Dear Dr. Michelle:
I am 14 years old and my close group of friends includes both boys and girls. It seems like the girls in our group are sad and down a lot while us boys don’t seem to worry about stuff too much. I am just wondering if there is a reason for this and what I can do to support the girls?
I am impressed you are aware of your friend’s needs and that you are taking an interest in learning how to support them.
You seem to notice a difference between your female and male friends. While there are some biological differences, there are also a lot of similarities that you do not want to overlook. For instance, boys can be sad and down too, they might just show it differently. While you are noticing the differences between your male and female friends, try to be mindful that not all boys or girls are the same. To understand human behavior, it might be helpful to recognize that every person, whether male or female, black or white, old or young, Catholic or Jewish, gay or heterosexual, single or married, etc. is different and unique.
Understanding Your Adolescent Years
During the adolescent years, there is a lot of growing and changing, both physically, intellectually, emotionally, and socially. Each person is individually wired to handle those changes. Your female friends might just be dealing with growth and changes differently than what you are noticing in yourself or your other male friends.
How to Help
The best way for you to help your friends is to offer to listen. Listening is not about fixing their problems or changing their feelings, it is about being present and understanding. Let your friends know that you will be there for them and ready to listen when they need to talk. Sometimes just talking to a friend who doesn’t judge or minimize your feelings is all a person needs to feel supported.
It is natural to feel sad. However, if at any time your friend tells you that they have thoughts or feelings about dying or hurting themselves or somebody else, immediately tell a parent, teacher, or another trusted adult even if you don’t think they are serious. Thank you for asking the question and for caring about the feelings of others.
Dear Dr. Michelle blog posts are informational in nature. The posts are not meant to take the place of consulting your physician, mental health professional, or other qualified health providers regarding your well-being or the well-being of others. Submitting a question does not establish a client/therapist relationship.
Submit Your Question on mental health and/or family relations to Dr. Michelle K. Murray.