DEAR AMY: I am a sophomore in high school. I recently reconnected with a friend I was very close to last year.
Over the summer our friendship sort of fell apart.
This year, he has found a new group of friends, and our brief talk the other day was the most contact we had in months (he mostly ignores me when I say hi).
He has gotten into partying. He shows up high to school almost every day, and I don't really want to know what else he's doing. He is also on academic probation and has gotten more detentions than I can count.
His parents don't really care about any of this, and he won't listen to me, or any of his old friends. I think the administration has done what they can, but he's not listening to his counselor either.
Our friendship is beyond salvaging, but I'd still like to do something to help him. I'd be grateful for any thoughts you have on this.
DEAR CONCERNED: If your parents know your friend and his parents, they might have some ideas. You should ask them.
You are correct that your friendship may be beyond salvaging, but I give you so much credit for wanting to try to revive or forge a relationship with your friend, as long as you realize you alone can't fix his problems or change his behavior.
It might open the door a little bit to say, "Sometimes I worry about what's going on. It seems like you've changed a lot. I hope you feel like you can talk about stuff if you want to."
Ask him if he wants to do something with you, but remain friendly if he says no.
DEAR AMY: What is the appropriate way to call people out on their inconsiderate behavior?
Today I was in the "eight items or less" line at the supermarket (with my two items), and the woman in front of me had 13 items. I can understand having one or two extra things, but five?
The checker said nothing. Would it be acceptable to politely ask if I can go ahead of her, since I am an express shopper and she is not?
What about people talking on cell phones in areas that have posted no-cell policies? Is it OK to tell them to take it outside?
I'm getting tired of grinning and bearing it. Is there an acceptable way of speaking up?
— Something of a Stickler
DEAR STICKLER: It is always acceptable to speak up when other people are breaking the rules in a way that negatively affects you, as long as you are polite.
However, trying to be more tolerant at times is a good way to exercise your own internal compass, as you ask yourself if you can truly let something go without having it ruin your day.
When I think of the people I know who always intervene when they see something they don't like, they don't seem particularly satisfied. They're like supermarket Serpicos — on the prowl for scofflaws.
Recently at the movies I worked up the nerve to ask the guy in front of me to please stop texting (the theater asks people not to during the film) — the bright light from his screen was shining directly into my eyes. He apologized and stopped, and I felt I'd struck one small blow for civilization.
DEAR AMY: "Frustrated at Work" was trying to deal with an office mate she said was "emotionally unstable." Frustrated mentioned that the co-worker was taking antidepressants.
As one of the millions of people suffering from depression, I'm disappointed that you didn't take this opportunity to call out her apparent bias.
Though the co-worker may not be an ideal office mate, the fact that she is on antidepressants should not be listed as a justification for not wanting to be around her or as a sign of her general inadequacy.
Living with depression is challenging enough without the added fear of being ostracized.
— A Reader
DEAR READER: I didn't challenge or mention the co-worker's antidepressants in my answer because I think it's possible that people being treated for depression are capable of being as annoying as anyone else. I agree with you that having depression shouldn't create a bias — and yet often it does. Thank you for the correction.
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