My best friend and I have been buddies for years. We're both 16 and lately, I've found out that she's been going pretty wild with hard drugs such as: cocaine, LSD, heroin, ecstasy and mushrooms.
She also drinks excessively, and has been involved in sexual liaisons with boys she isn't even dating and doesn't know anything about. I'm pretty conservative, so I haven't really experienced the same kinds of things.
She's on the pill, but she doesn't listen to me when I talk to her about using condoms also to protect herself against from STD's and the risks associated with doing all of these drugs. Her parents know about most of the things that are going on and when she's home and she's smoking pot in her backyard, her parents bring out ashtrays!
They have asked me to talk to her about her behavior. But I don't want to become her parent. I feel like it's their job to enforce rules and they aren't. She tell me that no matter what she does, her punishments are minimal and weak.
People around me suggest that I should just wait for her to grow out of this stage. However, I don't feel right acting like these problems don't exist. I am worried about her contracting an STD or having a dangerous drinking/drugs experience.
How can I get her to take me seriously (without sounding like her mother or her health teacher) when I've never come in contact with the things that she has?
Worried Sick Stacey
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Dear Worried Sick Stacey
You are a good friend, but those close to you are right...there's not a whole lot that you can do to change her behavior. She is not your daughter, she is your friend.
She's taking the same health education classes you are and she's making these choices anyway. Talk to her once so she knows that you are concerned and that she can call you if she's in trouble - this is called "communication without condemnation." She's not going to open up to you if you are going to read her the riot act each time.
Then try and distance yourself from her issues the best that you can. Your friend is acting out. She's seeking attention, acceptance and status. Deep down she probably wants to get punished. Kids who don't grow up without any boundaries are always looking for ways to test them. What's wrong with her parents?
Unfortunately, unless she wakes up and decides these habits are bad for her these scenarios typically don't end well. Eventually, those who push their luck find out the hard way that their luck runs out and they get into trouble with the law, pregnancy, drugs, financing their drug habit, etc...
You sound like a good girl with great values. You can't save your friend, you can only listen and offer your love and support. So don't get sucked into being her messiah. That's not your job.