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GL ask Lucky.

My friends are all "getting to the next level" with their boyfriends. I just don't feel comfortable with it. Now when my BF and I hang out with my friends, I feel awkward! Any advice?

Give yourself props for not feeling pressured into doing something you're not ready for. If your friends and boyfriend respect you, they won't question your decision. Life isn't a race, so there's no reason to rush into things. If you feel awkward, remind yourself that you're taking your time, enjoying yourself at each stage of your relationship and doing what you are comfortable with. There's nothing weird or uncomfortable about staying true to yourself.

My dad used to physically abuse my mom, but he stopped. Now he just puts her down and yells at her. They won't divorce because of me and my brother. I feel horrible!

The first thing for you to know is that in the same way this is not your fault, it's also not your job to fax it. What you can do is try to get help--for yourself and the rest of your family. Whether abuse is physical, emotional or verbal, it takes a toll on the entire family, and no one should have to live this way. Talk through your feelings with a school counselor or therapist, then ask Mom to join you for a session. A professional will help you put your emotions into words so you can tell your mom how you're affected. Hopefully, your mother will gain an understanding of how unhealthy the situation is for everyone.

Everyone makes fun of me for being so shy. I don't talk because I'm afraid I'll just embarrass myself. Help!

First off, conquer that fear. Everyone sags silly things from time to time. It's part of life. What's the worst that can happen? Some people might laugh. If you join in and laugh at yourself, too, the whole thing will be forgotten in a few minutes. Once you shake the fear, practice joining in or starting up conversations with one person. After you feel more confident, speak up in bigger groups.

I am talkative and full of energy at school. But when I get home, I'm crabby and tired. I feel bad because it makes it seem as if I don't like my family. How can I break this pattern?

School can take a lot out of you. It's understandable you're cranky afterward, and it's not uncommon to take it out on family members. You know they'll love you--bad moods and all--so you don't have to be as full of fun as you are around friends. When you get home, take some alone time to decompress. Join the fam once you feel refreshed. If you don't feel like making conversation, say, "It has nothing to do with you, but I'm exhausted and don't feel like chatting right now."
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Author:Sandler, Laura
Publication:Girls' Life
Date:Aug 1, 2007
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