I often times don't agree with my friends, and sometimes I feel like they are using me.  What should I do?


We’re sorry you feel this way!  As we all know, friendships have their ups and downs, and this is definitely one of those downs.

First of all, we’ll look at the issue of disagreement.  One of the more obvious answers to this problem is to agree to disagree.  This might seem easy to some, but for others it takes a while to fully manage to let disagreements go.  Another thing to do is to politely tell them what your view on the topic is and why.  Don’t forget to let your friends do the same.  You might even learn something from them.  Again, it’s okay to agree to disagree.  No two friends agree on absolutely everything!

Secondly, let’s talk about how you feel that your friends are using you. You’re definitely not the only one with this problem.  Mebediel has also gone through a period of time when she felt this way about her friends.  “I can safely tell you that one of the worst things you can do is let yourself bottle it up!” she says, “That’s what I did until I got so frustrated and angry that I yelled at one of my girl friends about how I ‘always’ was the ‘second choice’ for ‘everyone’.  Looking back, there are many things I could have done to help solve this problem.”
  1. Open up.  Talk to your friends at a time when you are feeling calm and politely tell them how you feel.  As hard as this sounds, you will feel a lot better after they know about your concerns, allowing you to smooth out the situation with them.  It’s pretty much the opposite of what Mebediel did, and it will help you not to lash out at them in anger.  Not only that, but your friends will be able to be more careful in how they treat your friendship, possibly bringing you closer than before.
  2. Be bold.  Learn to stand up for yourself.  If you know how to be firm in your opinions (without being obstinate, of course!) then no one will be able to use you, whether intentionally or not.  However, if your friends want you to do them a favor do it with gladness and don’t grumble.
  3. Broaden your horizons.  Make new friends, although you should still be friends with your old ones.  It would be a good idea to make friends with people who can support you.  This includes adults—Mebediel found a lot of adult friends (especially her parents, amazingly) during her ‘down’ time.  But don’t abandon your old friends!  They probably have seen you through a lot of hard times, too, and you should never give up on them.
  4. Attitude check.  Although your situation might be a little different from Mebediel’s, this one was a biggie for her!  “While the girls I hung out with may not have been the very best of friends to me, looking back I know that I definitely exaggerated the problem in my own mind,” she reflected.  Calm yourself down by going for a walk, reading a book, or doing something else that soothes you.  Once you are calm enough, think about the good and kind things your friends did for you.  Be honest with yourself: are your friends really using you, or are you aggravating the situation the way Mebediel did?  Like we mentioned before, whenever your friends ask a favor of you, do it with joy and gladness and don’t get upset.  Attitude affects us a lot.
  5. Forgive.  This just might be the most difficult step of all of the ones listed above, but it’s also the one that applies to all situations.  Learn to forgive your friends for whatever they are doing.  Make sure that you are holding absolutely no grudges against them for treating you this way.  No human being can do this alone, though, so get some support from someone you know well and trust.  Confide in this person about how you feel and have them check up on you to make sure you don’t hold anything against your friends.  Keep in mind that this is very difficult (but necessary!) and that precious few people learn how to do this to completion.
It’s a long process, but, with help and support from others you know, it’s possible to reconcile with your friends, just like Mebediel. “Now, three years after my conflict with my friends, I am happy to say that I am very close friends with these same people I thought were using me,” she said.  Have faith that you will make it through this tough time and know that you aren’t alone!

Your Opperators,

Aly and Mebediel