Q. I’m 13 years old and have a 15-year-old friend, “Katie,” who recently started smoking weed.
I consider her to be one of my good friends — almost a big sister — and I totally trust her.
She used to be against smoking, making loud comments in public around people who were doing this. When she first smoked, it was at a friend’s birthday party, and she told me right away.
I wasn’t happy, but I didn’t do anything because I assumed she wouldn’t smoke again, that it was just peer pressure.
Now she smokes regularly. Recently, she was high when she went to the elementary school to pick up her little sister. Another one of my good friends, who is also 13, was with her. This friend was making sure she didn’t smell and wasn’t acting too weird.
I want to keep my friendship with Katie, and I know she expects me to keep her secret. However, I also know what she is doing is illegal and wrong, and I want to help her. This is a lot of responsibility. How do I help her without ruining our friendship?
A. You seem like a responsible person and a good friend. But you aren’t ruining your friendship with “Katie” — she’s ruining her friendship with you.
You are younger. She is the dominant person. She is responsible for her own choices and actions, and unfortunately she has terrible judgment. Do you want to be Katie’s sober buddy, following her around and making sure she doesn’t smell of pot or act too weird while she stumbles around the elementary school? Please say no.
Understand that getting caught could be the best thing to happen to your friend, but if you don’t choose to tell an adult — you’re responsible for your choices too — at the very least you should keep your distance from her when she’s high.
Katie might be going through a rough patch, but she’s also a terrible influence on you right now. She is not being a good “big sister.” Realistically, you might not be able to help her. Your first job is to protect yourself and make the best possible choices for you.
I hope you’re close enough with your own parents (or another caring adult) to share your dilemma in person. This would be the best thing for all of you.
Q. I have a girlfriend who always tells me what everything costs. She cannot comment on a piece of furniture, art, clothing, car, or home without mentioning the cost. She even tells me about our friends’ incomes. I find this very distasteful. I was raised not to discuss such personal matters. How should I handle this? How can I come back with a polite comment to get her to stop?
A. First you must understand that for your friend money might not be such a personal matter. Sharing (or speculating about) the cost of something might simply be her monetized version of playing Words With Friends. Or pretending she’s a Kardashian. You should express your point of view by saying, “I know this is kind of your thing, but I really don’t feel comfortable talking about the cost of everything. Speculating about the cost of a couch is one thing, but please don’t tell me about the Robinsons’ income. I seriously don’t want to know. It’s just too personal.”
I hope this simple truth is polite enough for you, but it might actually be too subtle for her. Obviously, never disclose or discuss anything financial with this friend.Send questions via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611.