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Published May 7th, 2014
Overcoming Irritations
Linda Lan Phung, a Miramonte High School senior who volunteers throughout the East Bay, is an officer with Club Be the Star You Are!(r), and strives for 17-second miracles, inspired by author Jason Wright.

We all have that one friend or family member who is consistently annoying. He or she borrows your belongings without consent, bumps into you without apologizing, or constantly complains. The issues are sometimes more grave like gossiping about your personal life or whispering secrets.
Recently, a situation arose that I had to address with a friend from middle school. Approaching the topic and the time to talk were challenging. How could I tell her, without offending her, that she hurt me with her behavior and that I wanted her to change?
A Miramonte High School senior who was facing a similar situation with a classmate who was constantly texting her asking for homework instructions suggested to me to "talk to the person and if change doesn't happen, talk again." By responding in a polite manner, the senior was able to resolve her problem by recommending that the student look at the homework agenda.
For an anonymous junior, her father's loud eating habits bothered her. However, she said, "It is better to ignore the little things instead of criticizing something that is not a big deal." She continued, adding, "I do not want to hurt his feelings."
No matter how frustrated or irritated we become, we have to choose our battles. Sometimes the person that aggravates us the most may not even be aware that they are causing a maddening situation.
A freshman friend of mine would text people late at night, without realizing that her friends were already asleep. She said, "One day, one of them bravely told me that my texts woke them up and that I needed to text earlier." Because she was told in a straightforward manner, she was able to alter her texting habits. No ugly confrontation occurred, and the two continued their friendship. She was able to salvage her other friendships by being more aware of others' lifestyles.
I was able to solve my own issue through talking to my friend, saving a friendship of more than five years. Communication is vital in any kind of relationship. Rather than bottling up feelings, it is better to face conflicts head-on. We also need to be aware that we can't change another person. We only have the power to change our self. It's not what happens to us but how we respond to it that matters. If the issue is not that monumental of an issue, it may be best to just "let it go" but when something is truly egregious, we must confront the problem with diplomacy and tact. As teens, engaging in a constructive conversation is an essential lesson that will help us overcome irritations and maintain positive relationships for a lifetime.

Teen Scene is YOUR voice. If you have something to say or have writing skills and want to be part of our Teen Scene team, email our Teen Coach, Cynthia Brian, Cynthia@CynthiaBrian.com.

The opinions expressed in Teen Scene are those of the writer and not necessarily those of the Lamorinda Weekly.

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