Speak Up Q&A Board

What kinds of ideas can I give to my friends to help others and to spread awareness?

It’s great that you want to stand up against teen dating abuse by activating your friends – way to go! A great first advice to give is to emphasize the importance of showing support and be a good listener to any person in need.

Also, start conversations! Encourage your friends to learn more about the issue and to start talking about it in their communities. This is often the easiest and most efficient way to spread awareness.

Share resources! That’s Not Cool, Love is Respect and Break the Cycle are all great organizations where your friends can find resources. If you or your friends want to get more involved in the issue you can let them know about our Ambassador Program. The Ambassador program supports youth leaders in taking actions to spread awareness about teen dating violence and prevention in their schools and communities.

Friend might be in an abusive relationship…I want to help but I don’t know how. What should I do?

Thanks for being a good friend, it sounds like they need positive relationships in their life right now.

Don’t be afraid to ask your friend what’s going on! Tell them that you’ve noticed some things that seem concerning, and you want what’s best for them. Be a good listener and remind them that this kind of behavior is abusive – it is not normal, it is not okay and they deserve better. has a great resource for getting help for a friend: click here to visit the page.

Sometimes it can feel like you’re not doing enough to help, but know that you’re supporting them simply by listening and showing them that you care.

How can I be a supportive friend while not supporting abuse?

Hi! Firstly, you’re doing a great job being a supportive and caring friend! Watching a friend being in an unhealthy relationship is really difficult, and it’s not easy knowing how to help out. The decision to leave the relationship can only be made by your friend, though you can do several things to support her. Focus on her rather than her abusive partner. Be there for her as a good listener and make sure that she feels comfortable talking with you about her relationship by acknowledging her feelings and decisions.

Also, help your friend recognize that her partner’s behavior is NOT normal and are showing signs of abuse. If your friend needs additional support, don’t hesitate to guide her to good resources. is a great organization that provides peer support and information for both people in abusive relationships and their concerned friends and family members.

I have nothing to hide, but I still don’t wanna be giving out my password. What should I say to my S.O.?

Your privacy is a priority, and you shouldn’t be put in a situation where your S.O. is pressuring you into giving them access to something that you don’t want to.

Let them know that you’re not going to give them your password but that they can always talk to you about things if they are feeling jealous or worried. Communication should be open – but your social media accounts are yours alone. If they don’t respect your boundaries, you may need to have a bigger conversation.

What do I do when I like someone but they are sending me really controlling and harassing texts?

This is a stressful situation! On one hand, you like this person and are glad that they’re contacting you. On the other hand, you wish they were going about it in a totally different way – and we’re with you on that.

Let this person know that you think they’re cool, but you’re not cool with them keeping tabs on you. Tell them that you need them to back off and chill with the questions. If they aren’t understanding, it may be time to rethink your relationship with them. Control is a form of abuse, and if this person continues to act in this way they are a huge risk to you.

How do I tell someone I don’t want to send them naked pics but I still want to talk to them?

It’s not fair for someone to pressure you, and anyone you’re talking to should be respectful of what you’re comfortable or not comfortable with. Tell them exactly how you feel – that you like talking to them but that you’re not comfortable sending them sexy photos. If they respond by trying to convince you to change your mind, you have the complete right to tell them that you’re not going to talk to them anymore. You don’t want to be with someone who doesn’t respect your boundaries. If they’re cool, they’ll be cool with your limits. If not… they don’t deserve to be a part of your life.

How do I deal with my ex spreading rumors about me at school?

It is really hurtful when people who you’ve cared about break your trust. We are so sorry that you are going through this right now. There are a couple of things you can do to take care of yourself and address the situation:

  • Talk to a trusted adult: It may be helpful to talk to someone such as your school counselor, your parent/a friend’s parent, a coach or a teacher to get advice or encouragement. Keep them updated about how you’re doing. If you’re comfortable with it, it could be good to have someone in the school setting who can speak back against the rumors should they overhear them being spread.
  • Speak up: Calmly confront your ex in a safe place. If it makes you feel more comfortable, it may be a good idea to have friends nearby (but out of earshot so that your conversation can remain private). Tell them that you are upset by the things they have been saying, that they have broken your trust, and ask them to stop. Don’t expect a perfect response from them–you don’t even have to wait for a response if you don’t want to. You can say what you need to say and walk away.
  • Stick with your friends: Find your people and stick with them! No one should have to face this kind of thing alone. Even if it’s one person who is filled in on the situation, keep them updated and don’t hesitate to vent to them when you’re upset and overwhelmed.
  • Take care of you: Having your trust broken and your reputation skewed can be extremely distressing and effect lots of different pieces of your life. Take care of yourself–do things that make you feel relaxed, safe, strong, happy. It won’t always be like this, but while it is, be extra receptive to your own needs and kind to yourself.
  • If the rumors are being spread online: Double check your privacy settings and change them as needed. Block your ex and their friends if they are directly harassing you.

How do I tell my S.O. when they hurt my feelings?

Hey there! Communication (especially when it comes to confrontation) can be scary because it requires honesty and vulnerability. It takes courage to open yourself up to those kind of conversations. So it’s okay that this is a little challenging. Conflict is not a bad thing. In fact, conflict brings growth when it is done in a healthy and respectful way. Here are some tips:

  • When and where: Set some time apart to talk to them, and find a form of communication that works for you. Some people can have serious conversations over text, but we wouldn’t recommend that. Find a place to talk in person that is private and where you won’t be easily distracted. Other tips: it’s best not to talk extremely late at night, when one of you is sick or hangry (hungry to the point of anger), stressed, or in a time crunch. You want to give the conversation the respect it deserves!
  • What to say: Tell your S.O. that you want to talk to them about communication! Start with the basics – convey to them that you want to be honest when your feelings are hurt, but you’re scared to create conflict. Communicate to them that it’s important to you that they’re open to hearing about & caring for your feelings. To tell them what made you upset, it’s helpful to use “I” statements. Ex: “I felt hurt when you made fun of my favorite song because I was excited to share it with you.” This is better than a “you” statement that can seem blameful (Ex: “You are so rude, you didn’t even care when I showed you my favorite song.”) Don’t throw around accusations, but don’t sugarcoat or hide your true feelings. You can do this! It’s not always easy, but it is healthy and necessary.

How do I reassure my S.O. that I care about them while still keeping boundaries in the texting world?

Many of us have been there! Texting is a super convenient and fun way to stay connected with people you care about. But, like most things, it can become unhealthy if you don’t set boundaries.

You can tell your S.O. exactly how you are feeling – that you care a lot about them and that you have fun texting them. But you also need to be honest about the harder things too, that sometimes it can be a little overwhelming when they send a lot of texts or get upset at your response time. This is a good time to have an overall conversation about both of your expectations and assumptions in the digital world. Maybe your S.O. had a negative experience in the past that is affecting how they’re experiencing your relationship now, or maybe they simply put a higher value on digital connection than you do! Whatever it may be, communicating about the situation will help both of you understand one another better and set comfortable boundaries. You care about your S.O. and they care about you – relationships have tricky moments like these, but with honest communication and healthy boundaries you can work things out. You got this!