I’m 14 and have a good reputation at school. I’m the secretary of our 10th-grade class and president of the all-school drama club. I get good grades and I have many good friends.
About three months ago a girl transferred into our school. She had been living in California. We have homeroom together and have become friends. She told me and some of my friends that she moved here to get away from some of her friends and to try and start a new “life” because at her old school she had a bad reputation.
Some of my friends are telling me not to hang around with this girl because she will give me a bad reputation. I don’t believe this and I enjoy being with her. Do you think that my reputation might be blemished hanging with her, or do you think my good reputation will influence her to be a “good girl”?
Nameless: It all depends on who has the most influence and what the two of you do together. But it might take a little longer for the bad reputation to become good than for the good one to become bad. However, I feel that your newfound friend will shed her negative reputation and will become a member of the “good girl” club.
I do believe that teens are fair and willing to forgive. If someone with a bad reputation wants to turn her life around, her peers will applaud her efforts and accept the new person she has become.
Dr. Wallace: I’m 18 and Mario is 20 and we have been dating for about four months. We met at a friend’s birthday party and were mutually attracted to one another. The first two months together were wonderful and we had great times together.
Then Mario seemed to change. If I wasn’t home when he called, he demanded to know where I was and who I was with. Pretty soon he got upset if I talked to another guy. Then he started following me in his car when I walked home from work. He doesn’t know I’m aware of this, but I have seen him following me in his car about a block behind me. As soon as I get home, he calls me and pretends to be somewhere else.
On our last date, he took me home early when I talked for a few minutes to a guy from my church when we were at the mall. On the way home, he told me he did not want me ever to talk to another guy when I was out with him.
Now my parents are upset with him because of this and they told me that I should just stop seeing him immediately. I’m not really sure if I want to do that. I kind of like that he is jealous and it makes me feel special and wanted. What do you think I should do?
Del Rio, Texas
Nameless: Mario’s possessive behavior is out of control and will only get worse. While his jealousy may make you feel “special and wanted” now (though it’s obviously unnerving as well) soon will begin to make you feel like a bird in a cage.
He has crossed way over the line and may need professional help to get a handle on his deep-seated insecurities and inability to trust. I urge you to listen to Mom and Dad and give this guy his walking papers. You deserve to be treated with love and respect, which will truly make you feel special and wanted.
Write to Dr. Wallace at firstname.lastname@example.org.