Asking for a Friend: Help! How do I deal with fake friends without causing drama?

  • This week we answer questions about getting stuck in a rut and pals you don't totally trust
  • If you have difficult, embarrassing or awkward questions to ask about teen life, send them in anonymously, and 'Friend of a Friend’ will do their best to help 
Amalissa Hall |

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If you're not sure if your friends are genuine, you don't have to tell them secrets or spend time with them.

Hi Friend,
I’ve stopped believing in the phrase “no pain, no gain”. I have been working so hard in all my IB subjects and I seldom procrastinate. But it seems like my hard work doesn’t pay off. 

Psychologist Carol Dweck talks about the idea of a “growth mindset” where you can nurture your intelligence, but I’m of the opinion now that nature determines everything, as no matter how hard I work, I don’t see any improvement. 

What should I do?
Going Nowhere

Hi Going,
Sorry to hear that you’re stuck in a rut. I can imagine most students feel the same way at some point. When you study, are you actually applying the information you have learned to your assignments? If you are just copying theory, you won’t get far.

IB teaches you to think critically and apply theory practically, so you have to do more than just memorise what’s on the page to get high marks.

Are you going over your marked assignments afterwards? Speak to your teachers and ask specifically what is wrong. Ask friends how they got higher marks. Go over your previous work and figure out why you didn’t get good marks. 

Help! How do I handle friends who won't social distance?

Try to change the way you are working if you are not getting the results you want. You might just need to shake up your routine!

Since you’ve mentioned Carol Dweck’s “growth mindset”, which is about continuing to develop intelligence through experiences, you should be aware that the opposite is having a “fixed mindset”, which is believing that your intelligence stops at a certain level. You believe that your intelligence is determined by nature, but that is what is holding you back.

Every experience you encounter is adding to your intelligence, including your failures. It’s what you choose to do about overcoming those failures and facing future challenges that will change your outcome. Growth mindset individuals don’t mind or fear failure too much because they understand they can improve from their failures. 

Help! My friend is jealous I'm friends with her boyfriend

Just because you got a bad grade now, it doesn’t mean you can’t get a good one next time! Don’t punish yourself. Take a breath, let it go, and don’t put so much pressure on yourself. Aim to keep trying. 

“No pain, no gain” is not instant. It could take years to get to where you want to be, but don’t let that stop you from trying.

Right now you are too focused on the final results. Shift your thinking to learning for your own enjoyment, rather than learning to score 45 points. 

It’s not too late to adjust the way you are studying, and improve from your mistakes. Successful people are those who have failed many more times than you!

You can do it.

Hope you find a solution, Friend of a Friend

Don't focus too much on results - try to read and learn for your own enjoyment.

Hi Friend,
I thought my friendships were genuine, but now I’m starting to doubt if my friends are actually as nice as they appear to be. 

I don’t want to cause drama, but at the same time, I’m not getting much out of these relationships any more. 

How do I deal with these fake friends?

Reality Check

How do I let my friend know I have a crush on them?

Hi Reality, 
This is a great question. If you don’t want to cause drama, you can still be nice on the surface, talk about light subjects and continue to interact, but hold them at arm’s length. You can be polite and friendly, but you don’t have to treat them like they’re your absolute closest friends. 

If you’re worried about them not being genuine, play it safe and keep your secrets to yourself. This will prevent you from getting hurt if they decide to show their true colours one day.

Spend time with other people if you can! You don’t need to limit your friendships to just this group of people. School is all about learning who you like interacting with, so take the time to get to know other people at your school, or even other schools. You’ll be exposed to lots of people who share your values, so be patient, because you’ll find your tribe eventually.

If you really feel like you’re not enjoying your time with these people, then you don’t have to be friends with them. 

You don’t have to announce that you’re “breaking up” with the group, but slowly distance yourself from them and gradually spend more time with people whose company you enjoy! Some friends are short term, and others are forever.

Good luck, 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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