Rosanna Davison shares her advice in her latest agony aunt column.
Q. My friend always flirts outrageously with my boyfriend — he just ignores it and, to be honest, he thinks very little of her because she is so blatant in her behaviour, but it hurts me that she continues to do this in spite of me asking her not to.
She claims it’s part of her personality, being flirty, and that it’s harmless. However, she has always been like this and over the years, some men have responded differently to my partner and taken her so-called ‘flirting’ as a come on and acted on it.
She refuses to take responsibility for her part in any of these situations and says it’s a sign our female friends were hooked up with a not -so-nice guy — that she did them a favour. I know there is some small amount of logic in this, but it’s only half the story.
She is a lovely person and beautiful looking — but she seemingly offers herself up to men, any man who is in a relationship, from what I can see, on a plate.
She obviously doesn’t think very much of herself underneath this bravado, but I am running out of patience because the way she goes on turns my stomach. Should I just stop being pals with her?
A. It does sound to me that your friend’s behaviour is pretty inappropriate. If it was me, I would feel very uncomfortable about being around her and no matter what she says to justify it, it’s wrong to flirt with other women’s’ partners.
It’s just not what a normal self-respecting adult would do. There must be a deeper reason for her behaviour, such as a damaging lack of self-esteem, despite all that she has going for her.
If you have said all you can say to her, then I would advise you to create a bit of distance from her, at least until she sees that her attitude and behaviour is causing so much damage to her friendships.
You need to protect your relationship, and if your man doesn’t like being around her either, then it’s time to pull back.
Q. I’m having a crisis of confidence since going to college and it’s really having a bad effect on my academic performance.
At school, I was always top of the class and I excelled outside of the academic side too, being good at sport and popular too with boys and girls but college is so different.
I just feel like one of a number and that what made me stand out a bit in school is not enough to cut it in the big bad world.
My friend says I should go see a counsellor and try to get to the bottom of it because I have become emotional on occasion in her company, tearful and upset — but I just want to get back to feeling like my old self and can’t see that this will help. What do you think?
A. I can really empathise with you, because throughout school, you do dream of the freedom and excitement of being a college student and being able to come and go as you please. But the reality is different.
You’re part of a huge campus full of strangers and numerous other pressures. It can take time to develop your own sense of identity, especially as you had been so confident in your own abilities.
My advice is to persevere and don’t give up, because it will get so much easier as you get used to your new life.
I would definitely encourage you to speak to a professional, as they will provide a non-judgemental and objective point of view, and it sounds like talking to somebody neutral would be of huge comfort to you.
Q. My mum handed my CV into the local supermarket for a summer job, working on the shop floor.
She says it’s important I develop my work ethic, do something productive with the three months off and earn some money for books — and I’m so annoyed because she never even discussed it with me first.
You’re only young once and, next year will be my Leaving Cert year, so I was looking forward to just bumming around for one last summer before college with my pals and picking up a few quid from babysitting here and there.
Should I refuse point blank to go to work or just be so bad at the job that they don’t keep me for any length of time?
A. As much as you dislike the idea of a summer job when you could be hanging out with your friends, I do agree with your mum that it’s important to get a little bit of experience in the working world at your age.
You will learn valuable skills for life, like responsibility, professionalism and punctuality.
You’ll also make yourself a bit of money, which I would advise you to save for college and all the expenses that comes with that.
Working will also give you a routine and you will feel really good about yourself.
Once you become accustomed to it all, it will actually give you a big sense of satisfaction and there is also the real possibility that you’ll make plenty of new friends and contacts.
You’ll still be able to hang out with your friends in the evenings, weekends or whenever you’re not working, and they’ll have huge respect for you for getting a job, never mind the fact that you will have your own money.