Annie Fox for Teens... Hey, Terra!

Annie (AKA Hey Terra!) has been around long enough to have experienced a lot of what Life can dish out. But, it hasn’t been so long that she's forgotten what it's like to be your age. Check out some of the thousands of email questions teens from around the world have sent to Terra. You may learn something useful from her answers:

“My obnoxious neighbor thinks he's my friend!”

Hey Terra,

He obsesses over everything, and then brags about it over and over. He even does it at school. It's like he finds comfort in bragging. He'd probably make a good critic though because he is always finding and pointing out anything you do wrong. I'm having a hard time thinking of a good quality other than he gets really attached. I never get any time to be with my other friends because he's always there.

Please help.

Wanting Peace

Dear Wanting Peace,

Maybe your neighbor is so insecure that he doesn't believe anyone would like him for himself, and his bragging is his attempt to say "Aren't you impressed? Doesn't this make you like me?" Haven't you ever bragged about something you did to impress others and inflate their opinion of you? I know I have! Look, I'm not saying this kid is easy to be around or that you have to put up with annoying things that he does. But a little compassion might help you here. When I see something like this, I feel a little sorry for how hard the other person is trying to make friends. He doesn't realize that he'd be much better off toning it down and being more natural around other people. He's scared that if he does that it will spell disaster.

So he's insecure and scared. We've all been there too, right?

Here's my suggestion, talk to him privately. Tell him (in a respectful way that isn't meant to hurt him) what you've been feeling when you're around him. You might say something like this: "I've been feeling like we're spending too much time together. I don't like it when you to stand outside my house waiting for me to get home. It makes me feel like I have no choice about when we're going to spend time together. I need to be able to decide what I want to do, whether it's time with you or time to be on my own or time to spend with other friends."

If he asks you why then tell him the truth... Again (gently and with respect). "I feel annoyed when you get into bragging about things. It makes me uncomfortable."

Bottom line, you are absolutely entitled to decide who your friends are. But remember, it's never ok to be cruel to another person.

In friendship,


Need some advice? Write to Terra. She'll give you a straight answer you can trust without any lectures.

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