DEAR ABBY: My best friend, "Bette," is one of the nicest, smartest teens you'll ever meet. I enjoy her company, we get along great, and we have a lot in common. She's also my role model, since I'm two years younger than she is. (I skipped a couple of grades.)
Recently, Bette has been smoking weed and encouraging me to try it. I am very against smoking. I'm afraid Bette might be doing the wrong thing. She says it's OK because she does it only a little bit.
How can I persuade her to stop? Should I even try? Will I be ruining a great friendship? -- NEEDS HELP IN GEORGIA
DEAR NEEDS HELP: You appear to be more mature than your older friend. Not only is pot smoking generally unhealthy, it impairs your judgment. Marijuana can affect memory and the choices smokers make while under the influence. It is also illegal, with all that implies.
It is important that you understand that people change as they mature -- or fail to mature. If Bette continues on this path, she may eventually begin spending more time with other kids who smoke pot. It could affect her grades and her participation in sports and other interests. You may have less and less in common. So start developing friendships with other students whose interests and goals are similar to yours and continue moving forward on your own wholesome path.
By all means, try to persuade Bette to stop; as her friend, it is the right thing to do. But she is ultimately responsible for her own behavior -- or misbehavior -- and you have to protect your own future.