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Dear Carol.

Dear Carol,

I've had a best guy friend since third grade. I asked him out last month, and he said, "I would just like it if we stayed really close friends." I like him so much, I just want to give him one kiss! If I could get that out of my system, my whole life would be better. My grades would go up, and I would stop daydreaming. How could I possibly give him just one kiss (not French-kiss, just regular) and still remain good friends? I need this so much, you can't believe it.

Just One Kiss

Dear Just One Kiss,

I know the feeling but, unfortunately, I can't say, "Who cares that he wants to be just friends? If you feel like kissing him, hey, go for it!" Doesn't work that way. I know you're yearning for more, but try to enjoy the friendship. If you rush to pucker up, he might go into panic mode. Wouldn't you freak if a guy friend surprised you with a kiss? (I mean, a different guy friend!) Besides, even if you were to cop that kiss, you would not magically get A's or stop daydreaming. You might even daydream about more kisses! Will the two of you cozy up someday? Maybe, maybe not. For now, keep your head out of the clouds.

Dear Carol,

I'm on a volleyball team, and my friend and I skipped a practice. The coach found out, so she didn't let us play the next game. The coach doesn't care that much anymore, but I still feel terrible. How can I get over my guilt?

Ditcher

Dear Ditcher,

You're no ditcher--you're a girl who ditched one time and feels terrible about it and won't make that mistake again. You got caught and learned that you feel better playing by the rules. Now, give yourself permission to move on.

Dear Carol,

I've been best friends with this girl practically forever. We were never in the same classes but, this year, we are in almost every class together. It's great, except she gets really jealous whenever I get a good grade.

Down With a Friend

Dear Down With a Friend,

It's tough having a jealous friend but, believe it or not, it's also tough for her being the jealous one. Be sure you're not boasting about your grades. If you are humble and she still holds your A's against you, speak up. Say, "I wish you wouldn't be mad about my grades. I could act jealous of your great singing voice or how well you shoot baskets, but I'm happy for you. Let's support each other, OK?" Friendships often go through growing pains but, since you two are so tight, it's worth working through this.

Dear Carol,

My parents are divorcing, and my mom is doing things I never thought she would. I was on her side, but now' I'm on my dad's side, I might go live with him. Is that the right thing to do?

Parent Problem

Dear Parent Problem,

I'm sorry you're going through this. Your parents are divorcing each other, not you, so you do not have to choose whose side you are on. As for which parent to live with, that's a complicated and important question. Instead of considering which parent you feel is in the wrong, ask yourself which parent can take better care of you and with whom you'd be happiest. Is one parent staying near your school while the other is moving? Does either have a substance abuse problem or too-hectic work schedule? Talking to kids with divorced parents may provide insight, but it'd be ideal to talk to a counselor.

Dear Carol,

I don't want to stay friends with this girl, but she can't accept it. She is one of those big baby types. When I told her I don't want to be her friend anymore, she got mad and told her mom. Now her mom won't let me talk to her older sister, and we were close too.

Really Mad

Dear Really Mad,

Can you see things from your former friend's point of view? Of course she's upset. You don't want to be her friend. That hurts. Honesty is a virtue, but be aware of others' feelings. Telling someone a friendship is over causes anguish, which is why it's often best to drift away subtly. What to do? Apologize, or lie low. Time will help but, for now, talk with the sister in school or online--don't call her home.

Dear Carol,

Do you think teenagers are too young to experience love?

Wondering

Dear Wondering,

No. But too many girls go out with someone for just two days or two weeks, then label it love and try to rush the physical stuff. Being in a hurry can lead to heartbreak or disaster. Falling in love is wonderful, but be patient. It's wise to invest in your interests and schoolwork, not just on one crush after the next.

Dear Carol,

My sister and I get in too many fights. My mom says she and her sibs only fought once. My parents don't think it's normal that we fight. What should I do?

Family Feud

Dear Family Feud,

Some families are more combative than others and, yes, it's normal for siblings to fight. It's possible your mom has a selective memory, but it's definite that you and your sister fight too much, so try changing your ways. Next time you are about to go at each other, say, "I don't really want to fight, do you?" Or simply walk away from her. Or shock yourself by saying something nice that will end a fight (like, "Yes, you can borrow my sweater") rather than something aggressive that will keep it going (Like, "Stay out of my closet!"). It's great when sisters can be friends, so treat each other with respect. Compliment her, share earrings and popcorn, say things like, "Good luck on the test." It won't kill you. Change won't happen overnight, but relationships are like mirrors. If you yell, you get yelled at. If you act sweet, sweetness comes back to you.

Dear Carol,

All my friends wear makeup, but my mom won't let me. I sneak it sometimes, but my little brother sees me wearing it at school and tells on me. I hate how I look without makeup. How can I get her to give in?

Wanting to Look Pretty

Dear Wanting to Look Pretty,

I'm sure you are pretty without makeup, and I hate that you "hate" the way you look au naturel. Instead of telling your mom "all" your friends wear makeup, how about compromising? Say, "Mom, I'd like to wear just a little lip gloss to school. I don't want to go behind your back, so is it OK?" Good luck, but don't fall into the trap of thinking girls need products to look presentable. It's just not true. Girls are beautiful--with or without makeup.

Dear Carol,

My best friend hasn't eaten anything at lunch for two days. She says she isn't hungry, but I know she thinks she's fat. Even though she knows about eating disorders, she's lock-jawed. I told her she's scaring me, but she won't listen. My other friends say there's nothing I can do, but I think it's serious.

Really Concerned

Dear Really Concerned,

It's great to be concerned, but keep your perspective. Skipping two lunches is not a healthy decision, but it's no reason to call 911. If she keeps skipping meals, confide in your mom or a school counselor. From here, I can't tell if your friend has a budding eating disorder or simply doesn't know how to drop pounds healthfully. I applaud you for caring about your friend, but show your concern without nagging or monitoring her every bite. As for your friends saying there's nothing you can do, they are mistaken. Friends can always help by listening to, encouraging and supporting each other.

Dear Carol,

I feel stupid asking this, but I've been having sexual desires and I'm only going into seventh grade! My mom told me I'd be having feelings for boys, but does she mean these kinds of feelings? I would, of course, never think about actually having sex, but I do think about what it would be like when I'm older and married. Is this normal, or should I get help?

Too Sexy For My Shirt

Dear Too Sexy For My Shirt,

It's normal to think about this and normal not to. You are right that it would be a terrible idea to act on these sexual feelings, but thinking thoughts is completely natural. No cause for worry. It's all part of growing up.

Dear Carol,

My parents recently told me I had a twin who died at birth. They told my sister about four years ago, but not me. I don't know what tears me up more--the fact that my twin died or that they didn't tell me sooner.

Help!

Dear Help!,

Wow, that's some heavy information. Your parents probably did not tell you because they knew it would upset you. What they did not realize was that there's never an ideal time to share such unsettling news. Your mixed-up feelings are legitimate, but it's not too late to talk now. Tell your parents you feel sad knowing you had a twin and that you wish they'd told you. Be frank, but have some compassion for what they went through. I'm sure it wasn't easy for them to experience a birth and death at the same time. It may take some time for you to fully deal with your new knowledge, but this loss is a reminder that families are precious--and not to be taken for granted.

Want more advice? Carol Weston's books include Girltalk: All the Stuff Your Sister Never Told You and For Girls Only (HarperCollins). Her novels include Melanie in Manhattan and With Love From Spain, Melanie Martin (Knopf). 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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Article Details
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Title Annotation:friendship; parent problems; sibling fights
Author:Weston, Carol
Publication:Girls' Life
Article Type:Column
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2005
Words:1695
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