×
Meg's Blog

ADVICE

So, I'm on my way to Naperville, IL, where I have a book signing tomorrow. Then I'm off to Vancouver, BC, which, for those of you who don't know, is in CANADA. Yeah, a whole other COUNTRY. The country were DEGRASSI is filmed. Yay!

I am extremely jet set these days.

Actually, I'm not the only jet-setter I know. My friend Michele (aka Dr. Jaffe) who often posts on this blog as a special advice guest, is currently en route to VENICE, and will not be available for this month's advice column. I'm bumming about this, because you guys are writing in for more advice THAN EVER, and I don't exactly feel qualified to give it.

But because I can't just let you guys flounder around without any advice at all, I thought I'd give it a try. Please forgive me if my answers aren't as good as Michele's, but as you know, she was a peer counselor and has a PhD and stuff, and I got a D in Intro to Social Work.

But I know if I steer anyone the wrong way, all of you will write in to let me know, so I think I'm safe.

**************************************************************************
DEAR MEG,

I HAVE NO BEST FRIEND. I MEAN, I HAVE PEOPLE THAT I I.M. AND SIT WITH AT LUNCH, BUT NOT A BEST FRIEND, LIKE ALL THE GIRLS IN YOUR BOOKS. WHAT CAN I DO TO MAKE A BEST FRIEND?
**************************************************************************
I hear this a lot, this whole “best friend” thing. Everybody thinks they need to have a “best” friend. Sometimes girls write to me and tell me that their best friend is angry at them because they went to the movies with another girl or whatever, and now they don't want to be best friends anymore.

Frankly, I'm not sure “best” friends like that are really friends at all. Plus, the word “best” implies that this is the person you like more than anyone else you know, and that's sort of mean to your other friends. I've never liked that.

I know a lot of you have “best” friends, and maybe your best friend is great. I'm just saying that to ME, I never understood the whole “label” thing, making one friend better than another. My friends were always ALL just my friends, and I liked them all EQUALLY, appreciating each one for her own particular quirks.

I think it's a lot of pressure to be anyone's “best” anything. I mean, no one can be EVERYTHING to one person.

Personally, I think it's better to have a lot of different friends than one “best” friend. For instance, I have different friends whom I call with different problems, because each friend has her own field of expertise. Like if I'm worried about my cat, I call my cat-lover friend. If I'm upset about TV, I call my TV-loving friend. I have one friend I see action movies like HELLBOY with; another friend with whom I go to book signings; and a third friend with whom I go shopping; and so on.

None of these friends get mad when they hear I went out with the other friend. And I don't get mad when I hear they all went somewhere without me. I have lots of different friends with whom I like to do lots of things, but no ONE friend with whom I do ALL things—not even my husband.

All I'm saying is that I think you need to get over the expectation that there is someone out there who is EXACTLY like you with whom you can do EVERYTHING, because there is NO ONE exactly like you, and you know what? That's OK.

Because wouldn't it be boring to hang out with yourself all the time? People's differences are what make them interesting, in MY opinion.

So stop considering those people you I.M. and eat lunch with as “just people you I.M. and eat lunch with” and start considering them friends. Because that's what they are! Now call one of them and ask them to go see HELLBOY with you and stop sweating the “best friend” label thing and just be friends!

**************************************************************************
Dear Meg,
Hi! I need advice on something. For some reason, I'm easily frustrated and spaz at my friends all the time. What should I do?

Mean Margaret
**************************************************************************
Whoa! Did I write this? No, wait, that wasn't me. But it COULD have been me, at certain points of my life—like yesterday.

Everyone goes through difficult times where they behave in a reprehensible manner towards the ones they love, ESPECIALLY during those wild hormone fluctuations that make adolescence so much fun (not). You're probably stressing about something else totally unrelated to what's happening with your friends, and you just snap. Been there.

And even though I'm quite far from my teen years at this point, I still do this when I have PMS. The reason my friends stay friends with me is because after I do it, I totally APOLOGIZE and EXPLAIN. I say, “I'm sorry I spazzed, it's not you, it's PMS,” or whatever.

And my friends understand, because hey, it happens to them, too.

Of course, if the spazzy thing is REALLY a problem, and damaging your relationships, you might want to tell a doctor. Because you could have a chemical imbalance or something that needs to be corrected medically.

The difficult thing if you DON'T have a chemical imbalance, and spazzing is just part of your personality (as it is mine) is that you don't want to freak out too much too often on your friends, because then you become “high-maintenance” or a “drama queen,” and after a while, people will just get tired of the ups and downs, and drop you. Seriously. Tantrums like that can be emotionally draining and upsetting, and after a point, people just can't take them anymore.

So you've got to TRY to control yourself. I hear yoga helps—or any kind of working out. Cutting down the caffeine, too. Vitamin B helps a little for me. People take it for stress, and it seems to work sometimes.

Don't worry. It gets easier with practice. The best way to stop freaking out on your friends is to take a deep breath and try THINKING about what you say before you say it. Then…don't say it.

Really. Try it. It works.

Then just spaz in your diary or online blog like a normal person.

**************************************************************************
Please give me advice! I have a little brother. When he picks fights, and I retaliate, I get in trouble because I am the older one and should be responsibul about it, and now Im only allowed to watch 30 minutes of tv a day, and Im dying, and I got mad at my mom, and shes all go to your room, and now Im here writing this, But I cant stand my mom or brother, and I have no I dea what to do, and my head hurts, and I am so confused. PLEASE HELP!
**************************************************************************

I so know how you feel. I had TWO little brothers, and they used to put BUGS in my bed. And who would be the one to get in trouble? Me, for smacking them.

I know how hard it is to be the oldest. It seems like the younger kids get all the attention, AND they probably get to do stuff YOU didn't get to do when you were their age, because your parents know now that if you lived through it, probably they will, too. It's not fair.

I could go all Brady Bunch on you now and be like, “But it's hard being the youngest child too because blah blah, and it's hard being the middle child too because of blah.” But I'm not going to. I'm just going to say that I feel your pain.

But really, you too must follow the advice I gave to Mean Margaret above, and try to control yourself. Think about what you're saying and doing before you sa
y or do it, and DO NOT hit him, because you're bigger than he is–although take it from me, one day, he will be bigger than you, and you do NOT want to take him on then. One of my “little brothers” grew up to be a 6 foot eight inch police officer. Yes, there was a time when I could render him immobile merely by sitting on him. That time is no more.

Instead, take your rage out in a kick-boxing class, or on the soccer field, or in your diary. One day you will be able to write a book or screenplay about your horrible sibling, and then you will have your revenge.

But you know what? By the time you're old enough, you probably won't want to. Because your brother will be the only person on earth with whom you can dish the dirt about how crazy your parents are getting as they get older—the only person on the planet who'll actually understand and agree with you. And that's a very comforting feeling.

In the meantime, do whatever you have to do to get your TV privileges reinstated, even if it means acting in a totally fake, almost repulsively cheerful and obliging manner towards your little brother—like you've been taken over by aliens or something. Because what's more important: your TV show, or proving you're right and he's wrong?

Right. TV. Always.

Good luck to you.

*************************************************************************
My best friend is turning into one of those stuck-up people who insults everyone and spreads rumors and everyone hates them. Last year, she used to be Miss Everyone's friend, and everyone liked her and she never insulted anyone or anything. About four weeks ago, she suddenly changed. She started hanging out with someone else and totally ignoring me. Then, she started acting really different. And it's not just me, either. All my friend's have said that she changed. She excludes everyone except for two people from what she does, and I'm not one of the two lucky people. Do you have any clue what happened to my friend and how I can get her to act normal again? The confronting her thing won't work because she'll just say that she hasn't been acting weird and she won't change. I don't want to ditch her, either because then I'd have to ditch all my other friends too and I don't want to do that.
**************************************************************************

Whoa. This is a tough one. For someone to make such a one-eighty almost suggests drug-use.

But before you go staging an intervention, keep in mind it could also just as easily be plain old adolescence. The reason being a teen is so fun—and so NOT fun at the same time—is because this is when people are finding out who they are, experimenting with different personalities (and hairstyles), and deciding who they want to be. It's entirely possible that your friend has simply decided she wants to be a back-stabbing meanie.

Still, you can't let her go without a fight. It's probably a lost cause, but you have to TRY. I understand why you say you can't confront her, but I never recommend “confronting” anyone. This is such a reactionary word. Can't you get her alone and “gently question” her? Ask her why she's been acting this way (I always “document” activities for conversations like this—such as, I'd write down the times she said she'd go to the movies with me, then ditched me, with exact dates and times, so that when “gently questioned,” she can't deny it happened). See what she says. She might surprise you, and may not even be aware that she's dissed you.

Or maybe it's something YOU did—you never know. Maybe she heard a rumor you were talking behind her back. Or maybe she thinks YOU have new friends and have been dissing HER. You'll never know until you ask.

I've said it here before, and I'll say it again: part of growing up is sometimes growing apart, as you and your friends find new interests and activities. Sometimes, you can't hold an old friend back…you have to let her go, if that's what she wants to do. Sometimes she'll come back. Sometimes she won't. The only thing you can do is just be yourself, and find new friends for whom that's enough.

Don't worry. They're out there.

*************************************************************************
My parents really do not approve me of being a singer when I grow up.I'm 14 this year. And I aspire to be a singer. I cry whenever they say they want me to be a lawyer or doctor.I just get so irritated when I hear this. Nobody even encourages me to join singing competitions and stuff. Do you think I should still pursue my dream?
**************************************************************************

I do agree that parents should be supportive of their children's dreams…up to a point. I don't think there's anything wrong with you dreaming of being a singer, or with being in a choir and/or taking voice lessons. These are extracurricular activities that will look good on a college application. What parent could possibly object to that?

But unless your mom is Mrs. Aguilera or Mrs. Spears, she is not going to encourage you to do something PROFESSIONALLY that has so little job security. Personally, I'm not sure I think Mrs. Aguilera or Mrs. Spears did their daughters any favors, allowing them to pursue singing careers at such a young age.

And your parents, unlike Mrs. Aguilera or Mrs. Spears, aren't going to put their lives on hold in order to drive you around to Mickey Mouse Club auditions and singing competitions. Sadly, those were not the kind of parents you were dealt. You are going to have to deal with the parents you were given, who sound like parents who love you very much, and are worried about your well-being.

That's why they want to see you train to do something that will start earning you a reasonable amount of money RIGHT AWAY, not somewhere down the road.
Singers, when they are first starting out, do not earn a steady paycheck. Not even Christina. Not even Britney. It takes a long, long time in any career in the arts—be it singing, dancing, painting, or writing—to start earning enough money to live on…if ever.

Still, I NEVER believe anyone should just give up on a dream. There is no reason why, if you love singing as much as you claim to, that you can't pursue a career in that AS WELL AS a back-up career. That way, both you and your parents will be happy. It's called a double major. Yeah, it's a lot of work. But if you love something as much as you claim to, it should be worth it.

So get started on your first stepping stone to achieving that dream: making your parents understand that, while you do want to be a singer, you are also prepared to do the responsible thing, and go to medical school as well. Hey, if you do end up landing a big recording contract, you can ALWAYS drop out.

Now I need some advice from you. Please reply to the following. The best response will be posted on my next blog:
************************************************************************
Dear Readers,

My neighbors say my new house is HAUNTED! Should I believe them? And if so, what should I do about it?

Meg

PS Selling the house is not an option, and I don't personally know any mediators.
**************************************************************************

This concludes the advice portion of this blog. I hope you've enjoyed my advice. I hope I see some of you at my Naperville and Vancouver signings this weekend! And in the meantime, keep those requests for advice coming!

More later.

Much love,

Meg

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons