Trouble with friends? Not doing well in school? Our Gen Z advisors & therapists answer your most pressing questions!



My friends stopped talking to me

Ugh, this is never fun to deal with. Why do friends ghost other friends? It just makes no sense and it is so upsetting and unfair! This has also happened to me, though, and it was extremely hard to deal with. However, after some time, I realized we were all going down different paths in life and we simply had separate beliefs that were not conducive to us all still being friends. In your situation, was there something that happened prior to them no longer talking to you, like a disagreement or an argument? If so, maybe take some time to collect your thoughts and then reach out to them and tell them that you would like to speak with them. If nothing happened, while it may be hard to hear, these are most likely not the friends for you because true friends do not ghost their friends. While it might hurt now, know that you are that much closer to finding friends who will genuinely care about you.

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My parents put so much pressure on me

It is always scary and overwhelming when a lot of pressure is put on you by your parents. Parents often think their children are capable of amazing things, and that can lead to the feeling of pressure. Have a conversation with your parents about how you are trying your best in whatever it may be (school, sports, etc.), but you have noticed yourself starting to get overwhelmed by how much pressure is on you. Try to take some time to figure out how exactly they put pressure on you. Do they never let you rest, do they always give you extra math problems to do, do they send you to extra tutoring that you do not need, etc.? Depending on the situation, thank your parents for their support, but tell them you need a little bit more space to be able to perform your best.

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I am embarrassed about my family's financial status

I am sorry that you are feeling this way. If you are feeling embarrassed because your friends have made comments relating to your financial status, then those might not be the right friends for you as you deserve friends who love and respect you. If you are embarrassed because you feel as if your financial status is lower than those around you but no one has actually said anything to you, try to remember that your parents are working their hardest for you and those around you are likely not paying as much attention to you, in terms of your financial status, as you may think. Do not compare yourself to other financial statues around you, and try to be grateful for all that you do have in life!

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I got in a fight with my parents

It is always upsetting when you get into a fight with family members. What caused the fight? Was it about school, sports, curfew, etc.? Oftentimes fights occur because people have two different viewpoints or do not agree on something. Take some time to think about the fight and what angle you were coming from, but also what angle your parents were coming from. Remember that almost always, parents always want what is best for their children, so they were probably coming from a place of good intention. However, take some time to think about what you want to say and try to have a calmer conversation with them about the topic. Say something like I understand you think X, and I respect that, but I think Y because… .

Am I ready to have sex?

If you are asking yourself this question, the answer might be no. It is important that you want to have sex because YOU want to, not because you are being peer pressured or think it is what you should be doing. However, there are a lot of different actions that can qualify as “sex.” If you are just thinking that sex is only the insertion of a penis into a vagina, then you likely should do some more research. Read this article to learn a little more about sex and what to expect, and take some time to think about what you would like your first time engaging in a sexual activity to be like.

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I am struggling with my sexuality

I am sorry you are struggling. There is no rush to figure out your sexuality, so take all of the time you need to become truly comfortable with yourself. If you are struggling because you are unsure, take some time to do some research, try out different things or talk to other people. Regardless of what your friends and family say, you deserve to be happy and who you truly are.  

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How do I know if I should be in therapy?

You do not need to have a reason or a problem to be in therapy. It is very proactive to be in therapy before you feel as if you need to be there. Everyone could benefit from therapy in some capacity. If you are wondering if you should even start therapy, that might be a sign that you are interested and ready to try it out. There are some different types of therapies so check out the article below to see if anything interests you.

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I am worried I will not get into my dream school, especially because my parents are expecting that I do get in

You are not alone in this, as it is a pretty common worry of high schoolers. If you are studying as best you can, partaking in sports, theater, clubs, etc., and you are working hard on your college applications, know you are doing the best you can. Everything happens for a reason, and if you do not get into your “dream” school, chances are you will likely end up having a great time at the school you end up going to!

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I feel invisible at home

No one should ever feel invisible at their home. Take some time to think about why this might be the case, and then try to have a conversation with the people in your home who are making you feel invisible. Chances are, something might be going on with them; it likely has nothing to do with you as a person! I remember when my brother was getting in trouble frequently at school, I felt like I got zero attention from my parents. Explain why you feel the way that you do, and if you and your family members can come up with a plan to fix the issue that would be best. If it is not possible for you to talk to those who are making you feel invisible, find comfort through your friends, siblings or other family members to realize this is not a problem with you. If this is a serious issue, please reach out to a trusted adult, like a school counselor.

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My parents want me to go to therapy and I do not want to go

Why is it that you do not want to go? Spend some time thinking about that and see if you can come up with any solutions. For instance, if you do not want to go because you do not think you will have anything to talk about, there will always be something to talk about! If your parents are paying for you to go to therapy or your insurance covers therapy, you are very lucky as not everyone has that opportunity. If you want some control in the process, have a conversation with your parents about whether you can pick the location, pick if you do it online vs. in person, pick the actual therapist, etc. Before you decide you do not want to go, give a few sessions a try and re-assess with your parents. Read this article to learn more about therapy and what kinds of things you can talk about.

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My boyfriend / girlfriend / partner broke up with me

It is always upsetting when a relationship comes to an end. I remember when my boyfriend broke up with me in high school, and I was totally distraught. However, each week I started to feel better and after a few months I really was okay. While I still missed him, I understood that chapter of my life was over and I was finally excited and hopeful about what was to come. You might start to blame people, but don’t be hard on yourself. Remember, what is meant to happen will happen, as cheesy as that is to say. Spend time grieving the end of the relationship, but look forward to what’s to come in the future. Your person is out there, and when the right time comes, you will meet them! Keep yourself busy during this hard time by doing things that make you happy or spending time with family and friends!

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My friends are experimenting with alcohol / drugs and I am not comfortable with it

This is always a tricky part of high school, as some people want to seem “cool” in front of others and other people have no interest at all. First of all, stick true to who you are. Just because your friends are trying out drugs and alcohol does not mean you need to as well. With that being said, if it really makes you uncomfortable or concerned, it is important you voice your opinions to them. If they get annoyed or do not care, it might be in your best interest to make new friends who also are not comfortable with drugs or alcohol, or who simply have no interest in trying all of that out. Here is an article to learn more about how to handle the drug culture, especially when you get to college.

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My parents are arguing and home does not feel like a safe space

I am sorry you are going through this. It is always tragic when you watch family members you love fight with one another. It might be best if you have a trusted adult, like someone at school or another family member, you can speak with about this, especially if you do not feel safe. Depending on the situation, if you feel comfortable, it might be worth it to try and have a conversation with your parents about how their fighting upsets you and you do not feel happy or safe anymore. Find someone to talk to, as you do not deserve to keep your emotions bottled up and you deserve feeling safe in your own house.

All anyone talks about is college

When you start to get to junior or senior year of high school, it may seem like all you hear about is college; applications, getting accepted, getting denied, etc. Make an effort to bring up other topics with your friends when you are at lunch, hanging out after school, etc. If it really gets to be too much, it is fair for you to say to a friend something like, “hey, I just want to have fun right now and not think about college as sometimes it stresses me out, so is there any chance we can not bring up the topic this afternoon?” Chances are, your friend might feel the same way, but it can be hard to talk about something else.

I got a bad grade on a test

At some point or another, every student is bound to get a bad grade or a grade they are disappointed with. I remember when I got a C- on a Physics exam in high school. I was distraught, but looking back a few years later I realize how truly that one grade did not matter. Instead of being hard on yourself about the grade, identify what went wrong. Did you not study enough? Did you study the wrong way? Did you not know the material? One reason this could have happened is because you are reaching “burnout” and spreading yourself too thin. Reach out to your teacher for help and let them know you are upset with the grade and that you want to go over the test so you can work towards getting a better grade on the next test. This one test will not determine your future, and you likely will not even remember the grade in a year, so do not sweat it! Check out this article to learn more about what burnout is, and the signs and effects of burnout.

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The boy / girl I have a crush on will never notice me

It stinks to feel like you are not being noticed by those you really want to be noticed by. The person might not have any idea you are interested in them, so if you really care about them, maybe ask them for their number or ask them if they want to get coffee. One time my friend was really into a guy, but she felt that he never even looked her way! Finally, she worked up the courage to ask him for his number and they hit it off! They started dating and she always says how thankful she is that she went up to him first! Although it can be hard sometimes, it is so worth it to put yourself out there for people you think you are interested in! If you do not feel comfortable doing that, and your crush still is not noticing you, it might be worth it to put your time and energy into someone who does notice you. It is cliche, but someone who you are meant to be friends with or date will come around and notice you right away!

My parents are very strict and won’t let me do anything my friends are allowed to do

As much as it stinks, every set of parents have different rules for their children. Try to come up with a compromise with your parents. When I was in high school, my parents were not comfortable with me going into New York City alone with my friends. I explained the situation, and eventually we came up with a compromise that allowed all of us to feel happy and safe. For instance, if all of your friends are allowed to go to the beach without a parent but you are not, ask about some different options. Maybe your parents can drive you and stay in the area until it is time to go home. Maybe you can share your location with your parents for the day so they know exactly where you are. Maybe you can go to the beach for a shorter amount of time. Instead of getting into an argument, try to have a civil conversation with your parents about possible options to make both parties happy.

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I don’t have a date for the dance / prom

You are definitely not alone in not having a date for your dance or prom. As much as it really stinks, there are a few options. If you do not have a date because no one asked you, take the initiative and ask someone yourself! There is no shame in taking some initiative and asking someone to the dance or prom. If you are really uncomfortable with that, who said you can’t go to the dance or prom alone? More often than not, people just take a picture with their date before the event starts, and once people get to the venue they just go off and dance with their friends. There is no shame in going alone to a dance or prom, and hey, sometimes it makes life even easier! Definitely do not skip the dance or prom just because you are riding solo.

Someone is bullying me

If someone is bullying you, please find a trusted adult you can speak with to let them know what is going on. Do not let the bullying go on and on, as that is only going to make things more severe. If you do not feel comfortable talking to an adult right away, confide in a close friend. If your school has STOPit Solutions, please use that app. Bullying is such a horrible, horrible thing, so please reach out for help.

I am failing a class

Definitely take time to speak with your guidance counselor and teacher of the class. You do not want to fail a class, so the earlier you can start to get help the better. Let your teacher know you are struggling and upset with your grade in the class, but that you want to work hard to bring your grade up. If you are motivated to get help, you are heading in the right direction. If you do not care that you are failing the class, then there might be a bigger issue at hand and you should speak with your parents and teacher. Read this article to learn more about test taking stress, and think about if that is correlated to why you might be failing your class.

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I am being peer pressured to do things I do not want to do but I do not want to seem lame

It is a great first step that you realize what YOU want to do, and that will never make you “lame.” It is always upsetting when you are being peer pressured to do things. If your friends are peer pressuring you and you said you did not want to do whatever it was, then those might not be the right friends for you. True friends will never force you to do something you do not want to do. Try to have a conversation with your friends and explain that you are not interested in what they want you to do. If they keep pushing you, move on. You will never seem “lame” for not wanting to do something when you have friends who respect you. You already seem to be true to yourself if you have this concern, but here is an article to reinforce that what you are doing/thinking is worth it.

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I feel invisible at school

I am sorry you are feeling this way. It might be helpful to identify why you are feeling this way. If it is because your friends are ignoring you or you do not have any friends, make an effort to meet some new people! Join a new club, sit with new people at lunch, pick a new partner in class for a group project, etc. Go to your teachers’ office hours and connect with them. If you start to put yourself out there just a little bit more each day, you are likely to meet some great people who care about you and will not make you feel invisible.

I am feeling down and I don't know why

It is a great first step that you recognize that you are feeling down. You are not alone in feeling like this, as a lot of people have good days and bad days. Take some time to think of when you first noticed yourself feeling down. Did something specific happen? Personally, I always start feeling down when a lot of things start piling up on me: school, athletics and work. Maybe it has been a culmination of various emotions, like stress and anxiety. How long have you been feeling down? If it is just a bad day, try to take some time for yourself to do things that make you happy. Practice your favorite form of self care. Maybe go for a walk, journal, meditate, paint your nails, bake, cook; whatever makes YOU the happiest! However, if this has been going on for a while, it might be time to reach out for help. If you feel like your parents won’t understand, see your school counselor. Also, check out our resources for extra support. Teenline might be a great place to start, since you can connect with another trusted teen.

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I didn't make the sports team I wanted to be on

This is always an upsetting, frustrating situation. However, remember that there is time to improve and make the team you want to make! Use this as a motivation to work hard in practice every day, support your teammates, etc. Be happy for your teammates who did make the team you wanted to make, but realize you are also worthy of a spot on that team if you continue to work hard and show you are serious about earning a spot on that team for the next season.

I am being harassed

First of all, who is harassing you? A friend, a family member, a stranger? If a friend is harassing you, it is best to speak to a trusted adult from your school and let them know what is going on. Also, let your parents know. If a family member is harassing you, but it is not your parents, let your parents know. If it is one of your parents harassing you, find a trusted adult to speak with, like a counselor from your school. If a stranger is harassing you, speak with your parents and, depending on the severity, file a complaint at the police station. Please stay safe and reach out to 911 if you feel like you are in a real emergency.

I do not want to go to college but I do not feel as if I have that option

If you do not go to college, do you have another plan? Chances are, you might feel forced to go to college because that is what everyone else does. If you know there is something you want to do after high school that does not require a college degree, have a conversation with them about what it is you want to do and why you do not need college. They might not be receptive at first, but give them time. If they end up not being accepting, see if it is possible to take a gap year, defer your acceptance to a school by one year or take classes part time at a local community college. College is a big investment, so really try to have an open conversation with your parents if it does not feel like the right next step for you.

I failed my drivers test

This happens to way more people than you think. And I get it- it’s embarrassing! Do not over think it and do not be too hard on yourself. If you took the test on your actual birthday, make sure to enjoy the rest of your special day. You will have another chance to take your drivers test. Until then, think about what went wrong during your test and continue to practice driving until your next test. A few extra weeks of not having your license will not make a difference in the long run since you will have your license for the rest of your life! And hey, now you just have more time for your friends and family to keep driving you around, which isn’t the worst thing in the world!

I did not get into my dream school

Do not sweat this! While it will feel awful in the moment, remember great things are coming. I had a friend who had her heart set on one school, and she did not get in. She ended up going somewhere else and she LOVED her school. She always said how she could not imagine going to school anywhere else! A lot of people have not gotten into their dream schools, and they went to a different school and ended up loving it! When you start at your college, go in with a new mind and do not wish you were at your dream school. Make an effort to meet new people, get to know your professors and identify the things you love about your school.

I lost the game/meet for my team

Remember, YOU did not lose the game or meet for your team. Every game or meet is a team effort, and even if you were the one to miss the last shot or point, or let in the last goal, it is not all your fault. Your teammates should not be making you feel as if it is all your fault, and you should not either. If you are upset, that is okay, spend time being upset, but speak with your coach and understand what went wrong so your team can win the next game!

I am self conscious about my body

You are not alone in this, SO many people struggle with their body image! I can only imagine that the whole beauty industry would be bankrupt if we all started feeling good about the way we look! Instead of criticizing yourself, try to see yourself as others see you. When you are with a friend, are you thinking critically about their body? Probably not! We all have a body type and that won’t change, but trying thinking of all the amazing things your body does for you. Your legs allow you to walk; your eyes allow you to see; your stomach allows you to eat yummy foods, etc. If it will help you, remove any mirrors or scales so that you are not constantly speaking negatively to your body. Instead, try to speak positively. In the morning or at night, for instance, say 1 or 2 things out loud that you love about your body. And during a time when you are self conscious about your body, make an even bigger effort to treat yourself with respect and care. There are a lot of great body positivity influencers on Instagram and TikTok, so check out some of their content if you feel like that might help you! Here is an article to learn more about having a negative body image.

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I got into a fight with my boyfriend/girlfriend/partner

It is never fun to get into a fight with those you care about. Take some time to think about the fight and what you would like to say to them when you next see each other. Hopefully, both of you would come back to one another, give sincere apologies and learn a lesson. One fight does not mean you need to break up with your significant other, but if it is a continual, toxic thing that keeps happening, then a break up might be something to consider. Here is an article about some specific red flags that can be seen in relationships. If any of your fights are centering around these topics over and over, it might be time to have a serious conversation with your significant other. Check out OneLove in our resources if you are really struggling or unsure about anything, and if you are in serious danger use their hotline or seek immediate help from someone not involved in the relationship.

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I hate myself

I am really sorry you are feeling this way. While it is easier said than done, you deserve to love and appreciate yourself. Start to think about what you hate about yourself, and then speak positively to whatever that is. For instance, if you hate your legs, start saying to yourself how you are grateful that you have legs that keep you up and help you walk. If you hate how you get anxious in public, start to think about little ways you can do things in public, and then be proud of yourself for doing whatever it was. Please reach out to a trusted adult or a parent if you cannot get out of this rut. Therapy might be another option to consider so you can start to learn more about yourself and begin a journey of self-love. Here is an article to learn more about why it is important to practice self love.

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I feel like I can never take time for myself

It can be hard to take time for yourself, especially when it seems like everyone around you is constantly in “go go go” mode. There is so much pressure in high school to sit attentively all day, to have extra things after school and then to do several hours of homework at night!  However, the truth is, to be the best version of ourselves, we often need a break or we need to do something for ourselves. Even just taking a long shower or eating a bowl of ice cream can help when you have no time. On a weekend, try going for a walk with a friend, or your dog or cook yourself a nice dinner. Or binge a few episodes of fun shows- everyone needs a little mind candy sometimes! It does not need to be anything crazy, especially if you are just learning how to take time for yourself, but remember that you deserve time to recharge and relax. Here are some helpful tips on how to best relax!

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I don’t have any friends

I am sorry that you do not have any friends. If you are still in school, try to join different clubs or activities that you enjoy, because you will meet people there and have at least one thing in common to talk about. As uncomfortable as it might be at first, put yourself out there to meet others. You are definitely not alone in having no friends, so do your best to get out there and talk to others. If you really do not feel comfortable doing that right away, go to something like a group workout class, for instance, where you can be surrounded by other people but you do not have to talk to anyone. Start slow and build up to what you are comfortable with, but you got this! Anyone would be lucky to have you as their friend.

I got into a fight with my sibling(s)

I have gotten into plenty of fights with my siblings, whether it be about sharing clothes, who was putting the dishes away or who was taking the dog for a walk. However, it always ended up being something we could laugh about a few days later that was not that serious. Of course it is always upsetting when you get into a fight with family members. Odds are, you guys fought about something silly, like me. If you look back in a year, you likely will not remember what this fight was about. Collect your thoughts and then make an effort to speak with your siblings and let them know you are upset that you got into a fight. Exchange apologies if they are genuine and mutual. If the fight was about something more serious, it might be best to make your parents aware of the situation and have them intervene, but not go to them in sort of a “snitch” way.

My friends are talking badly about me… I heard through other people

UGH, why do friends talk badly about their other friend(s), it makes no sense?! One time this happened to me, and I was so angry. However, when I confronted my friends and talked to them about it, I understood it was a whole misunderstanding and the other people who told me were just trying to upset me and separate me from my friends. Is there any proof that your friends are talking badly about you, such as text messages? Regardless, do not immediately jump to conclusions and trust the other people. Plan to talk to your friends about the situation and take time to think about what you want to say. Whether there is “proof” or not, tell them what you have been told by others and say how you just wanted to hear everything from their side. If they get super defensive or aggressive, it is likely they were caught talking badly about you. If they seem genuinely confused or upset, it is likely they really were not talking about you. Pay attention to their facial expressions, body language and tone of voice and spend some time after the conversation thinking about how it went. Take a look at this article to see if you notice anything similar to how your friends treat you. If you notice something more than just “gossip,” they might not be the right friends for you.

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How do I know if my therapist is right for me?

This is the magic question! Finding a therapist is like shopping for the right pair of jeans; you might not get it right on the first try and that’s okay! It might take a couple tries to find a therapist who is right for you. Do not expect the first therapist you work with to be the one, but if they are, that is great too! Go into each session with an open mind and just think about if you are connecting with your therapist. If you feel as if you are connecting, that’s great! If not, think about what seems to be going wrong and what you would like to see in your next therapist. Styles can vary between just talking or can be more direct in nature- it’s really just your preference and many styles can be effective. And don’t worry if you feel like you’re being insulting if you don’t gel, I promise that therapists are used to it and don’t take it personally. It can be super frustrating for you (and your parents) to find the right fit for you, but try to stick with it.

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I’ve been having trouble making myself get out of bed

Some mornings, it can be very difficult to get out of bed. I especially have a harder time getting out of bed once daylight savings happens and it’s really cold outside. If this is happening for multiple days in a row, you might want to think about what is going on in your life during that time. Is the sun setting earlier? Is it getting colder outside? Are you getting stressed about a test or a sports game? If you can identify something, it might help you to slowly start to feel better. Also, try to find something you look forward to in the morning that can help encourage you to get out of bed. Maybe your morning cup of coffee or snuggles with your dog will make you feel more motivated to get up in the morning. If you cannot think of anything that you look forward to in the morning, try to establish something for yourself! If you think you might be depressed, here is an article to learn more about the symptoms and causes of depression. Please reach out to a trusted adult if you think you might be depressed.

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My only friend got a significant other and I feel left behind

Do you feel left behind because you do not have a significant other or because your friend is not spending as much time with you?  If you do not have a significant other, give yourself time. The right person will come into your life when you least expect it. If you feel you are losing your friend to their new significant other, your friend is likely losing track of time and being swept up by everything “new.” Give them some time to figure everything out. If things are not getting better, reach out and say how you are so happy for your friend, but you really miss spending time with them. Try to come up with a concrete plan of spending time together that both you and your friend can look forward to. I remember when one of my good friends got a boyfriend, I did not get to see her as much. However, after a few months, she realized how much time she was spending with her boyfriend, and not with me, and she made a huge effort to hang out with me more, which I appreciated! I gave her the time and space she needed, and when she realized she needed to change I was right there waiting for her.

Someone I love passed away

I am sorry you have to go through losing someone you love. Give yourself patience and time, and allow yourself to grieve however it feels right to you. It can be lonely when you’re at school, feeling like no one understands. Even if it’s only your pet, grief can be paralyzing. It might be helpful to talk with other people who also loved that person about different memories, or it might be helpful to keep to yourself. Keep in mind that “If it’s mentionable, it’s manageable”! So try to share your feelings. You may be surprised at how many people have felt similarly at some point. If it feels right for you, join a local support group or an online support group. Regardless, talk to a trusted adult about how you are feeling and do not keep all of your emotions bottled up inside.

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I’m worried about a friend who seems in a bad place

Thank you for realizing that there is a chance your friend is not in a good place; that can be hard for people to realize and even harder for them to take action. When I realized I had a friend who was not in the best place, I was scared to talk to them about it. However, after I did, I felt so much better and I could tell they felt so seen and thankful someone cared about them so much. Has something shifted in your friend that makes you think they are in a bad place? Has their attitude changed? Have they been acting differently? Or, have they said something to you? You may want to start by talking to them and asking how they are feeling or how they are doing, and do not be afraid to ask twice, as they will be more likely to tell you the truth then. Be there to support your friend, and encourage them to reach out to a trusted adult for help. You are a great friend for caring about them.

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Life feels pointless

I am so sorry you are feeling this way. Sometimes life can feel pointless when you have a million things going on at once, and it can also feel pointless when you have nothing going on. Sometimes when I am juggling work, school and sports I pause for a moment and think, “What is the point of all of this?!” Try to think about whether there is one small thing that brings you joy. For example, your pet, fresh air, your coffee in the morning, etc. Thinking of that one thing right then and there might bring you some happiness. If you have not considered it before, try out journaling, meditating or starting each day off with gratitude. If nothing else is making you happy, please seek out a professional to talk to. Here is an article to learn more about how to stay mentally healthy, and enjoy life.

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My boyfriend/girlfriend/partner cheated on me

This is always a situation that really, really hurts. I am so sorry you are going through this. It is up to you whether you want to give them a second chance or end the relationship right then and there; do not let anyone tell you what to do. However, they say, “once a cheater always a cheater,” so it might be worth moving on and taking the time to wait for the perfect person to walk into your life. Do not settle for any less than you deserve, and understand cheating in a relationship is not a quality you want your partner to possess. It really can be hard to let go of the person who cheated on you, but remember you are likely saving yourself from a lot of heartbreak down the road.

I wish I didn’t exist

It is okay to feel down from time to time, but if you are continually feeling this way, you should seek out a professional or trusted adult to talk to. If you are comfortable, please also talk to any family members or friends to let them know what is going on. It is not normal to feel this way for a long period of time, so please seek out the appropriate help and know that you are loved and valued. Check out our resources to get some guidance and help. If you are feeling suicidal, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

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