Hey Cherie from March 24:
Here's my question: Is having the wrong friends better than having no friends at all?
Let me explain. I am the new kid in 10th grade... This is a school that is pretty small — less than 800 kids for the region. These kids are from families that don't move. Everyone has been here forever. Everyone knows each other. Everyone knows that I am the new kid. No one else has been new in like two years, and I am not exaggerating.
For a couple of months, I didn't have any friends at all. That sucked in a lot of ways. Then about two weeks ago, a group of kids who I would otherwise not be friends with somehow decided that I might be cool enough to hang out. They are into their cars and stuff but not grades and books. Some of them drink. I know some of them smoke 420 quite a bit. They are not at all like the kids I was friends with when I lived out west, but I don't live out west anymore.
So I guess my question is: is it better to be friends with these kids just so that I can have some kind of social life, even though they are not the kind of kids who would normally be my friends? Or should I put up with more months of being all alone in hopes of something better?
New Kid, I'm going to give you some advice that some people might disagree with. I think it's fine to be friends with kids who want to be your friend, even if they're not like your friends when you lived out west. I think that you will find that at least one of these new friends could turn out to be a true friend — and be much deeper and more complex than you might expect.Ashley: She... she says things I agree with!!
It is easy to judge people, like books, by their covers. But books are not their covers — believe me, some great books have crappy covers! — and people are not always how they present themselves to the world. If you use good judgment and avoid activities that you wouldn't ordinarily do, I think that you'll do just fine. It's no fun to be alone.
Lulu: Yes!! I was nodding along when she said the LW will probably find some value in the people if he spends more time with them.
Ashley: Yeah. Also it's like jobs: easier to find one if you have one, even a crappy one. You can meet other people who're tangentially part of the group.
Lulu: The one thing that's weird is "avoid activities you wouldn't ordinarily do"--I mean, no, if you do that, you'll be stuck at fifteen forever. Part of the open-mindedness Cherie is talking about is letting yourself try new things. I think what she means is "avoid activities you object to on moral or legal grounds."
Ashley: Well, what she means is "don't smoke pot."
Lulu: Right. And being friends with people doesn't mean becoming them. I've definitely been in groups where I was "the one who doesn't drink" or "the one who doesn't smoke" and they just thought it was quaint. It's possible as long as you're nonjudgmental. Or if you say you're straightedge.
Ashley: Or if you make up for it by hotwiring cars.