Today (or yesterday now... XD) I was reading Dear Abby, which I sometimes do. Sometimes I like her advice, sometimes I think it's awful. Today, I was horrified.Here's Dear Abby's site.
The article you want is "Teen Feels Pressured to Party" from July 20, 2011.
Basically, a young girl, Feeling Pressured, is being pressured to do things she doesn't want to by her so-called friend, Brianna. She doesn't want to do these things and feels very isolated. She's also afraid that Brianna will make everyone hate her if she doesn't. She asks Abby what she should do.
Abby responds by saying she's intelligent, not everyone does want to do these things, and that she shouldn't do things just because Brianna does. There's no real encouragement though, or advice for how to handle this. Instead, Abby continues on in a BLATANT
promotion of a booklet she's written, "What Every Teen Needs to Know".
Excuse me? What? A young girl comes to you for help and you ADVERTISE your own crap instead of helping her?! Abby, you need a reality check and a good dose of humility. A tiny two sentence blurb at the end would have been fine, but this was just disgusting!
So here's the reply I sent to her:
I read your column today, "Teen Feels Pressured to Party," and I am truly horrified. This young girl is showing not only intelligence, as you say, but a lot of courage just in admitting to her problem by writing you. She was also showing a world of respect and trust in you to help her. However, the only helpful thing you really said was that she was not alone in her feelings.
Yes, Brianna is more of a bully than a friend, as you say, but it's still going to hurt this poor girl to lose her as a friend. And if this Brianna turn on "Feeling Pressured", she's going to feel a lot more hurt than that. She's going to go to a very bad place, and she needs more encouragement than a simple "just because she does it, doesn't mean you should." She needs someone to tell her that this worst might not happen. She can find new friends and survive even if it does. She does not need to have her mentor's advice to devolve into an advertisement for her own booklet.
I can empathise with this girl. My final year of high school I was ostracised by my entire school for one former friend's lies. I'd been going to the same small private school with the same classmates since the 5th grade at that point. So I speak from experience when I say, "Feeling Pressured" needs more, and deserves better, than this display of utter selfishness. You might actually have done more harm than good here.
I believe you owe "Feeling Pressured" an apology. A very heartfelt and big one with exactly WHY you owe it to her. And I believe you owe your readers one as well for this egregious breach of trust.
Just to reiterate: Shame on you, Abby. You should have known far better than this.