Do I have to be friends with someone because they self harm?
if you stop being friends with a girl because she was a really bad friend and spread rumours about you and told everyone lies so that they wouldnt like you to shorten the friend group is it ok even if shes suicidal and self harms a lot and now she blames you because your not friends with her anymore and the reason shes self harming is because i dont wanna be friends anymore and her mam told my parents and there saying i should be friends with her again or if she kill herself itll be my fault and ill have to live with that guilt. do i have to cave and be friends with her then?
Hi there and welcome to Ask Alex.
Thanks for reaching out, it seems you have quite a complex situation. You have explained you stopped being friends with a girl, because she was spreading rumours about you that would affect your other friendships. You have also explained the girl is suicidal and self-harms, and she is saying the reason why is you and her not being friends anymore. You are also experiencing pressure from the parents, both hers and yours, as the girl could act on her thoughts. You are asking us if you should go back to being friends.
We understand why you wouldn’t be looking forward to going back to being friends with this girl. She did not take care of you in the past, and that is the main reason you distanced yourself from her. People who try to hurt you are not friends. I wonder if when all the rumours happened, you had a conversation with her about it. Maybe you did, maybe you didn’t, but it seems what it is needed is a conversation to clear things up at least.
Using the blame game and threats are also not the way to go, it is putting pressure on you to do something you are not sure of, which is going back to being friends with someone who did not take good care of you. At the same time, this girl is struggling enough to self-harm and imagine herself gone of this world. She might be using unhealthy coping mechanisms, but then again, we use those when we don’t know any other ways. It seems she is need of professional help to deal with the suicidal ideation and the self-harm. Pieta House would be the right service to contact: www.pietahouse.ie
The coping skills she is using are not your fault, and she might be putting the blame on you for her behaviour, but you are not to be blamed. You could offer to talk things through and make a decision then. If you feel you cannot do this on your own, you could talk to an adult you trust to support you in this conversation, someone who can mediate in between the two of you. It doesn’t have to be the parents, it can be another trusted adult such as a youth worker or older cousin or sibling. The goal would be that you both express how you feel. That does not mean that you have to go back to being friends if this is not what you feel like, it means there will be some clarity and understanding about what happened, and then you can both work on the things that didn’t go well on your own, so they don’t repeat in the future.
Sometimes we don’t know where to start, and we need someone to listen to us first, someone who won’t judge or take sides. If you needed someone like that, keep in mind that Childline is there for you 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. Childline can be reached through www.childline.ie using the Live Chat, or through your phone dialing 1800 66 66 66.
We hope this helps! If you need further support, please do not hesitate to contact us again.
Take care of yourself,