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Giving Up on Donna

by Katrina Cassel

A friend's irresponsible choices were messing up my life!

All of us care about our friends, but we can’t solve all their problems or live their lives for them. Sometimes we have to give up on them. I learned this lesson the hard way.

Maybe what I learned can keep you from making the same mistakes.

When I first met Donna, I thought she was your average teen girl. She liked music, hanging around the mall, and pretty normal stuff. We started hanging out together; going to McDonald’s, bowling, and other stuff “nice girls” do. We went to church, too.

There were some things that bothered me about Donna, but I figured it was just our different personalities. One thing that bothered me was sometimes I felt she wasn’t telling me the truth about what she did when we weren’t together. Things she said contradicted. Another thing was that sometimes she’d do very impulsive or destructive things, such as throwing a lit match in a trash can at the park.

After a while I figured out that Donna was actually a very troubled girl. When we were together, she acted one way. When she was with her other friends, I’d hear stories about wild things she did. Once she took a friend’s car keys and took off with the friend’s car.

She kept it overnight, then returned it the next day as though it were all a big joke.

I asked Donna about the things she did, but she shrugged them off with, “I was just having a little fun.”

Yet the things Donna was doing were getting wilder. After a while I told her, “I just don’t feel comfortable with you anymore.”

This seemed to shake her up. She responded with, “I’ll try to do better.” She even went
forward in church and asked for prayer.

Now things will be different, I thought.

Lies and more lies

For a while it seemed Donna had really changed. She seemed calmer, and we resumed our trips to the mall and hanging out together on weekends. She even went with me on some teen volunteer projects.

Then one day after I dropped her off at home, I found a bag of marijuana in my car. That bothered me! What if someone else had seen that? What if I’d gotten stopped for a traffic violation, and the officer saw it?

When I confronted Donna, she said, “It belongs to a friend, and I was just holding onto it for them.”

She was obviously lying, which made me   wonder how many other lies she’d told me. Was our whole friendship a big lie?

I offered to help Donna get counseling. She appeared to like the idea. But when I didn’t take her to her appointments, she skipped them and hung out with her other friends, a rough group known for being in trouble with the law.

While Donna seemed to want help, I quickly figured out that she wasn’t willing to give up her drugs or other friends. Trying to convince her to do so was stressing me out.
I worried so much about her to the neglect of my responsibilities. For example, when I tried to find her to take her to counseling, I should’ve been doing homework or working my part-time job. The responsibility I assumed for Donna was changing who I was. I even felt anxious and troubled most of the time.

Letting go

Other people were starting to notice a change in me. My teachers were concerned about my schoolwork. Finally one teacher kept me after class to find out what was going on. By this time I really needed someone to talk to, so I unburdened myself about Donna.

The teacher helped me realize that I could care about Donna, but I couldn’t be responsible for her actions. She encouraged me to end the friendship and make Donna responsible for her own actions.

Even though it was hard, I sat down with Donna and tried to explain my feelings.

Donna felt that I was turning on her. She became really mad and said some cruel things. It hurt, but I knew I had to stick by what I said.

I lost contact with Donna, but from time to time I heard about her getting in trouble. I just thank God for a teacher who helped me see that I had to end a destructive friendship.

God went one step further. He sent me a Christian friend who encouraged me in my Christian walk and growth. He sent someone to be my true friend.

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