Competition:
“My bf didn't get into the high school he wanted to go to.”

Dear Annie,

My bf is really upset about not getting into the high school he wanted to go to. It's not that he didn't have the grades, it's just that his family isn't religious. His mom won't talk to him and his dad said that it wasn't the end of the world. I don't know how to help him feel any better, or should I just let it be a family issue and let him get through it with his dad's help?

Anyway, thank you for your time, I appreciate it.

Lost

Dear Lost,

You are a sweet girl to want to help your boyfriend feel better after his disappointment. When people have their heart set on getting something (like an acceptance into a special school) it is a real let down when things don't turn out the way they expected. It sounds like he did everything he could academically to increase his chances. (I'm not sure what you mean when you say "his family isn't religious" and what that would have to do with his getting accepted or not.) But either way, it's not like he didn't do his best. He did. And in that case he has to accept the fact that this decision was not in his control. (The folks at the school's admissions office made the choice.)

He may need to go through several layers of feelings before he's okay about it. First there is disbelief ("I can't believe I didn't get in!") And then maybe anger ("Who wants to go there anyway?") and then real sadness... because he lost his dream of going to that school.

These are feelings he needs to work out on his own. As his friend, though, you could remind him that there probably was a lot of competition to get into that school and his not getting in doesn't mean that he wasn't good enough. It probably just means that they had to say "no" to some people. It might be helpful if you give him the space to deal with it on his own. You can certainly let him know that if he wants to talk about it, you will be there for him.

One other thing... can you (or your boyfriend) think of anything positive about the school that he will be going to next year? (Like maybe they have a better football team, or it's closer to his house... or whatever.) When we have something to look forward to, often we begin to see things in a more positive light.

I hope this helps.

In friendship,

Annie

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