that happened last year behind me, they seemed to think that that meant that I wanted to be BFFs and forget about everything, but I don’t want to (especially because they keep being annoying and microaggresion-y). Sometimes they will join clubs that I’m in just to talk to me (and I don’t reciprocate, which causes them to leave the club) and seek me out in places like the Dining Hall or our grade hall. What do you think I should do?”

A: As hard as it may be, the best thing to do in this situation is talk to them. From how you’ve described the situation, this sounds like the best option. You could talk to them in person or online. I know a lot of people say that dealing with things in person is more genuine, but it can also be a lot harder to hold your ground that way. You could try writing about your situation in a journal or something similar before talking to them so that you can organize your thoughts. In a situation like this, you have to be confident in what you are saying, otherwise the other person will find it easier to sway your opinion. Make sure that what you are telling them is clear. Set clear boundaries and give clear examples of what they have done, so that they understand what they are doing and how they can fix their behavior. Also, lean on good friends for support.


Q: “I need some fashion advice. If I’m wearing a lanyard, can I also wear a necklace or is it too much?  “

A: I’d recommend not wearing it with a statement necklace, but you can wear a small dainty necklace with the lanyard so that it doesn’t look overwhelming. If you want to wear a more eye-catching necklace, the lanyard can be a cute accessory in other places, like hanging out of your pocket, looped through belt loops, or around your wrist. 


Q: “how can i gently ask someone to stop telling me a longwinded story that i never exactly asked to hear in the first place? thanks, advice columnists!”

A: With an issue like this, you want to deal with it sooner rather than later, so the person does not get the impression that you are supporting this behavior. Simply telling them that you are busy with homework or a meeting with a teacher is a nice way to ease out of the conversation. You could also shift the blame onto yourself; say that you have a short attention span or can’t focus on the story, and ask for a shortened version. If you are close with this person, you can jokingly say “get to the point,” or something similar. This won’t work with everyone, but when used correctly it can be funny and hopefully feel like you are laughing with them, not at them. Try to assess the situation and do what seems best. Hopefully with repetition, they will get the message.


Q: “How to balance homework and sports?”

A: This is a challenge we all face at one time or another. It can be tough to adjust to a sports season that leaves you with less time for homework and relaxation. I’ve found that the key to balance is planning. Each week, look ahead at your schedule for the week. Take note of when you have away games and big school things like tests, projects, or essays. If you know you have an away game on Wednesday and a math test on Thursday, don’t wait until late Wednesday night to start studying. Instead, use the time you have during the school day (L blocks, M blocks, Extra Help, etc.) to get a head start on your work. Don’t forget to use all the wonderful resources available to you, like the private study rooms in the Learning Center and the peer-tutoring centers. As always, make sure you’re managing your stress and taking time to relax so you don’t get overwhelmed. Most students have gone through this, so feel free to ask around for more tips!


Q: “The girl I have a crush on is straight! What do I do??”

A: I’m sorry you are going through this — it’s a tough situation to be in. But you can’t change someone’s feelings. Letting go of your romantic hopes for her is the best thing to do for yourself. 


Q: “telling people what they want to hear. being the person people want me to be. trying to do right by everyone. its all i know how to do.”

A: All of these things are good in moderation, but it sounds like you’re struggling with people-pleasing and a loss of identity. Being kind and supportive is great, but there’s a way to do that without losing yourself. Telling people what they want to hear is an easy habit to form, but having your own unique voice is important. It sounds like you’re aware of this, which is great. To break this habit, think before you speak. Ask yourself, “Is this what I really think or am I just trying to please someone else?” and choose to be genuine as often as you can. The more you practice this, the more it’ll become a habit. A good antidote to being the person people want you to be is to figure out what type of person you want to be. High school is a great time to search for your passions, your values, and people who support you. Trying to do right by everyone is a noble goal, but don’t be too hard on yourself about it. Remember, that “everyone” includes you! Give yourself the same grace and kindness that you give others.


Q: “How do I deal with mean people?”

A: You can’t change mean people, but you can change how you react to them. Meanness feeds off of reactions, so sometimes it’s best not to engage with the person. But it’s also important to stand up for yourself when appropriate. In the end, realize that cruelty often stems from insecurity. If you focus on building up confidence in yourself, soon you’ll feel sorry for mean people instead of hurt by them. 


Q: “How do I get someone who I really really really really really really really like out of my mind so I can focus on other things like school and friendships?”

A: If you don’t want to think about this person, you have to let them go. And to let go of them you have to let go of the idea that you will be together. Try to stop thinking over your interactions and looking for signs that they feel the same. When you find yourself thinking about them, notice it and think of something else. If this is really hard for you, try spending 10 minutes a day writing out all your feelings about this person. That way, when they do come into your head, you can remind yourself you have time to think about them later. Try to stop seeing them through rose-tinted glasses — they are human, and they are going to have faults. Seeing them in a more realistic light can help you stop thinking about them. Plan fun things to do with yourself and your friends. Know that you may never fully lose all feelings for this person, and that’s ok. But it doesn’t mean they have to consume your thoughts.


Q: “how do i resist the urge to submit heavy questions to the advice column. feels like its what i need advice on atm but i doubt thats what you guys want to answer, whoever you are”

A: It depends upon the “heaviness” of your questions. Think about the kind of advice you need. Is it something better suited to a conversation with a trusted adult or professional counselor, or is it something that can be answered by a few high school students? If it is the former, talk to the school counselors. They’re a great resource! And if you think it is something we can give advice on, feel free to submit it!

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