Let's Get Through It Together - Month One

“Here it is, the debut of my new advice column! I want to thank you for sending such interesting and insightful letters. Every single one of them made me think long and hard. Anyhow, thanks for trusting me with your troubles, and let’s get through it together!”


I’m in eighth grade and my best friend (for nine years) has started hanging around with people who are trouble in my school. My friend now acts strangely around me and I’m afraid he’s taking drugs or doing things he shouldn’t. Should I confront him?

Jamie H.
Seattle, WA

My first reaction is yes, you should talk with him about the changes you’ve seen -- but be careful. Don’t be too forceful because he may just get defensive and refuse to listen to you, which wouldn’t be any help at all. But by being positive and supportive, you may be able to get your bud to openly discuss what’s going on with him. It sounds like the two of you are really close, so hopefully he’ll be honest with you. But above all, try to let him know you’re really concerned about him and that you want to make certain he’s not getting himself into a situation he might later regret. Most of all, let him know you are there for him if he needs help. Good luck!


My family drinks a lot of soda, but we just throw away the cans. Where can I take them to be recycled?

Kelly J.
Victor, MI

I’m glad you asked, ‘cause recycling’s an easy way to help our planet. After all, why throw something out and contribute to the waste problem when it can be used over and over again? What you can do to find out more about this worthwhile effort is contact a recycling center in your area -- it should be listed in your phone book under recycling or Public Works. Most cities have a “recycling Coordinator” who can give you info on where you can take your cans (or glass bottles, newspapers and plastic) and put them to good use instead of just tossin’ them out in the garage!


There’s this really cute guy in my school who I have a huge crush on. How in the world can I get him to notice me?

Hayley L.
Anaheim, CA

This is a hard one, but I think your best bet is to bring attention to yourself. I don’t mean doing something outrageous -- just simple eye contact is really effective. One warning, though: a lot of people have their friends play go-between to try to start a relationship. I don’t think that’s the best thing to do, since you can never be 100% sure of what your friend is going to say! Besides, personally, I like girls who aren’t afraid to be up-front about their feelings and will talk with me about how they feel. Most of all, though, be yourself!


I’m a 14-year-old girl, and I just found out that my parents are getting a divorce. I am so confused and have no one to talk to about my feelings. I’m afraid that I did something wrong that caused my parents to break up. What can I do?

Annabelle S.
Bergenfield, NJ

First of all, don’t blame yourself! Even though a divorce affects your entire family, including you, it’s really about your parents and THEIR relationship. This is hard for them, too, and I’d bet that the last thing they want is for you to feel responsible for their divorce. Remember that you are definitely not alone in this divorce thing -- it happens to (too many) families. The best thing to do is to tell your parents how you feel. I’m sure they’ll be able to explain why they’re separating. Talking with them should make you feel more secure, confident and a whole lot better. If you are still not coping well with the problem, then you may want to talk with a professional counselor. Your guidance counselor at school could probably help you or recommend someone else for you to talk with. I’ll be thinking about you.


I want to get more involved in saving the environment and I’m especially interested in the ocean. I’ve heard of adopting whales, but don’t know how to go about it. Can you tell me? Thanks!

Margie B.
Las Vegas, NV

Here’s the deal -- there are several programs you can write to if you’re interested in sponsoring a whale. For a fee, most organizations provide their “adoptive parent” with a pic of the whale, info on sightings of your new “baby,” a certificate of adoption and other information on the program itself. The money you donate is used for whale preservation, so you really are helping out “your” whale! There are several different groups that do this, but one I know about is the Whale Adoption Project, c/o International Wildlife coalition, 634 North Falmouth Highway, P.O. Box 388, North Falmouth, MN, 02556. I know they’ll be glad to hear from you!


I’m a little overweight but that’s not my problem. My problem is that my friends keep bugging me to lose weight, but I feel just fine the way I am. I just wish they’d stop bothering me about it -- but I don’t want to lose their friendship! What should I do?

Angie M.
Portland, OR

Here’s how I feel about it. Number one, if they’re your real friends, they will hang out with you regardless of your weight. Tell them up front to stop pressuring you and that it bothers you. Explain to them that you’re happy just the way you are, and you really wish they’d stop making you feel self-conscious. But, your pals might be more concerned with your health rather than how you look, which brings me to... Number two: check with your doctor to make sure that whatever you weigh is not unhealthy. If you are comfortable with how you are, but are at a health risk, you’ll have to think about whether staying at your current weight is worth the risk. If you do decide to lose weight, your doctor can give you a safe and effective plan. Hope I’ve helped!


I have a twin sister and up until recently (we started high school last September), she’s been my best friend. Now she’s friends with this new girl. I’m really lonely and feel left out. I just don’t know what to do about it.

Zoe C.
New Lebanon, OH

I know it’s hard to take, but sometimes friends, even close family members, grow differently and take separate paths. It sounds to me like your sister is going through a phase where she needs to have a little space to learn about new things and meet new people. Don’t think of her friend as competition -- remember that you’ve known your sister her whole life, and you probably know her better than anyone else in the world! No matter what, you’ll always be sisters! Even though it might be painful right now, it’s actually very healthy for you both to have other friends. Talk with your sister and let her know how you feel -- she might not even be aware that you’re bummed out. Also, why not take advantage of this time to go out and get involved in activities you like? It could turn out to be a lot of fun, and you’ll probably make new friends yourself!


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