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My happy, positive, loving, open-minded, outgoing teenage daughter gets along with other people very easily. She's kind by nature and cares deeply about the feelings of others. She's mature for her age and doesn't usually experience drama with people, which is why I'm concerned about a recent situation.

Her best friends for many years is a boy who lives across the street. He always seemed like a very nice boy. Their friendship is strictly platonic.

My daughter dated a boy from school for a week or two, but broke up with him because his behavior seemed abusive (I agreed). She told her best friend because she was hoping for emotional support. He told her that it was impossible that her ex had been abusive, that he knew women who were really being abused and my daughter wasn't one of them. My daughter stopped talking to him. It took him a month to apologize.

Our family is spiritual, but not religious. My daughter reads sacred texts from every religion. She shared her excitement about new things she's been learning with her best friend and he told her that she couldn't possibly believe in the existence of God. He then told her if she talked about God or her beliefs that he'd give her the silent treatment. She stood up for herself. She told him that she felt it was arrogant of him to tell her what she did or didn't think, feel, or believe and even more so since he'd threatened to give her the silent treatment for talking about something that he'd never in the past had any problem with. She ignored him for about a month and he eventually apologized.

My daughter (almost 18) watched Game of Thrones, but she found the show too violent (it gave her nightmares.) She told her best friend this. He sent her taunting text messages and Game of Thrones-themed porn. She showed me the messages he sent her. I thought them creepy and disturbing.

My daughter wants to block his number, email address and social media profiles. I agree that she should do that. However, being that my daughter is a decent person, she at least wants to send him one last email stating that they've grown apart as friends rather than just severing all contact without saying something to him. His behavior has her feeling distressed and upset.

Does he even deserve an email from her saying that they've grown apart as friends before she blocks him? Should she block him, especially being that since this type of behavior began it hasn't stopped? What would have caused him to change so radically? Could he be mentally ill, a bully, a coward and insecure? Might he be drinking or using drugs? Should I speak with his parents since they live right across the street?

My daughter just informed me that her best friend recently told her that all of his ex-girlfriends ended up in therapy following dumping him, but he didn't elaborate. He might just be an abusive individual and it took a long time for the mask to come off.

  • You may want to add some paragraph breaks in there. Right now it is a huge wall of text and is kind of hard to read like that. I tried to edit them in for you, but the system has somehow decided that I cannot. – Becuzz Mar 31 '15 at 19:46
  • I appreciate your input. I did try to do some formatting at first, but it seems like it didn't work. I'll try again. – user14325 Mar 31 '15 at 19:54
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    I think your questions, as laid out in the 2nd-to-last paragraph, are much too speculation- and opinion-based to be a good fit here. There's no way for us to give a good answer about the nature of the boy and his personality. A better question, and one we could answer, is "Ways to end childhood friendships that turn sour" or something similar. I also feel this is less of a "bullying" question, and more of a relationships/conflict resolution question, and a new title may be more appropriate. – user11394 Mar 31 '15 at 20:32
  • @user14325 I think your problem with formatting is a single newline doesn't show up as a new paragraph - you have to double-newline to get a separate paragraph. – Joe Mar 31 '15 at 21:52
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    Why the downvotes? This seems like a serious problem. If the question was badly worded or otherwise "wrong" for the site, fix it. But don't vote it down without doing at least this much. – Tom Au Apr 9 '15 at 0:26
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Does he even deserve an email from her saying that they've grown apart as friends before she blocks him?

I don't think it's the right question to ask in this circumstance. People's decisions of what to give to others aren't supposed to be based on rational considerations of what the recipients "deserve".

And I don't think a "termination of relations" message is such an awesome gift that someone should have to be particularly "deserving" to receive one.

If you daughter wants to send a final message, let her. What could possibly be the harm in that?

  • Another thing to consider: sending the message may give HER closure to the issue. She will feel she has done all that is right to do, in her moral frame, which is way better than her feeling something still needs doing. – Layna Oct 25 '17 at 13:02
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We can't possibly comment on the boy's mental fitness. We don't know him; you do. I don't think you need to concentrate on his diagnosis or speculate about what psychoactive substances he may be using; you don't need help to label his behavior (which is at least insensitive and in one case crass); you only need to decide how you want to proceed.

Plenty of people grow apart, and if he is unkind to her, she has the right to distance herself from him, or block him from her life. It would be kind if she did send him a short explanation so he will understand how he has offended her, and has the opportunity to learn that not everyone appreciates his communication methods. She seems to have common sense as well as kindness, so let her do so, but support her in side-stepping the drama that might potentially follow, i.e. support her in her setting of boundaries with this boy.

I assume the boy is almost 18 as well? Your daughter and her friend are nearly adults. No one has done anything clearly illegal that I can see. If that's the case, I don't think you should talk to his parents about him (yet). They are unlikely to believe you or to find your information (and opinion) helpful. He's been insensitive to your daughter. The adult thing to do is set boundaries.

If he's truly abusive (and not just a insensitive) and continues to send her porn (the only behavior that you described which I would label as possibly abusive), she should tell him that if he continues, she will get the police involved. At that point, I might consider talking to the boy's parents if they have been your friends in the past. But telling the police is appropriate if he continues the potentially abusive behavior.

P.S. "My daughter stopped talking to him. It took him a month to apologize." "She ignored him for about a month and he eventually apologized." You might be seeing your daughter through rose-colored glasses, as this is not the behavior of one who "cares deeply about the feeling of others". They both sound like normal teenagers. No need to look to label his behavior more than hers. But as I said, she has a right to distance herself from whomever she decided to.

Edited to add: You might want to read and share an article about gaslighting, which might be going on here.

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    Another thing is that some things seem to be mutual here. She was giving him the silent treatment twice for him not adhering to her believes/opinions, but she was offended by him threatening the same thing. While it is certainly immature to do that over something that previously was not a problem, it might be based on the fact that he is from his point of view trying to "give back equally". – skymningen Feb 6 '17 at 15:13
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    but, is that abusive actions, or does he view what he is doing as about the same as what she did to him? It took him a month to apologize, which means either that's his nature, or he was adamant about his side enough that it took a month for him to cool off from her actions. Did she even ask him to stop texting those messages/pics at all? Those pictures were not illegal, right, just unwanted? If so, its a prank, and he is not doing anything wrong, at least not more wrong than her forcing him to talk about things he does not want to talk about, giving the silent treatment when he doesn't cave. – Ryan Feb 6 '17 at 21:19
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    I agree on your PS. Basically, she asked her best friend for an opinion, and when he gave it, she didn't like it, so she did not talk to him for a month, until he was forced to apologize for giving his opinion. Sounds unreasonable? Maybe she was just looking for sympathy and not an opinion, but she went to a young man who, when confronted with a problem, maybe expects to analyze and solve it. That does not seem out of bounds of male behavior. – user16557 Feb 6 '17 at 22:10
  • On the inappropriate stuff he sends, even after being asked to stop. I say just block. She has apparently already told him the messages are unwelcome. Yet another explanation is probably unnecessary. – user16557 Feb 6 '17 at 22:13
  • I was about to +1 but then I saw the gaslighting comment. If you remove that, it'll go from +0 to +1 – user24631 Jul 3 '17 at 5:02
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My teenager is unfortunately much less interested in Mama's opinions about such things than yours is!

So, since I don't get to give much advice at home to anyone, here goes!

It can be hurtful to cut someone off completely without any warning. This could be especially painful and awkward given the proximity of your houses. If your daughter hasn't already done this, I think she should lay out some boundaries with her friend. For example, "Hi Jack, you and I know each other pretty well by now, and I know that that porn you sent me was an expression of your own personal sense of humor; and I know that you're a person of strong convictions, and that you care about me and are unhappy when you think I'm thinking or doing something foolish. I get all of that. But I don't ever want you to send me any porn again. It makes me really uncomfortable." And so on, for whatever other boundaries she might want to set.

At the same time, she should work on developing other friendships to a greater extent, as a way of balancing things out.

Hopefully, he will respect the boundaries she lays out. However, if it ever does become necessary for her to block him electronically, I think she should send him a short, old-fashioned letter, communicating her decision to him, but in as non-hurtful a way as possible, for example, "I need a break from contact with you, Jack. A time-out. I wish you all the best for the rest of your senior year (or whatever)."

I don't think you should express your concerns to his parents. Teenagers are sometimes dealing with internal demons, and it sounds like this boy has his share -- but at this time, at least, I don't hear any really serious red flags.

If you have enough altruism, good will, and time to spare, you could certainly reach out in friendship to the boy and his family, and keep the lines of communication open. Perhaps occasional contact with a warm, friendly neighbor will make getting through adolescence just a tiny bit easier for him (and the two adults that have to live with him!).

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When I have had to sever friendships, I do that actual "break up". I think if you have invested in someone a lot and at one time felt close to them, that actually taking the time to handle the end of that relationship openly can be beneficial in closure for all people.

What she should do will be reliant on what she feels is right for herself. She needs to determine if it feels warranted to communicate with him that she would prefer to not longer maintain a friendship.

And for the rest, to me it comes across more as rude than abusive & people can be rude. I also think it's rude to give someone the silent treatment, so that is also an issue in there. Sometimes friends can react in rude ways when you do not expect it. Only you can determine if you are going to address that, talk it through & move past it, or if there has been enough that you no longer see the value in the relationship. I had a friend (when I was young) stick me with a massive phone bill & move out of state. A few years later she came back into town & got hold of me like nothing ever happened. I told her that I would in fact be interested in being friends again, as soon as I was repaid for that bill. Initially she was angry that I was "holding a grudge". I simply reminded her that $300+ was a huge amount of money for me at that time & I was forced to actually pay it. It would be no different to me if she had taken my credit card & bought herself $300+ worth of new clothing. Money out of my pocket that I never agreed to because you spent it, is a form of theft. She had her little awakening & didn't contact me again until she was asking if she could drop off some cash. She did pay me back completely (over several months) and when it was the final payment, she asked to take me out to dinner. We have been friends ever since. Imagine if I had totally written her off as the rude person she had acted like. That is why I say she has to make that call. I was hurt that she stuck me with a bill. She then avoided speaking to me after because she didn't have the money to pay & didn't want to feel bad about what she did, so she just dropped me. That was 20years ago now though. We are not the sum of our worst behaviors. She saw some good in this boy before now. He too is not the sum of his recently obnoxious behaviors & he may or may not be worth her time & only she knows that answer.

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This guy's bad news. The idea "to block his number, email address and social media profiles" is absolutely the right thing to do.

"Considerate" is a good attribute to have, but not at all times and all places. You and your daughter are being very generous to send the young man one last email, and give him one last chance. The odds that he'll take it appear to be small.

I'd do this only from a position of absolute strength. If you know his parents well enough to feel that talking with them might do some good, go for it. But if there's any doubt, stay away.

Protecting your daughter is your first priority. Protecting, or trying to reform the young man is way down the list. The latter is the stuff of romance novels (mine for instance), but this is real life and not fiction. So if there is anything to fear, don't even issue the last warning. And the girl friend's warning is chilling; that other girls have trouble "getting over" him. Again, this plays out a lot better in fiction than in reality.

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Interesting question. I would tend to make it simple. Your daughter does not owe anyone an explanation for whether or not she chooses to be their friend, however it would be a kind thing to do. A long friendship might deserve a goodbye. One cannot be forced and it is her call at her age. Emails can be shared and edited to look as if the person said one thing or another. If she wants a goodbye, do it in person.

Bullying can be hard to define. It might not seem to be bullying to some but regardless, if it feels like that to your daughter, it is that simple. It is bullying.

Her life, her health, her body and her mind are her own most precious possesions. She must value herself.

Whether the boy is ill or not is beyond our ability to know.

I also question her giving him the silent treatment and then being hurt when it was turned on her. I wonder how it turned out.

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I say speak to his parents and wash your hands of it. If this is atypical behavior something maybe wrong. Someone said the only predictable thing about addicts is they're unpredictable. If he's mental or on drugs his parents can probably help. He's not your responsibility. He upset your daughter and she can stop talking to someone who keeps hurting her. It sounds like you & your daughter understood the situation and handled it well.

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