“Help: My friend’s popularity is making me feel insecure”

Dear Sarah,

I’m feeling a lot of anger toward one of my closest friends and I don’t know where to go with it. We’re both juniors in high school but we’ve been friends since kindergarten. She’s one of those girls who has had a series of boyfriends since the seventh grade, gets all the “pretty girl” roles in the school plays, and a ton of attention for being so cute, stylish, an amazing vocalist, etc. It’s always about her newest boyfriend, like, she rarely does anything with me one on one, and if she’s not with him, she’s talking about him incessantly. Sometimes being around her doesn’t feel good.

Meanwhile, I haven’t had a boyfriend yet. I have lots of guy friends, but I developed kind of late. I’m really tall, and not comfortable acting sexy/flirty. I guess I’ve been stuck in the funny, safe bestie role with boys. I honestly feel like I’m a big goofy giant, and she’s this lovely petite doll. She can sometimes be really awesome and there for me, but other times she’s ego tripping and self absorbed.

It makes me feel bad about myself and I feel dumb that it even matters—what do I do??

Self-Esteem Issues in Athens, GA

Dear Self-Esteem,

I know it’s weird and difficult when your best friend seems like she’s in a totally different space than you. But the thing you shouldn’t do is put yourself down because of it. I know this is hard now—I really, really do—but in a couple of years you’ll be in college and experiencing a completely different (awesome) reality, as you will be once you graduate and start working. And on and on for decades!

You are truly at the beginning of your life’s journey. You have so many experiences to look forward to. Grown up success isn’t pre-determined by your spot in the high school food chain! Moreover, comparing yourself to your friend isn’t healthy for either of you.

Try to focus on what you want to be achieving right now—not what she’s up to. If you’ve had it with hearing about her BFs, its OK to take a break and make plans with other friends. But you can also love and enjoy her for the good stuff she gives you and try your best to filter out the rest—as challenging as that might be sometimes. Most of all, you just keep doing you.

Love, Sarah

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