Witches' Counsel: My Best Friend Is Neglecting Me For Her Boyfriend
A recurring ~magical~ advice column.
Hi! We're Arianna and Katie and we like casting spells and giving advice. So we're combining those interests here, in Witches' Counsel, where you can send us any problems, hang-ups, fears, etc., and we will do everything in our ~power~ to help. Reach us at email@example.com.
For some time, I've been feeling like my so-called "best friend" always makes time for her boyfriend but doesn't want to make time for me. This has caused some issues between us because it makes me feel that I am not important to her, and that she cares about him more than she does her other friends — despite me being her very first friend in college, knowing most of her other friends through me, and the fact that I encouraged her to go out with her now boyfriend in the first place. I know she doesn't want to be around me much — thanks to me being angry every time I see or hear about them being together — but it makes me angry that she doesn't try to understand how I feel and work on our relationship. Is there any way for her to become a better friend towards me?
Believer of Friendship
Oof, do we ever feel you on this. Both of us have had our fair share of close friends who've all but dropped off the map upon starting a new relationship, and we'd venture to say it's something almost everyone experiences several times throughout their lives. We can't account for all the reasons this happens, because it of course depends on the individuals involved, but among them are two central facts: first, that falling in love is extraordinarily distracting, and second, that our culture places a much higher premium on romantic relationships than it does platonic ones. The latter only makes the former that much more true. People — especially girls and women — are encouraged to devote themselves entirely to finding and keeping a significant other, often to the detriment of other vital relationships. It sucks, especially because friendships can be just as rewarding and life-affirming as romantic relationships, and sometimes even more so. We're doing ourselves a disservice when we neglect our friends in favor of boyfriends and girlfriends.
It's also, of course, hurtful to the person being neglected. Of course you feel unimportant, and resentful of your friend's boyfriend. That's only natural. You are perfectly entitled to these feelings, and it's important to be honest with your friend about having them. You mention being angry when she talks about him, but have you sat her down for a real conversation about this? Because she can almost certainly tell you're annoyed, and nobody wants to be around someone who's annoyed but won't say why. You're probably not going to get over this, or at least come to terms with it, without talking to her (more) about it. And when you do talk to her, be honest. Try to talk in terms of how her actions make you feel, rather than telling her how she should be doing things differently. She is going to have to come to that realization on her own — or not.
Now, this is the harder part. You asked us to help her become a better friend toward you, and the truth is that we can't do that. This is for a few reasons. One is that we can't do spells on people who didn't ask us for them directly. Another is that we don't think that's the most pressing issue here. What we think you could benefit most from is a break from negative feelings. You are dwelling on what you feel is owed to you, and one of the hardest things to accept about human relationships is that they just don't really work that way. It's great that you've been there for your friend since the start, and it's also great that you introduced her to many of her friends. But you're holding onto these things like poker chips you can exchange, and they're not. You have to let them go. Your friend will shape up and get better at this or she won't, but you can't drag her back to you. She must choose to do so herself. And hopefully, after you talk to her, eventually, she will.
In the meantime, our magical recommendation: take a nice, soothing negative energy removal bath (taken from Everyday Magic by Dorothy Morrison). This is a great way to let go of grudges and tend to the little spiritual wounds we've accumulated from other people. Here's what you should do: Put six tablespoons of basil in a coffee filter, fill up your coffee pot with water, and run it through like you would coffee grounds. At the same time, draw a warm (but not too hot) bath. When the basil infusion is done, pour it into the bathwater and chant:
Basil, herb of light and day,
Wash negative energy completely away.
Stay in the water for six minutes, allowing yourself to be completely immersed (if you can) four times. Each time you go underwater, visualize your hard feelings and negativity floating off your body.
Hang in there, Believer, and know that — regardless of whether this friend in particular comes to recognize it, or whether it'll be others yet to come — your dedication to friendship is a good and true and admirable thing.
I have taken my drivers test for the second time now, and still no luck in passing it. My next appointment is soon and I really want to pass it since it will be my last chance. I really don't enjoy driving and would like to get my license just so my father can stop pressuring me about not having a license while everyone else (cousins, friends, brother, etc...) has it. Would appreciate any help you can offer, thank you.
License Wanted ASAP
So you've got a couple different things going on in your email. You want to pass the road test, which is hard and scary and which, sure, we could probably throw some good luck charms at — but then, perhaps more significantly, you've got this needling concern underneath it all saying you'd rather not be taking this test at all.
This is super understandable! Driving isn't for everyone! One of us didn't get her license until she was 21, after she had failed the test twice. (Now she is a great driver who has never once had an accident or ticket — knock on wood — and who has actually grown to love it.) It was tough, especially living in the suburbs where a driver's license is seen as a marker of maturity or independence. It doesn't have to be. Live in any walking city and you'll find a majority of people who travel without car, many of whom have never even tried to learn. There are other (greener, but that's another issue) alternatives, depending where you live — public transportation, cycling, good ol' walking.
That said, it's a handy skill to have. Even if you don't need to drive, it's nice to have the option. Say you're moving, or like to travel, or feel like going to IKEA— being able to rent or borrow a car can save you money and get you out of a jam. But there is no rush to get it, and besides, all of the external pressure you're describing won't help you get there.
There's one thing that can help in all aspects of your problem, and it is confidence. With it, you can be more secure during the actual test (trust us, we understand how difficult it can be to perform when someone is watching, even if you've done the exact same thing a million times before); or — if you decide now just isn't the right time to take the exam — more self-assured when you explain this decision to your dad, cousin, friend, whoever.
So we did a spell to boost your confidence, modified from an awesome Tumblr called The Witch's Spellbook. We carved a red candle with your name, the Soliwo rune (for success), and the Uruz rune (for strength and will). Then we anointed the candle with bergamot oil. We lit the candle, meditating on you and your question, and then wrote the word "confidence" on a slip of paper. Holding the paper in front of the flame, we said:
By this candle burning bright,
And by this chant that we recite,
We fill [your name] with strength and light,
New confidence we now ignite.
Then we lit the paper from the flame and placed it in a fire-proof dish. As it burned, we said, "[Your name] is confident and strong and free, just the way that she should be."
If you do go forward and take the exam: Dorothy Morrison of Everyday Magic recommends carrying three Job's tears (vegetable seeds) in your pocket for good luck.
And, of course: practice, practice, practice. It's possible to get to a level of comfort that all the nerves in the world won't mess with.
Got a problem for the Witches?
Send your questions and concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org.