DEAR ABBY: I'm a junior in high school and taking multiple advanced-placement classes. With all the homework we're assigned, I sometimes need to use lunchtime to finish assignments. My problem is my friends follow me into the school library and talk to me while I'm working. Their constant chatter is distracting and prevents me from concentrating on my assignments.Ashley: Do your homework at home. Problem solved.
I don't neglect my friends. I spend hours outside of school with them every week. But I'd rather be left alone when I'm trying to work. My friends don't understand that I'm more focused on academics and long-term goals than my short-term social life.
How can I politely get them to leave me alone when I'm working?
Lulu: (a) How long is her lunch break? At my high school it was 20 minutes. How much can you get done in 20 minutes? (b) Isn't it nice to... you know... have a break? in the middle of the day? to... eat lunch? I bet her productivity goes way down in the second half of the day because she is so hungry.
Abby, of course, doesn't tell her to stop doing the extra work, but tells her to be upfront with her friends.
If you haven't told your friends plainly how you feel and clearly drawn a line, you shouldn't blame them for being clueless when they cross it. Tell them you need to concentrate when you're in the library and that they are creating a problem for you. Not only will you be helping yourself, you'll be doing a favor for other students who are trying to study and who are also being distracted.Lulu: I do agree with Abby that the solution to "My friends don't understand that I'm more focused on academics and long-term goals than my short-term social life" is to, you know, tell them, I guess, but there's no way to say that without essentially say, "You people? I don't like you so much." "You guys, not priority for me."
Ashley: She might do better if she at least made it seem like she slacked off the night before. So she's not blowing them off for work she could do later, she's blowing them off for not working last night!
Lulu: Yeah, I did my fair share of pretending to have slacked more than I did in high school and college.
Ashley: I did not. I always slacked the most possible amount.
Lulu: I still don't see when she eats.
Ashley: During her other classes? But she should do homework during other classes.
Lulu: Right! Multitasking! Maybe she just doesn't like her friends.
Ashley: Maybe! I know I don't. (I don't know that.)