K TELLS me that I am her best friend, even though we don’t really hang out much. However, I am slowly beginning to realise that she is just using my name to get what she wants.

When she wants to meet her boyfriend, she lies to her mother and tells her she is at my house studying.

I listen to her when she tells me her problems, but she always has an excuse to not listen to mine.

She showed me her true colours when we attended a camp two months ago. I told her that we should mix around with everyone in the camp, instead of sticking with each other. She glared at me, and proceeded to not talk to me throughout the camp.

She cried and I asked her what was wrong, but she just shouted at me and told me she didn’t want to speak to me. Instead, she shared her problems with a guy she had just met at the camp. I felt very hurt but I didn’t say anything.

I know she is using me, but I have to continue being friends with her as our parents are friends and I don’t want to cause trouble. But if I do not speak out she will keep taking me for granted. What should I do? — Blueberry

Su Ann

Friendship is a two-way street of give and take. Although the giving and taking are not always equal, most people do decide that some friendships are worth that inequality, whether rightfully so or not.

You ought to consider if your relationship with K is one such friendship. This will involve plenty of soul-searching, especially into questions of how far you would go to help a friend become a better person, even if she is not very kind to you.

But don’t be daunted by this thought process. In the long run, it will help you define and understand your current and future relationships, and also make better decisions while considering other people’s needs and feelings along with your own.

K seems like a person who values your friendship but does not quite know how to show it. Your experience with her during the camp implies that she is possessive of your friendship, and does not want to share your time with others.

These are not mean-spirited reactions, but rather, but they show that she is insecure and socially nervous. Part of being a good friend means recognising our friends’ shortcomings and helping them overcome them.

Help K make new friends even as you remain by her side. It will boost her self-esteem and diversify her social life as well as emotional dependence.
As for her tendencies to use you, in the worst case she is indeed using you without wanting to give anything in return, and in the best case she is simply clueless about her selfishness.

Either way, you have to inform her gently but directly that you are not comfortable with what she is doing. If you decide to remain friends with her, this conversation will hopefully get rid of the miscommunication that is preventing you two from becoming better friends.

And even if you do not end up being friends, she will walk away from that conversation with some information on how she can become a better person.


You have every right to cool off for a while – if she uses your name to see her boyfriend or she needs help, tell her “no”. Stand your ground and if she shouts again, remain calm. Explain your thoughts on the matter.

Have a heart-to-heart talk with her and tell her how you’ve felt about her behaviour. A good friend would take your feelings seriously, and look towards healing the relationship.

She needs to realise that a friendship goes both ways and that she needs to give as much as she takes. She needs to act the same way she wants to be treated – if you’re always on hand to help her, she needs to do the same for you.

If she doesn’t, it’s completely selfish on her part. It might be a tough for her to learn this lesson, but she needs to clearly hear this from you.

If she can’t handle it or breaks down, don’t feel bad about walking away from the friendship. People develop on their own pace, and she may need more time and experience to be aware of the lessons she needs to learn. She may need to learn through other people, and not you.

Friendships evolve, and some may drift apart. The two of you could reconnect in the future. As for your parents, don’t worry about what they think. This is about you and K, and the decisions about where your friendship goes ultimately comes from the both of you.

Talk to her about it and let her know how you feel.

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