Advice Column: You Asked It

Where your anonymous questions are answered by our very own columnist, Bri Woodroffe.

Q: One of my friends liked another friend, and something happened between them that made them pretty much hate each other. We’re all in the same friend group and I don’t know what to do. I want to be able to hang out with everyone, but I’m afraid to put them in the same room. Any advice?
Bri: Ahhhhh, the dreaded ‘caught-between-frenemies‘ dilemma. This situation can be very tricky to maneuver so I feel your pain. Unfortunately, in most cases, dueling friends tend to drag others into their melodrama, causing everyone around them to have to choose sides. Or even worse, you might find yourself being on the receiving end of glares and shunning because they’re mad that you’re hanging out with the person that they now hate.  As torn and uncomfortable as you might feel, you didn’t do anything wrong. Neither friend has the right to make you choose sides or treat you with anything but respect and decency.  A couple of things come to mind; you mentioned that you were in a friend group, so I would probably start off by talking to some of the other people in the group. Maybe having an open discussion amongst yourselves without the frenemies present will help you guys brainstorm how to best handle the situation. If that doesn’t work, I have always found the direct and honest approach to work wonders. I would talk to each friend in private and be brutally honest about how uncomfortable the situation is making you feel. Let them know that you value their friendship and that if they value you as a friend then they won’t give you attitude about hanging out with the other person, and they won’t make you choose sides. I would also let them know that just because they are no longer friends, the group shouldn’t have to suffer or exclude either of them from group activities in order to avoid a big blow-up. Most people our age think that speaking honestly about their feelings and letting people know that they are vulnerable and are able to be hurt by the actions of others is a sign of weakness, but if done tactfully, it can be a powerful tool for healing and problem-solving. Best of luck! 
Q: I’m pretty sure that I’m bisexual. How do I accept myself and convince others to accept me?
Bri: First of all, congratulations on being honest with yourself about your sexuality, and kudos to you for having the courage to reach out for advice! There are far too many people dealing with the issue of their sexual identity by themselves. The good news is that we are living in a time where ‘acceptance’ of alternative lifestyles is at an all-time high, and there are more resources than ever available to help people cope. The bad news is that there are still some individuals who frown upon anything ‘outside the box’, and revealing this information too soon can be disastrous, especially if you haven’t completely accepted yourself. With that being said, your question tells me that you’ve got the right idea in mind. FIRST, you have to accept yourself.  Acceptance of ‘self’ is an amazing thing! The confidence you gain from accepting yourself and loving yourself just as you are will usually help you realize that there is no need to convince others to accept you. You will begin to draw people to you who don’t need convincing. They will love and accept you as is. And anyone in your current circle who doesn’t accept you, well, their loss. It may hurt if a certain friend or family member doesn’t accept you but you will be so comfortable in your own skin and with your decision that their opinions won’t make you compromise who you are. You will find the strength and courage to love them from a distance, on your terms, where they aren’t tearing you down and making you feel like you’re bad or that something is wrong with you. Soooo, the first step to self-acceptance you ask? I would start off by blocking out any negativity that could affect how you view yourself as a person. Then you should put yourself around positive people who make you feel content. You could also acknowledge any strengths you have and make a list of them. This can allow you to change any bad conceptualizations that you or others may have on you. There are also many support groups that you can reach out to that consist of people who are going through the same thing as you. Regardless of what avenue you take, doing it with the help and support from others is the first step to success on your journey.  Best of luck!!
Q: I want to be on Broadway or at least do something with music and acting, but I’m afraid that I’m not good enough. What can I do to either get better or find something else?

Bri: Being on Broadway is a really great goal to have! However, saying that you’re not good enough for it isn’t a good mindset to have. You can do anything your heart desires as long as you work hard and put your mind to it. As someone who has been playing an instrument for about seven years, one thing that I highly recommend doing--and that I know will help--is practice. Now maybe you don’t have time to practice singing a song or looking over a script every day. But you should at least go over anything that you’re working on whenever you have time. Even if it’s only for five to ten minutes, practice. Every minute counts. Another way that you could get better is to get voice or acting lessons to expand the knowledge and talent that you already have. And if you end up figuring out that music and acting aren't your thing, then I would suggest going out and trying something new. This would include joining a club at school, playing a sport, signing up for things such as cooking or painting classes (etc.) around town. There are many different activities and hobbies that exist and that you are bound to be great at. Whatever it is that you decide on doing, I wish you the best of luck, and I have tons of faith in you!

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