Everyone needs someone to talk to. With that in mind we have now launched a weekly Agony Auntie column which will be managed by one of our regular contributors Jade Benn.

This is where readers such as yourself can email us questions or situations they are currently finding hard to deal with and Jade will provide you with a reassuring and factual standpoint to help you deal with whatever it is you’re facing. Anything from relationships, to schooling, sexual health or dating, where happy to be a listening ear.

This week we have received 2 burning questions from 2 of our readers:

Q: Whenever I go out with my friends, they always want to smoke, but I don’t like it. The smell gets in my hair and clothes – it’s horrible. I still want to be friends with them, but I just don’t like smoking. 

What should I do?

A: Smoking is definitely something that many young people find appealing, glamorous or cool for a short period of time. Believe it or not, most of your friends who smoke may soon kick the habit when they realise how expensive smoking can be.  Others might develop an opinion like yours, while others might just consider the health risks of smoking.

In the meantime, my advice to you would be if you don’t want to stick around during the smoking session, don’t! As you get older you might find yourself unintentionally befriending people with more sinister habits such illegal drug taking or stealing, so will you stick around them?

Just because you’re not interested in smoking, it doesn’t mean you can’t be friends with these people. There’s nothing abnormal about having a few interests or habits that your friends can’t or don’t participate in. You may share the same interests or beliefs but it doesn’t mean you have to like everything they do – or vice versa.

Explain to your friends that you don’t like smoking and if they’re good friends they’ll understand and not pressure you to do anything that you don’t want to do. Lastly be bold in your beliefs even if they go against the crowd; that is the mark of a true leader!

Q: I’ve been seeing this girl for a while now, but all my friends keep taking the micke out of her. At first it was funny, but now it’s so annoying and hurtful. She not their idea of attractive, but she’s beautiful to me and we get along really well and have a lot in common. I want to tell my friends to stop their wise cracks and mind their own business, but I don’t know what them to think i’m choosing her over them. 

What should I do?

A: This can be hard because unfortunately we are in an age where “taking the mick” out of people is so normal. We also live in an age where are our ideas of beauty are expected to be narrow and uniform, subscribing to what we see on social media, music videos and in celebrities. First, I’m glad you are not being influenced by your friends – you sound as though you are making a mature decision here. You also sound like your attraction to this girl is deeper than surface level which is definitely a good thing.

More than anything this is a friendship issue. You need to speak to your friends and assert your maturity and your decision. When having this discussion, make sure you set the tone – ‘this is a serious conversation, I don’t want to be interrupted and this is how I feel about your behaviour’. Let them know the joking stops, my choice of girl is not an internet trolling topic that should be a matter of boys banter. If they can’t respect that, maybe you need to reconsider the dynamics of the friendship.


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