Question #326: My friend is nice, but she likes to boss me around. We always have to do what she wants and do things her way. I don’t want to lose her as a friend, but it’s not fun to have her ordering me around. What should I do? –Jessica Fedupfollower

Dear Jessica,

There’s a middle ground between putting up with being bossed around versus ending a friendship: You could try to talk to your friend about what you want.

You don’t have to yell or get angry or accuse your friend of being mean. My guess is that she isn’t trying to boss you around; she’s just excited about her idea. The next time she wants to do one thing, and you want to do something different, try using one of these comments:

  • “We did that last time. This time, let’s…”
  • “I’m tired of playing that game. I want to…”
  • “I don’t like that game. I like it better when we…”
  • “This isn’t fun for me. Let’s do something else, instead.”
  • “How about if we do partly what you want and partly what I want?”

These comments get your message across clearly while also being friendly. Going along with what your friend wants on the outside while being mad at her on the inside isn’t kind. It’s not fair to expect your friend to be able to read your mind! How can she know what you want if you don’t tell her? If you can explain what you want, it will make it easier for your friend to understand and respect your wishes.

Best wishes in friendship,

Dr. Friendtastic

Question #53: My friend has no sense of humor. I like to pat him on the head and tease him about being short, because he is, and he gets so mad! I tell him I’m just kidding, but that doesn’t help. What can I do to teach him to take a joke?

Dear Henry,

Uh-oh. It’s clear that your friend is not enjoying your humor. Most people don’t like it when you make comments about the way they look–especially if it’s about something they can’t change. I’m sure you’re trying to be playful and fun, but your words and actions probably seem mean to your friend. You say your friend gets mad when you tease him about his height. If you do something that makes your friend mad, even if you weren’t trying to be mean, you need to stop. Kids don’t want to be around kids who make them mad. Instead of trying to be funny, be kind to your friend. You can’t go wrong with kindness.

Best wishes in friendship,

Dr. Friendtastic