Q&A with Dr. Dorothy: Your tough questions answered
Dorothy Ratusny is a Certified Psychotherapist specializing in Cognitive Therapy.
My friend’s mom found a bottle of alcohol in her bag and she said it was mine. But it was really hers. Her mom gave me a big lecture and said she wouldn’t tell my parents…this time. I hate that her parents think the stuff was mine. How should I deal with this?
In a situation like this, the most important thing is knowing your truth. Ultimately, your friend’s secret will come out and she will have to face her parents especially if she is drinking on a regular basis. For now, you may decide to let your friend know that it was not cool to lie, and to make you out to be the ‘bad guy’. You may also feel strongly enough about speaking your truth, to tell her that you won’t take the fall for her should she get caught again. You can remind her that if she is making the decision to drink, it’s also important for her to take responsibility for her decision.
My friend likes to “sneak a treat” when we go into convenience stores. Usually it’s a pack of gum or maybe a chocolate bar. I don’t think it’s cool and I don’t want to get in trouble for her shoplifting. What should I do?
Speak your mind. Find a time when the two of you are just hanging out together (but not when you happen to be in a convenience store!), and explain how you feel. Remember that your delivery of the message is just as important as the message itself. If you explain how you feel and why, hopefully your friend will give some serious thought to what she is doing. If she becomes defensive, or denies shoplifting altogether, then you have another set of choices to make. You can continue to hang out with her (knowing that this behavior may continue to repeat itself), or end it. If you feel comfortable enough within the friendship to be honest about how you feel, then you will also have to accept the fact that your friend is going to make her own decision around this issue in the end. Hopefully, the fact that you raised this with her will force your friend to take a serious look at what she is doing—and at the consequences of her actions.
I can’t stop thinking about this guy I like. Every waking moment I think about him. I can’t concentrate on school or my job, and I can’t fall asleep at night. He’s not interested in me so how do I get him out of my head?
When you really like someone, it’s natural to think about them a great deal. However, if your thoughts of this guy seem to have taken on a life of their own, and you want to get him ‘out of your head’ try the following: First, catch yourself in those moments when you are thinking or obsessing about him and make a conscious effort to distract yourself. You can distract yourself by purposely focusing your attention on something different, bringing your attention back to what it was you were doing before you caught yourself daydreaming about him, talking to a friend, doing an activity you like, or getting physically active. All of these strategies will help you to switch your attention back to the present moment. You will find that at first, you will have to practice ‘distracting’ yourself a great deal as your mind will often wander back to thoughts of this particular guy. With some effort, you will find that you are able to create longer and longer periods of time in which you are not thinking about him—and enjoying whatever it is that you are doing in your life instead!
I tried out for the role of Dorothy for our school production of The Wizard of Oz. Everyone said I was amazing but another girl got the part. I think (and others do as well) I didn’t get it because I’m black. What should I do?
It depends on what do you want to do. If this issue is really important to you (and it sounds like it may be), and you feel that there has been an injustice, it would be appropriate to raise the issue with whoever made the final casting decision. You may or may not get an honest answer about why you were not chosen for the part, but at least you will have had an opportunity to speak up for what you believe was right. That is the most important thing. Speaking it versus keeping it to yourself, puts it out there. In other words, if the director did choose someone else for the part because you are black, then you will have at least brought the issue out in the open. Even though you still don’t end up in the role of Dorothy, it’s quite possible that this sort of thing (assuming you were right) does not happen again in the future.
For more on Dorothy check out www.dorothyratusny.com