March 28, 2014 - submitted by Sydney, United States of America

Q. TEAM ORACLE QUESTION #161
I've had a long issue with my temper... I'm a very forgiving person. Really, I hold very few grudges. But I have a temper as well, and a bad one at that. But recently I've been taking it out on my friend; because I'm fed up with the way she treats me. When she's depressed/angry/sad, I try to listen and help, but when I'm one of those things, she laughs it off or criticizes me. Now, with anyone else, I would get away from them, but this is my only friend. And without her I wouldn't survive school. How can I
1. Stop getting so mad at her
2. Get her to please, stop making things worse for me
3. Calm down?


The Oracle replies:

Hmm, I don't really see this as a direct problem because over the years I have realized I have different friends for different reasons and am also a different friend for different reasons. In fact, the latter happened without my permission!
I have one friend for example who has had some particularly troubled times but to her, my role is to cheer her up and be the "fun friend". At first, I was quite worried that I wasn't being there enough or providing enough support but my friend was getting that elsewhere - whether I wanted her to or not.
It was tough at first but I realized that part of being a friend was being there in whatever capacity I was wanted or needed rather than what I expected. In a way, that meant that I saw her role as the same.
Now, you say she's your only friend so this is why you're frustrated. I presume this person isn't giving back what you need so you need to get that somewhere else. It's quite a lot of pressure to put on one person and personally, I don't think it's actually a pressure one should put on another. If you feel the need to vent perhaps you could use a punch bag to physically exert some anger, an open space to yell, write down your frustration, paint or create - anything to express yourself or... get a new friend!
Despite my friend who needs me to be fun, I have friends who if I needed to talk to about negative issues, I can turn to. I'm lucky in the fact I don't tend to need anyone for that as I can release such emotions without a third party.
I just think you need to try different ways of expressing yourself and find what works for you without putting pressure on this particular friend. They clearly aren't comfortable with that responsibility even though you are there for them but sadly it isn't always a reciprocal role.
Over to you.

The only solution for your situation is yourself, if you don't want to get mad with her, just try to find ways that keep you calmed, you could stay away from her while you feel mad for example.
You'd be impressed about the quantity of people who don't feel the support from their friends, you could talk to your friend and tell her how you feel with her attitude, if she doesn't care, you could try to find new real friends. You may feel it's hard but it isn't, just don't be so closed and look for people who share your tastes and ideals.
Finally just relax, take it easy, don't take life so serious, be focused but have fun, be confident of yourself, don't get too stressed because everything has a solution, look for it and do it.
Enjoy your life, it is beautiful. A hug.


I read your story, and I think the best thing you can do is tell her the truth. Ask her why she always is critical to you. Ask her to stop being critical at you, because I think she doesn't have the right to be. Ofcourse, being critical can be helpfull in some situations, but not always.
When she want's to stop with it, you have a responsibility as well: helping her to stop. When she stopped being critital, you will surely calm down and don't have a reason anymore to get mad of her.
One last thing: when you ask her to stop being critical, look serious, but not angry. Then she'll understand you are serious, and not angry. Because when she thinks you are angry, she doesn't see the reason of that and she get's angry. And I guess you don't want that.
Goodluck, Isabelle.

You're angry at her because she is not meeting your need for friendship. First off, you need to tell her, but not in an angry way. You love her, she is your friend, forgive her, then tell her; she may not even know she isn't listening. She may also laugh because she doesn't know how to handle it when you are upset. Perhaps you are her rock, and when you are unstable, she gets nervous as she doesn't know what to do or how to help. Tell her what you want her to do when you are upset so she knows, and that she can always say the same to you if she has a need you are not meeting. If she doesn't listen, your only two choices are to change your rules for friendship, or realize she isn't the friend you think she is. As for your temper, you need to accept that not everyone shares your perspective on the world, nor should they. Perhaps if you didn't react, and just listen (like you say you do for your friend) you'd learn something and even make other friends - that's kinda how it works :) Mr. Gregg.

Being in a situation where we find ourselves acting the way we normally would not is a sign of anxiety. You will find yourself fumbling when you are not sure of anything. When something is pinching us at the backdrop of things, when the flow of events are losing control, not going how they used to be. I feel the reason the series of fights happening between you two are , majorly because you are scared of losing her. If I assume her part of story is the same, that is you are her only friend, then the same thing could be happening to her.
More anxiousness means more mess up. So at this point of time, the best thing is to focus on is how to get less anxious, and more confident. Now the confidence in you could come from either making more friends at school or outside. Or it could come from indulging in something you really love, something which you always wanted to do , but you have been lazy enough to bother less about it. I would suggest you indulge in some activity/hobby because that cannot harm you back.
Indulging in some activity will definitely give you both more space, and time to judge situations, yourselves and weigh how important it is to be with each other. The idea is to be more confident about yourself, the friendship you share with her. Mansi.

I would say that those kinds of things happen to almost everybody, at every time, in every place! Don't be discouraged. If she is truly your friend - not a friend who only takes advantages from you, then good! You ought to keep her as a friend. One way to stop your anger is to actually contemplate on her and your own flaws. You have stated that you've had a long issue with your temper... if she's able to cope with it, why can't you? Criticism is probably her way to get you out from your depressed state. Who knows? However, if you're not okay with that, you can talk it with her. Having a chat with her in a cozy cafe with a cup of hot tea or coffee would be a pleasant idea. You can ask her nicely not to criticize you because you don't like it. You can also add things that implies that you actually want her encouragement or her advice - not her criticism. I'm quite positive that she'll understand. And as for you to calm down... listening to some music in your bedroom, alone (and have some private quality time, practically) would be a great idea. Reading some books or taking a short walk and watching the scenery around you would be nice as well.
I hope it helps. I wish you all the very best. Good luck!
Bell, Indonesia.


My daughter has similar issues with her friend, and I understand how delicate this situation can be. The thing is you don't deserve to be treated like that. Are there any reasons why she acts like this? Perhaps jealousy, or insecurity. Understanding why she is like it might help you to control your anger a little.
I know it can be difficult to be direct with someone when they hurt you, but you do need to explain how you feel. Try taking a deep breath when she laughs or criticizes you, and calmly say how like she needs you to listen to her at times, you need the same from her. A real friend would do that and you have every right to say this.
I often say to my daughter that it is not healthy for anyone to have just one friend. You don't need to exclude your friend in any way, but are you able to branch out to other people too. It may take time, but from what you have said, you sound like a nice girl, and I'm sure it will happen eventually.
Believe it or not, I have a bad temper too! But the one thing that always makes me feel much brighter is a bit of exercise, like a bike ride or swimming. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins which can reduce stress, anxiety and feelings of depression. Perhaps you and your friend could do some together, which might help patch things up a little.
I hope it goes well for you! Diane.

I've experienced that before and I found that nobody will take care of you except you. I mean they may let you down or may take your hand to the safe side but it's all around you. So keep on your lovely way and try to find out the "Sydney" herself and she'll try to fix you indeed. Mash.

I hate to say this, but it sounds to me like you're being friends with this person for all the wrong reasons. Talk to her about how you feel and tell her you don't appreciate it when she laughs at your problems. But please don't stay friends with someone just because you think they are your only friend in school. Join a sportsteam or sit with someone new during lunch. Talk to someone in your class. I know making new friends can be hard, but I'm sure that with a little effort you'll be just fine:-) Good luck! Amanda.

Thanks to all those who replied to this week's question. Remember, Team Oracle is open to anyone so if you fancy replying, click to read this week's, and send us your answer.