My family invited my best friend to go with us on vacation. I thought, "Wow, this is going to be so much fun!" Wrong! My mom is very organized so, whenever you're done with a dish, you have to clean it. Well, my friend never washed any dishes, so I had to do hers. Don't even get me started on our room. She left wet towels and snack wrappers all over the place! And who made her bed every day? I did. If I were to be someone's guest for a week, I'd pick up after myself.
Clean and Confused
Dear Clean and Confused,
Next time, whether it's day one of vacation or camp or college, say something right away. Not: "You're a slob--pick up after yourself!" lust: "Hey, let's both try to keep things neat." You could have said, "My mom is a neat freak, so do you mind hanging that towel up? Thanks." Your speaking up would have been good for both of you--for her, because she needs to learn to be a more considerate guest and, for you, because it's no fun to resent a friend.
I've been homeschooled for three years and have decided to go back to public school. It will be my first time in high school so I'm nervous, especially since we're moving and I'll be around kids I don't know. I've told myself I'll make friends, but I keep having thoughts of kids teasing me about the way I look (I'm goth). How can I overcome this?
Dear School Fool,
Remind yourself that other new kids will be looking for friends and that teasing tends to be less of a problem in high school because many students have outgrown the insecurities behind mean-spiritedness. Be outgoing, and sign up for after-school activities. Also, why not show up for school in an outfit that isn't so attention-getting? You're right that people judge by appearances, so it's not a bad idea to have a lower profile at least the first few days of the new school year.
I have a crush on a guy who doesn't know me. I smiled at him at the pool, and now he probably thinks I'm a freak.
Bad First Impression
Dear Bad First Impression,
Everyone feels self-conscious around a crush. For all you know, he's kicking himself for not smiling back. There's plenty of time to make a great second impression. When you see him next, instead of smiling, talk to him. Ask if the water is cold, or say you need a fourth person for volleyball or a card game. Anything! If he's nice, great. If not, at least you won't squander any more time on a jerk.
My mom doesn't let me do anything because I have three sisters, and she thinks I should stay home and play with them. My friends don't understand and get mad at me. If I tell them I can't go to the movies, they're like "Again?!" It's so not fair! My mom loves to make my life miserable.
I doubt your mom is trying to make you unhappy, but you should talk to her. Don't shout, "It's so unfair!" Instead, try to sound calm, comfortable and confident, and say, "Mom, I love my sisters. I like playing with them, and I'm willing to babysit sometimes. But my friends are important to me too, and when I can't make plans with them, it's hard on my friendships." Since your wishes are reasonable, you're better off speaking up than resenting your mom. You could also try a letter if a conversation is too tricky.
My relationships never last long. I've never been dumped--I always dump my BFs. Two weeks is the longest I've had a boyfriend. I'm too picky and expect a guy to be perfect. If he ignores me when he's hanging with his friends, I usually break up with him. Is that bad? Should I give a guy more chances?
Not every relationship is supposed to go the distance. But you're asking for trouble if you expect perfection or want a guy to pay attention to you every second. Give him breathing room. A boyfriend should not act as if you're invisible, but it's healthy for him to hang with his friends and for you to spend time with yours. You could also tell him how you feel rather than dumping him. Is it possible you're the one who needs some space? Consider taking a vacation from the whole boyfriend thing, even a short one, while you figure out what you're looking for. Going with someone can be fun, but not when you're changing BFs as often as you're changing socks.
I know you've studied in France and Spain, and I hope you'll give me an informed reply when I ask about the two languages I'm considering for high school: French and Spanish. Is one language more practical? I know the decision is mine, but I'm grateful for any information since I can't decide.
French or Spanish?
Dear French or Spanish,
Both beautiful languages! Maybe someday you'll learn both. Because I live in New York City, I speak Spanish all the time but French only when I bump into tourists. Spanish is more useful here, just as it would be in any U.S. city with a large Hispanic community. But if you're writing from Quebec, have relatives in Paris or are simply in love with all things French, go francais. It might also help to ask older students about how inspiring your school's teachers are.
I have good friends at camp, but when I ask what they're talking about, this one gift gets really mad. How can I tell her to stop getting all mad at me just because I ask about the conversation?
I'm Not That Annoying
Dear Not That Annoying,
I don't know what her deal is but, instead of quizzing a group with, "What are you talking about?" join right in after listening a moment to what's being discussed. When in doubt, jump in with a new subject: "Did you hear there was a mouse in Deer Cabin?" Or, when in doubt, you can't go wrong with a compliment like, "Love your bracelet!" or an invitation like, "who wants to go swimming later?" Camp will soon be over, but do your best to find girls who welcome your company rather than trying to become closer with a girl who chooses to act stuck-up.
My friend tells me things and then says, "Don't tell my mom." But I did once. Was it wrong of me to tell? I've known her mom forever.
Dear Not Sure,
Depends. If your friend confides about a crush, it's a breach of confidence to blab to her mom. But if your friend is talking about harming herself, it's foolish to keep that secret. Did you spill the beans to get her in trouble or to be helpful? Examine your motives, then talk to your friend. Apologize if appropriate but, if you had good reason, explain it.
I have a great boyfriend. My feelings for him haven't changed but, sometimes, I notice other girls. I can't help thinking other girls are cute and have nice figures! I know it sounds sick, but I can't help it. Am I curious, or am I gay?
Straight or Not?
Dear Straight or Not,
Girls are cute, and it's normal to look at them--especially when your own body is changing. Noticing girls doesn't mean you're gay; it means you have eyes. Even if you are attracted to girls, this is not "sick." Most girls and guys are straight, but many are gay. For now, don't label yourself. Time will help you figure all this out, and I hope you'll accept yourself no matter what you eventually discover.
My baby sister was born with a weird-looking face because one of her eyes is way lower than the other. I have overheard people saying mean things, and I wish I could help.
Protective Big Sis
My brother has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and he gets a lot of attention. When I get an A but he gets a B, my mom feels more proud of him than of me. Sometimes she plays board games with him but, when I ask her to do something with me, she won't.
Dear All Alone,
Talking to your mom or showing her this column should help her understand how you feel. But understand her position, too. It's hard to be a fair and good mom under any circumstances but even harder when one child needs a lot of extra attention. When you're ready for a heart-to-heart with your mom, pick a time when she is relaxed, like when the two of you are in a car or at bedtime. And don't say, "You always favor him." Say, "Mom, I know you work really hard to be there for my brother and I feel awkward even saying this, but I need you too because I love you." Writing a note might also help you feel less alone.
Dear Protective Big Sis,
Having you as a sister makes a difference. The National Foundation for Facial Reconstruction helps kids with facial defects regardless of finances. I believe it usually doesn't make sense to go under the knife for, say, bigger breasts. But when there's a deformity, reconstructive surgery is a godsend. Tell your parents to click on nffr.org or call (212) 263-6656.
Carol Weston's novels include Melanie in Manhattan and with Love From Spain, Melanie Martin (Knopf). Carol's advice books include Girltalk: All the Stuff Your Sister Never Told You and For Girls Only (HarperCollins). Her website is carolweston.com. You can also write Carol, c/o Girls' Life, 4517 Harford Road, Baltimore, MD, 21214. For a reply, include a stamped self-addressed envelope. She is sorry she can't answer every question personally.
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|Title Annotation:||friendship, dating and family relationships|
|Date:||Aug 1, 2005|
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