drawing of two boys in a classroom

Art by Carolyn Ridsdale

CCSS

R.1, R.2, R.6, R.8, R.9, W.1, SL.1

What should you do when a friend is being mean?

Art by Carolyn Ridsdale

Ty says: My best friend, Jake, has been going through a tough time lately. His parents got divorced. I’m sure he’s been feeling horrible, but he’s also been really mean to me. He snaps at me, and sometimes I ask him things and he doesn’t even answer. Should I say something? Or should I give him a break?

Ty says: My best friend, Jake, has been going through a tough time lately. His parents got divorced. I’m sure he feels horrible, but he’s also been really mean to me. He snaps at me, and sometimes I ask him things and he doesn’t answer. Should I say something? Or should I give him a break?

Ty says: My best friend, Jake, has been going through a tough time lately. His parents got divorced, and I’m sure he’s feeling horrible—but he’s also been really mean to me. He snaps at me, and sometimes I ask him things and he doesn’t even answer. Should I say something, or should I give him a break?

Art by Carolyn Ridsdale

Hannah says: Give him a break. 

    I’m sure it isn’t fun hanging around with Jake right now. But it’s probably not fun for him either. Think about how he might be feeling when he’s being mean.

    I’m guessing Jake is feeling a lot of things—hurt, angry, confused—and trying to figure out how to deal with it all. And while he doesn’t mean to, he may be taking some of those feelings out on you. 

    Telling him that he’s being a jerk might make him feel worse about himself. I’m sure he’ll return to his old self eventually. For now, it’s best to be there for him—no matter how he’s acting. I bet he’ll appreciate his best friend sticking with him through this hard time.

Hannah says: Give him a break. 

    I’m sure it isn’t fun hanging out with Jake right now. But it’s probably not fun for him either. Think about how he might be feeling when he’s being mean.

    I’ll bet Jake is feeling a lot of things—hurt, angry, and confused. And while he doesn’t mean to, he may be taking some of those feelings out on you.

    Telling him that he’s being a jerk might make him feel worse. I’m sure he’ll return to his old self in a while. For now, it’s best to be there for him—no matter how he’s acting. I bet he’ll appreciate your sticking with him through this hard time.

Hannah says: Give him a break. 

    I understand that you aren’t enjoying Jake’s company right now, but he probably isn’t having much fun either. Try to imagine how he’s feeling when he’s being mean.

    Jake is probably feeling a lot of things—hurt, angry, confused—and struggling to figure out how to deal with it all. And although he doesn’t intend to, he may be taking some of those emotions out on you.

    Telling him he’s being a jerk might make him feel worse about himself. I’m sure he’ll return to his old self eventually—but in the meantime, it’s important to be there for him no matter how he’s acting. He’ll appreciate his best friend being patient with him through this difficult time.

Art by Carolyn Ridsdale

Jonathan says: Let him know. 

    I totally get that Jake’s going through a lot and that stinks. But it doesn’t seem fair that you have to deal with it too. After all, you care about him, right? By being honest with him, I think you’re just doing what a best friend should do. 

    If Jake is being mean to you, chances are he’s acting the same way with other people too . . . and he might not even realize it. If he keeps acting this way, he may start to push away the people who care about him the most, like his best friend. By letting him know how he’s acting, you’re really just looking out for him.

    When you speak up, you don’t have to say “You’re being a jerk.” You can say something like “You don’t seem like yourself lately. Can I help?” That way, he knows that you’re picking up on his behavior—and you’re being a good friend.

Jonathan says: Let him know. 

    I know Jake is going through a lot. But it doesn’t seem fair that you have to deal with it too. If you care about him, be honest. That’s what a best friend should do.

    If Jake is being mean to you, chances are he’s being mean to other people too . . . and he might not even know it. If he keeps acting this way, he may start to push away the people who care about him the most. By letting him know how he’s acting, you’re just looking out for him.

    When you speak up, you don’t have to say “You’re being a jerk.” You can say something like “You don’t seem like yourself lately. Can I help?” That way, he won’t feel bad. He’ll know you’ve noticed how he’s acting—and that you’re being a good friend.

Jonathan says: Let him know. 

    I totally get that Jake’s going through a lot and that stinks, but it doesn’t seem reasonable for you to suffer too. Because you’re his best friend, I think it’s your responsibility to be honest with him.

    If Jake’s behavior toward you has been unkind or disrespectful, chances are he’s acting the same way with other people too—and he might be completely unaware of it.

    If he continues acting this way, he might end up pushing away the people who care about him the most, like his best friend. By letting him know how his negativity is affecting you, you’ll actually be helping him.

    When you speak up, you don’t have to say “You’re being a jerk.” Instead, you can say something like “You don’t seem like yourself lately. Can I help?” That way, he’ll understand that you’ve noticed his behavior—and you’re being a supportive friend.

ACTIVITY: 
What should Ty do?

What to do: Find evidence in Hannah’s and Jonathan’s responses that supports each side. Write the information on a separate sheet of paper.

What to do: Find evidence in Hannah’s and Jonathan’s responses that supports each side. Write the information on a separate sheet of paper.

What to do: Find evidence in Hannah’s and Jonathan’s responses that supports each side. Write the information on a separate sheet of paper.

Hannah says: Give him a break.

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Hannah says: Give him a break.

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Hannah says: Give him a break.

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Jonathan says: Let him know.

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Jonathan says: Let him know.

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Jonathan says: Let him know.

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Enter Our Contest! 
Enter Our Contest!Jonathan and Hannah gave Ty their advice. But what would you tell him to do? Write a paragraph and send it to “WWYD Contest” by October 15, 2021. Three winners will each get a $25 Visa gift card. Click here for complete contest rules.

Enter Our Contest! 
Enter Our Contest!Jonathan and Hannah gave Ty their advice. But what would you tell him to do? Write a paragraph and send it to “WWYD Contest” by October 15, 2021. Three winners will each get a $25 Visa gift card. Click here for complete contest rules.

Enter Our Contest! 
Enter Our Contest!Jonathan and Hannah gave Ty their advice. But what would you tell him to do? Write a paragraph and send it to “WWYD Contest” by October 15, 2021. Three winners will each get a $25 Visa gift card. Click here for complete contest rules.

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