Asking for a Friend: Help! Am I cheating on my girlfriend if I comment on other girls’ Instagram posts?

  • Do you have difficult, embarrassing or awkward questions to ask? Submit them anonymously and ‘Friend of a Friend’ will do their best to help you out
  • This week we talk about group projects, social media and relationships and more
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Is it cheating to like your female friends' Instagram posts when you have a girlfriend? Friend of a friend weighs in.

This column is here to answer all your difficult or embarrassing questions about being a teenager. If you’ve ever wanted to know how to overcome particular situations at home, school, in your social lives or even in the animal kingdom, our “Friend of a Friend” is an expert to help provide answers for you!

Hi Friend of a Friend,

I was really keen to be the group leader for my general studies group project at school. Unfortunately my teacher didn’t choose me, but instead chose one of my best friends, who then invited me to join the group. However, I feel that my friend is not doing her job very well. She’s not very organised; we had a deadline for submitting the outline for the project, but she didn’t do anything for it, despite me reminding her several times. I even drafted an outline for her approval but she rejected it.

I’ve tried to talk to her about this several times, but she doesn’t seem to want to listen to me. Should I report her to the teacher and take this opportunity to volunteer as leader? How can I help my friend be a better leader whilst showing team spirit, but also demonstrate my own leadership qualities for the future?

Thank you, Second in Command

Hi Number Two, Group projects can be challenging, especially as you have to depend on others to complete work. These situations tend to bring out the best or the worst in people, and often affect friendship dynamics if there is any tension.

I understand your frustration about your friend, and I know that your want her to do a better job, but is that because you want her to improve as a leader or are you projecting your own style of leadership onto her? I don’t think you should report her to your teacher in the hopes of your own promotion to leader. That doesn’t demonstrate team spirit, and it will definitely cause a rift in your friendship.

I know you’ve spoken to her individually, but as you are in a group, you should have a team meeting and discuss any issues you have. That doesn’t mean attacking her leadership. Talking openly about some of the problems you feel are occurring, suggesting solutions to improve your teamwork, and acknowledging deadlines will help you succeed as a group.

If you’re concerned about her organisational skills – or lack of them – maybe it’s that she feels overwhelmed by the amount of work she thinks she needs to do. Show your support as a team member by offering to take on responsibilities, and discuss dividing up the work appropriately. Make sure that you agree on what needs to be done and that you have clear individual roles.

You say you wrote an outline for the project, but did you do that because you were asked to or because you took the initiative and did the work for her so the team would meet the deadline? She may have taken offence at that, which is why she didn’t accept it, and perhaps feels like her efforts are being undermined.

I’m sorry that you didn’t get chosen as the group leader, but this is a good opportunity to learn other aspects of leadership than “being the boss”. Lead by example: let your friend know that this project is important to you and the group, and that you are happy to help, but that she also needs to put in the effort to make it work. Your friend also needs to learn about her own leadership style, so cut her some slack and let her figure things out, too!

If issues continue to arise, I would suggest talking with your teacher together as a group. Explain that you are having teamwork issues, then your teacher can act as a mediator and help you work through them with an unbiased opinion. I wish you luck on your project.

Friend of a Friend

Help! How do I stop procrastinating?

Hi Friend of a Friend,

I’ve been with my girlfriend for a few months now. I have a lot of friends that are girls and who I’ve known for a while, before I started dating my girlfriend. I want to know: is it cheating if I continue to comment on their Instagram photos and privately text them? Thanks, Confused Commenter

Hi Confused, Unless you have ulterior motives for texting them or the comments you leave on their photos are flirtatious, then no, it is not cheating. It’s pretty normal to engage with friends online, both male and female, and talking to someone of the opposite sex does not equate to cheating.

However, since I don’t have all the context, I’d ask you to consider a few things that may affect how you handle this:

  • Is this new behaviour? If you’ve been friends with these girls for a while and this is how you’ve always communicated, you’re not doing anything wrong. But if this is a recent development, you should definitely think about how these comments could affect your girlfriend. Communication is key: ask her how she feels!
  • What is the context of the photos you comment on? What comes up in your private conversations? Are you commenting on bikini pics or photos of their lunch? Same goes with text messages. Are they a daily catch-up of what you did at school, or more private matters that you wouldn’t want your girlfriend to know about? The general rule of thumb is if you can show your girlfriend these things comfortably, then you’re alright.
  • Do you comment on your girlfriend’s posts and text her like you do your friends? If you don’t, then your girlfriend may feel you value your friends more than you value her. As your relationship is quite new, your girlfriend likely wants to feel acknowledged by you; the most visible way to do that is, publicly, via social media posts and, privately, by texting her first.
  • Does your girlfriend know these girls or have a relationship with them? If she knows them and is friends with them, then I’m sure she is fine with the comments. But if she doesn’t, she may feel jealous of these girls who she doesn’t know anything about. It may even feel like you’re trying to exclude her from those friendships. It would be nice to introduce her so she feels less worried about the nature of your friendships.

I think it would be best to talk to your girlfriend about how she feels. You’ll be able to come to a conclusion that works best for your relationship! Hope things work out.

Friend of a Friend

Help! Can I date my BFF’s ex?

Hi Friend of a Friend,

Something that’s been weighing on me is that I really miss my friends from school. I video call different friends throughout the week, but we haven’t been together in a big group for months now. My parents also won’t let me leave the house. How can I motivate everyone to do a fun activity together, despite our busy school schedules?

Longing for a Laugh

Hi Longing, It’s nice to hear that you’re still keeping in touch with everyone, but I totally get that you want to organise a group gathering. It’s tough that your parents won’t allow you to leave home, but unfortunately they are looking for your and their health. However that doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time online!

I would suggest hosting a tea party or dinner party via video chat, where you and your friends meet online and chat like you would in person, and enjoy some food together. Make an event, set a dress code, and have some fun! You could also do a dance party, movie night (if you don’t have a good enough WiFi to screen share a film, you can watch the same thing at the same time) or a quiz night, depending on your interests.

Another idea is a book club – if you don’t have time to read a book, you can break it up into chapters and follow up with detailed discussion, or maybe find a compelling article or gather some celebrity news on social media platforms and chat about that.

What’s important is that you regularly connect for some quality group time! Set the dates on your calendar online and plan the video chat in advance so everyone can get excited. Happy chatting!

Friend of a Friend

If you have a question you’d like answered (about anything at all), please send an email to [email protected] with “Asking for a Friend” in the subject line. Don’t worry, you will remain anonymous!

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