Dear Toni I've got two problems. First, my birthday is coming up and I don't think my friends will be able to celebrate with me because they're all busy with exams. Second, I have a friend who is harming herself. She had her heart broken and she does it to deal with the grief. I've told her it's not worth doing , but now she hates me. How can I fix this? Double Trouble Dear Two-fold The first problem is easy to deal with. Move your party to a time which suits your friends. Why not use it to celebrate your birthday and the end of exams? The second problem is more difficult. However shocking and strange it may seem to you, self-harm is a fairly common problem. It doesn't mean the person doing it is weak or crazy. Your friend, for whatever reason, is overwhelmed by pain, and she needs help. Often when people are like this, though, they find it especially difficult to ask for help. They feel a sense of ease when they cut or otherwise hurt themselves, but the relief only lasts for a short while. Afterwards they feel ashamed and guilty on top of the original pain. Luckily, they don't mean to hurt themselves badly - but that is not to say it can't happen. The problem with this kind of reaction is that it can quickly turn into compulsive behaviour over which the cutter has no control. Your telling your friend 'it's not worth it' is likely to make her feel more alone and unable to cope. If you want to repair your friendship, you will have to offer her a sincere apology. While her actions might not feel 'worth it' to you, it's obviously the best way she's found of dealing with her pain. Some people stop self-harming all on their own, others need professional help. What you can do is to get her out and about, maybe go for walks with her, or play sport. The exercise will naturally make her feel better, and knowing that she has your support will be a big help to her. It's also important you ask her to talk to an adult - and perhaps offer to find one she can trust and open up to. Try your school counsellors, or www.resourcecounselling.org speak up! Do you need an answer to a problem and don't know who to turn to? Growing up can be hard, but Toni and Josh are here to help. Whether it's about school stress or jealous friends, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and they'll lend a sympathetic ear.