Help a sister out

Got a friend in need? Here's what to do when your BFF is beyond blue.






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Publication: Girls' Life
Author: Abbondanza, Katie
Date published: February 1, 2011

Is your usually sunny giri suddenly stormy? Having a bummed-out bud can be, well, a bummer. Not only do you miss your QT together, you're also way worried about your girl. Here's how to deal when your bud's got the blues- plus exactly when and how to speak up.

LISTEN UP

Whether your BFF just had a bad day (she failed her Spanish quiz or got benched at her basketball game) or is dealing with something bigger, ya gotta be all ears. It's tempting to make the prob seem small with a quick, "Totally NBD!," but psychotherapist and author of It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D., warns against that approach. "It just sounds like you don't understand," she explains. So listen up and let your girl get everything off her chest.

SUMMON THAT SYMPATHY

Instead of sliding into cheerleader mode when you two are discussing her sitch, reply with sympathetic phrases. "Im sorry that happened to you,' 'You don't deserve that,' and 'That sucks' are all good responses that'll show your friend you understand," Tessina shares. But beware of saying, "I totally know what you're going through" if you, urn, don't. It's normal to want to relate, but telling her, "I know how you feel" when her parents are splitting up - and your home life is happy - isn't going to help.

TAKE ACTION

Come up with a way to help your chica cope with this tough time. If she had her heart set on softball but got cut from the team, suggest that you two come up with a list of other activities she might like - and then try them out together (hey, you always wanted to give rock climbing a go, right?). If her issues are more serious (like depression, bullying or cutting), suggest she confide in a school counselor, parent or trusted teacher. "If your friend is upset or angry with her own parents, don't suggest talking to them - let a responsible, earing adult assess the situation first," says Tessina. Offer to tag along with her if she's too nervous to go it alone. It might take some convincing, but some probs are just too big for your bud to handle by herself.

SEND THOSE HEARTS

Other ways to lift your bud outta her blues? Send a card, stay in on a Saturday "V night to watch flicks or whip up her fave cookies to show she's in your thoughts. Being sensitive to her situation is essential, too. If she got dumped, resist the urge to gush every time your BF sends you an adorable text. Don't hide things from her, but if she's failing French class, hearing about your glowing grades can sting. Being your sweet, thoughtful self is the right route to follow.

SAY SOMETHING

If your girl is way down and refuses to talk to anyone, it's tiirie to chat with an adult on her behalf She may plead with you not to, but if she's hurting herself, talks about hurting others or mentions suicide, let a trusted adult know what's up. It's gonna take a ton of courage, but it's crucial to get grown-ups in the picture. Tessina reminds us, "Don't worry if your friend said not to tell - that's just the time when telling may save a life."

BFF DILEMMA

OMG, my BFF really wants to date my ex. Should I be with OK with this?

"If tie's my ex, that means we were not right for each other. She's my BFF- I'd want her to be happy. If she thinks your ex is the one for her, you should simply support her like a good friend."

-Tylee A, 10

"Calmly tell your BFF how you feel. Just let her know that you'd be hurt if she dated him because you once had feelings for him. A true friend will understand."

- Emily 0., 14

"You might feel a pinch of jealousy, but keep in mind you broke up for a reason. As hard as It sounds, don't give her the cold shoulder and risk losing your friendship. Boys may come and go, but your girls are true for life."

-Katelyn S., 13

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