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Dear Carol.

Dear Carol,

I really want a boyfriend, but my morn won't let me have one. She says it's stupid to have a boyfriend while I am a young teenager and that it's better to just be good friends with a guy.

BF-less

Dear BF-less,

I know this is not what you want to hear, but friendships do often outlast romance so why have a family feud if no particular boy is knocking on your door just yet? Someday, you'll meet a great guy you'll want to get to know better. For now, no need to be in such a rush.

Dear Carol,

I just got back from a camping trip with my BFF, and I noticed things about her I never noticed before--sarcasm and "show-offiness" in front of people we met. She seems to need attention and will do anything for a laugh. I have other friends, so should I dump this one?

Different

Dear Different,

Are you sure this is something you "never noticed before," or could it be that your BFF was just acting over-the-top because she was trying to be accepted in unfamiliar surroundings? Some girls get nervous and giddy when out of their element or feeling insecure. She might not realize how she came off, so perhaps you could talk with her rather than just dumping your BFF outright. When you two are alone, ask what's going on--maybe even mention you've noticed she's been a bit sarcastic lately. She might appreciate you pointing it out to her--and letting her know she doesn't have to show off to be valued as your friend.

Dear Carol,

I need help and fast. My boyfriend and I always fight, but we love each other a lot and don't want to break up. What should I do to solve the problem? We fight over the dumbest things, but we always get over it. Is that good?

Boyfriend Fighter

Dear Boyfriend Fighter,

It's good that you always get over it--not good that you always fight. Try changing your tone of voice to break the pattern. If he wants to watch Shanghai Knights on DVD but you've both already seen it a zillion times, say, "I know you like that movie, but what else is there?" That will go over way better than, "No way! I'm sick of that movie, and you never let me pick." Instead of fighting like siblings who can't stand each other, take a step back and ask yourself, "If this were our first date, what would I say?" Then say that. And, sorry, but I have to ask: Are you absolutely sure you two don't want to break up? It takes two to make or break a relationship, and all the changing in the world on your part won't make any difference if he's not equally interested in getting along. The thought of ending it might seem scary but, then again, don't you think there might be a more peaceful relationship out there lot you--one with lots of talking and laughing, and not so much arguing and fighting?

Dear Carol,

I caught my new BF cheating on me with this snobby girl, who happens to be my next-door neighbor. I saw them holding hands and kissing, I don't really know how to take it. When I told my BFF, she offered to slap him for me. Should I let her?

Two-Timed

Dear Two-Timed,

Definitely not. Slapping someone is unacceptable, and having a friend slap someone for you is even worse. Tell your BF you were upset to see him with your neighbor and that you two obviously aren't looking for the same kind of relationship. Then, move on by telling yourself it may have been fun while it lasted but that your new BF is not a keeper. Be glad you found out sooner rather than later.

Dear Carol

I've been best friends with this girl for two years now, but my parents don't like her. They say she makes my grades drop and influences my attitude. The fact is, my grades haven't changed (still straight A's) and neither has my attitude. I really wish I could get them to like her. It's hard for us to hang out.

Clueless

Dear Clueless,

It might help if you point out to your parents that you are still making A's. And it's normal for your attitude to be changing a little--that's part of adolescence and not your friend's fault. Explain to your folks that, because you're a hard-working student, you like to relax sometimes with your BFF. Also, is there a particular parental button your friend keeps accidentally pushing? For instance, if she keeps inviting you out on school nights, you could say, "Grades are way important to my parents. They don't let me go out on school nights but I'd love to do stuff on the weekends." Understand that just as you don't like all your parents' friends, they won't like all of yours. Spend time with your friend at school (at lunch, study hall, between classes). If possible, join student government or some other afterschool club together, and make the best of the time you do have together.

Dear Carol,

I really like this eighth-grade guy and, for a while, I thought he liked me back, I asked him out, but he said he doesn't go out with seventh-graders. Two days later, he asked out a popular seventh-grade girl--right in front of me! I can't quit liking him, and I feel really bad.

Helpless

Dear Helpless,

He asked a girl out while you were standing there? That's obnoxious! what an immature jer ... Oops. Dear Carol should not indulge in name-calling! Clearly, he is not Mr. Wonderful. He is insensitive to your feelings, which shows he would not have been the world's most caring boyfriend. There are billions of other guys out there, so don't let this unworthy one influence your moods. You're hurting, but this wound will heal--especially if you stay busy with real friends.

Dear Carol,

I have to go to the doctor and get my private parts looked at. I'm really scared. I don't know why. I'm going to a woman doctor, so I know she has the same stuff down there as I do. Why am I so nervous about it?

Scared

Dear Scared,

New experiences often make people feel scared. But don't worry--your doctor is a pro. Doctors--female and male--see tons of girls all the time. It's their job to look after their patients' health. Feel free to tell your doctor you're nervous. If you feel uncomfortable during the exam, go through the alphabet backward and come up with a gift's name for each letter: Zoe, Yvette, Xena, Wendy, Vanessa--it's difficult and distracting! Another trick while at the doctor's or dentist's? Count backward from 100 by three's: 100, 97, 94, 91 ...

Dear Carol,

Every time I try to tell my parents something, they talk about something else. When I yell to get their attention, they get mad at me. They say I'm too loud. Maybe I am, but I'm used to it.

Not Being Heard

Dear Not Being Heard,

Next time you want your parents' attention, instead of turning up the volume, choose your words carefully and find a time when they aren't too crazed. Say, "Morn, Dad, I need to tell you something. Is this an OK time?" Chances are, they'll listen. If not, show them this page!

Dear Carol,

My parents drink too much. I don't mean wine with dinner. They get mean or pass out when they drink, it's awful. How can I get them to stop?

Bad Situation

Dear Bad Situation,

You can't make them stop, but you are not alone and can get help for this very serious problem. There are many support systems for kids. Alcoholism is a common disease that wreaks havoc on many families. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is an organization that helps people swear off drinking, one day at a time. Alateen is part of AA and is for kids who have family members with drinking problems. Go on the Web and visit www.alcoholicsanonymous.com or www.al-anon.alateen.org. Or call 1-888-4-AL-ANON on weekdays--the call does not show up on your phone bill. If possible, enlist an aunt, uncle, grandparent or other adult relative who doesn't drink to help you confront your parents with compassion, not accusations. Some people throw loved ones a "surprise party" with an agenda. Several near and dear ones gather to say, "We're worried about you and love you too much to watch you drink your life away. You need help." The drinkers' first response is likely to be anger and denial. But, eventually, many drinkers become ex-drinkers. Good luck.

Dear Carol,

I like to try on different kinds of makeup, but my dad hates it. Should I go with no makeup, use it only for special occasions or keep it a secret that I wear it? It won't always be my dad's decision what I can and can't put on my face, right?

Makeup Blowout

Dear Makeup Blowout,

Right. But doing something your dad hates probably makes you both uneasy. Can you talk to your dad about this? Maybe part of him can't bear to see his little girl grow up. You are crossing a threshold from little kid to mature teen--this is tough on dads! Reassure him that you will always be his daughter but that you're at an age where you like to wear a little lip gloss. When it comes to makeup, if you ask me (and you did!), less is more. Makeup companies make millions of bucks selling cosmetics to girls, but most girls look like a million bucks without it!

Carol Weston's books include For Teens Only, Girltalk, Private and Personal (HarperCollins), and the novels The Diary of Melanie Martin and Melanie Martin Goes Dutch (Knopf). Her Web site is www.carolweston.com. You can write Carol c/o Girls' Life, 4517 Harford Road, Baltimore. MD 21214. For a reply, include a stamped, self-addressed envelope. Carol is sorry she can't answer every question personally.
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Author:Weston, Carol
Publication:Girls' Life
Date:Oct 1, 2003
Words:1680
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