My name is Brianna and I have somewhat of a dilemma on my hands. My first cousin, Kyla, and I are Freshmen at an HBCU in Mississippi. We grew up together like sisters attending church, social events, sleepovers, etc. She is really my best friend. We had a strict upbringing which I didn’t mind because I looked at it as though it was making us better human beings. Kyla, on the other hand, resented our upbringing, always saying she wanted to go out and hang out with her other friends and be a normal kid. Since arriving on campus Kyla has shown me a totally different side of her. She has a new group of friends upon which she stays out with all night drinking, using illegal narcotics and fornicating. She is not the same person that I grew up with. I’m really concerned about her well-being. Last week she got into a minor fender bender because she was intoxicated. Thank God she is alright. O how should I approach her and tell her that this is not a good look for her. She is very combative and when I attempt to say anything to her she curses me out and tells me I’m old fashioned. PLEASE HELP ME!
Dear Concerned Cousin:
You have to first understand that everybody isn’t the same as you. No matter how you grew up or who you were around, you won’t have the same mind or heart as another individual. With that being said, don’t approach the situation from an aspect of relating her actions to how you were raised as if you are comparing the two of you. Instead, just note that you have been observing her actions and they could possibly lead her down a dangerous and negative path if she doesn’t get control of it quickly. To add to that, be mindful of how you speak to her because it may be the reason that she may come off as “combative.” Be sure to come off as genuine and not judgmental because it can dictate the course of the conversation.
In the end whether she is receptive of your comments or not, you have to let her make her own decisions and deal with her own consequences. In the case that she doesn’t listen, let her find out for herself by making her own mistakes and finding out which group of people are right or wrong for her on her own. Your job isn’t to correct her every mistake but to be there for her when she does make one with a helping hand and not a judgmental heart.