ADVICE for the NEW YEAR
Hey. So, first off:
JOIN ME FOR AN ONLINE CHAT TONITE AT 7PM here.
Mediator 6, TWILIGHT, should be US stores everywhere December 28. Call your local bookseller and ask them to reserve a copy for you today!
If you've already read Twilight, and you are planning on coming to the online chat and asking me what the last line of the book means, I will not answer you. Read it again. It means what you think it means.
Okay, so Dr. Michele Jaffe and I fell way behind on the advice thing over the holidays, partly because she nearly sliced off her finger, and I broke my ass (pretty slick for college educated ladies, huh?).
But that doesn't mean you guys have stopped writing in. Not at all!
So if you've sent us a request for help in the past couple months, check below to see if we've answered it. And even if you HAVEN'T sent us a request for help, you might want to check these letters out, because that way, if any of this ever happens to YOU, you will know what to do!!!
And if you've written to us, and we haven't gotten to your letter yet, it could be because we've answered a similar one here; are going to answer it in our next advice blog; or already answered it in a past advice blog. So check back here, and don't neglect the blog Archives!
Today's advice blog is divided up into Categories, because we just felt like doing it that way. Categories in today's blog include:
HELP! I SCARED HIM OFF
MOM SAYS I'M TOO YOUNG TO DATE
I LIKE'EM OLDER
I DON'T HAVE A BOYFRIEND/WHAT'S WRONG WITH ME
So, let's begin:
Dear Meg and Michele,
Even though I'm only a sophomore, I already have an enormous fear of college rejection. I'm one of the luckier people I know because my mom isn't as pushy as some of the kids that I'm friends with.
Like this one girl I know. She had 21 extracurriculars, didn't get home until 11 PM, did her homework until 5 AM, went to sleep for one hour and then went to school. She did that every day for 4 years. And somewhere in there, she got an ulcer. And she STILL refused to relax. In the end, she got into Princeton though.
I'm not THAT crazy, but I still feel a lot of pressure (mainy from myself, actually) to get into an Ivy League or into Stanford or something.
Is there any adivce you can give me on how to get into a good college (since Michele went to Harvard) or even better, on how to deal with college rejection if that fateful time should come?
The first thing to do right this very second is:
Smile! Because you have a lot to smile about. You go to a good school, you are a very lucid writer, you have your head in the right place, and you were smart enough to write to Meg. You are already ahead. And for that reason, I am going to impart to you the big secret about college that no one talks about enough which is:
The reason you go to college is to get a good education. And the most important thing about getting a good college education isn't where you go, but what you do when you get there. In other words, far more important than what school you attend is what skills and interests you take with you.
Hey, are you rolling your eyes? Don't do that! It's so true! You could go to Ye Olde Famouse Place-y and not really do all the reading in class and graduate without half the education you'd get from going to Less Famous But More Suited To Your Style & Interests U. And that is the crux of this matter: you say you feel pressure from yourself to get into an Ivy or Stanford. You must tell yourself to lay off because those might not be the right colleges for you. Sure, you can apply, but if you don't get in, there is every chance in the world it is for the best and you will end up somewhere more apt for YOUR style and YOUR interests.
Plus, stressing about it now will get you No. Where. The best thing you can do in high school isn't fret about your college aps. The best thing you can do is throw yourself into what interests you, and train yourself to get as much as possible out of your classes.
Not only will your interests help shape you and make you stand out as an individual on your application (because let's face it, schools get thousands of applications from A students who are Senior Class Presidents, but how many from A students who are senior class presidents and love tap dancing and bee keeping? That is not me, by the way. That is a made up person. I am afraid of bees) but they will also condition you to be the best possible college student once you arrive at your undergraduate destination.
College is what you make of it, wherever you go.
Meg says: Guess what? I went to a state school and I'm doing fine. There's something to be said for graduating with no loans to pay back. I'm just saying.
Dear Meg and Michelle.
I need help. I'm at the age where i need to start thinking about what i want to do for a profession. I REALLY want to make musice in a rock band. but I know that my parents would DROP. DEAD. If i told them. They want me to be a lawyer or a docter or something highly respected. I all ready have an instument and everything, but whenever they ask me what i want to be, i all ways tell them I want to be a teacher.( i do if the band doesn't work out) How can I tell them what i want to do with my life without them looking down on me?
Do both! Study to be a teacher/doctor/lawyer and also study music and form a rock band. You could even be a music teacher and combine these two things. This may sound like a lot of work, but having another job like teaching will enrich your music incredibly, and playing music will make you a better teacher.
Plus, it can be a long haul to rock stardom, or even to being able to support yourself as a rock musician, and with teaching you won't have to worry about being able to eat. Or hitting your parents up for loans and listening to them say “I told you so.”
Meg says: Didn't you see the movie “School of Rock”? Being a rock star is HARD. You need a back up career. If you haven't seen it, go watch it. And learn.
HELP! I SCARED HIM OFF:
Dear Meg and Michele,
I like this guy. I've liked him for almost three years now, and the reason I like him is because he is really, really cute. But he can't accept the fact that I like him. He blocks me on MSN, and never, ever talks to me at school. I think he's sort of afraid of me or something.
I don't know what to do. I'd like to stop liking him, because I really want to move on and start to like someone new and not be so “obsessed” with a guy. But when I see him the next day at school I start to like him all over again because he's just so darn CUTE!
There's been so many days where I'm mad at him and hate him, but end up liking him the next day. How can I stop liking him? Is there any possible way? I'm willing to try anything!
-Obsessed Over A Jerk
Obsessed, it's time to re-learn your ABC's. No, not THOSE ABC's. Mine:
ALERT your brain that if you play hard to get, i.e. not emailing him or texting him or calling him or whatever, it will awaken his interest. Therefore,
BOYCOT him entirely. Make yourself not pay attention to him. You can tell yourself you are doing it because it might just win his heart, and this will in
itially make Yourself stick with it, but then a curious thing will happen. After a week of not talking to him or writing to him or paying attention to him, you will feel his hold on you being to loosen. After two weeks you will start noticing other guys. After two weeks and two days you will start noticing how cute one guy in particular's jeans fit. At which point you can
COMMENCE NEW CRUSH.
Meg says: And next time, don't come on so strong. Remember, boys are like squirrels, you have to LURE them gently with nuts, not BASH THEM OVER THE HEAD WITH A CLUB.
Dear Meg and Michele,
so, there's this guy that i love. yes, love. like, it's beyond liking him, trust me. he is sweet, respectful, smart, cute and nice to EVERYONE. and so we have been great friends and all that so i decided to ask him to the dance at my school and he seemed REALLY happy about it, if you know what i mean. we went and it was fun but i think he got kinda freaked out when i was a little too forward with him and he avoided me after that. but he's coming around again. we're talking more now and everything seems cool. my question is, what do i do? should we just be friends, should i attempt to take it slower but still suggest tht we hang out? he's shy so i doubt he'd ask me out if he wanted to. i just want to get to know him really well and possibly develop the relationship.
what do i do? help!!
I think you've got to lay low and let him make the moves for a little while. I really hate advising that, but he seems to be in the Startled Fawn class of young gentlemen, and the only way to woo those is to spend time sitting with them day after day, getting closer and closer each time, until the are so relaxed they eat out of your hand.
Then you can jump on…er…have a nice time with them.
Meg says: Remember, frightened boys are like squirrels. Don't make any sudden moves, and pretend you don't even notice him, and if it is meant to be, he will slowly creep your way.
MOM SAYS I'M TOO YOUNG TO DATE:
Dear Meg, Michele, and anyone else who is there right now-
I am 15 and in the 10th grade. I am one of the youngest sophmores at school because i went into kindergarden early. My parents have set an age limit dating rule on me that means that I can't date until I'm 16, which is next September. There's this guy I like, and my friends have told me that he likes me too. How can I explain to him that I can't date yet. Should I tell him that, or should I date him and just not tell my parents? It's so hard being the only one who isn't allowed. My parents want me to be just like my brother who is the perfect son and didn't date until he was 17 and still hasn't kissed. What should I do?
Ah Precocious Petal, I totally know what you are going through. So what can you do? Well, here is what I WOULDN'T do. Don't lie to your parents about dating. Because as long as the wait between now and sixteen feels to you, it is shorter than the wait between now and whenever you would be grounded until when your parents found out you'd lied, which they would. Trust me. They have WAYS.
And the truth is, parents are always kind of waiting for you to slip up because they want any excuse to keep you at home with them where it is safe. Its called love, even though it can feel like torture prison. That's what not to do.
On the what TO do side, I see two things; ideally you would do them both.
Thing One: Be completely honest. Have a talk with your parents. Tell them that other people IN YOUR GRADE, i.e. your peers, are dating. Point out that they obviously think you are responsible and capable enough to prosper in this grade academically, and therefore shouldn't they deem you responsible enough to do the same socially? Even ask them what exactly they object to about your dating, what they are afraid of. Many times they are afraid that out on a date, you will LOOSE YOUR MIND and, simultaneously, your pants, your shirt, and your, um, morals.
But if you catch them in the right mood, and you act very mature and responsible and reasonable and do not yell/cry/make faces/maintain stony silence, you will model the kind of reasonable and responsible behavior that might just shame them into letting you go out.
Thing Two: Convince your friends to get a group of people together one night, including Mr. Dreamy Cakes. This will give you a chance to hang out, outside of school. Hopefully in the process, your friends will hit it off with some of his friends and then you can all go out, as a group together, more often.
Meg says: My parents said the same thing when I was your age. Here is the deal I cut with them: They got to meet every guy I went out with. He had to come to our house to introduce himself, produce ID and his mother's phone number, give my dad a complete detailed rundown of everywhere we were going together, what time we would be back, and the phone numbers of these places. Only then was I allowed to leave with him.
This may sound like something that would scare away most guys, and it did. Which was why I ended up only dating top quality guys all through high school. Only the guys who REALLY liked me were willing to put up with this kind of interrogation, and therefore, I ended up going out with really nice guys.
Except for a couple who totally snowed my dad. But I caught on eventually.
Dear Meg and Michele,
My mom has this notion that if I date before I'm 16 I'll be, well I don't even Know what she thinks I'll become. But I'm barely 13 and that's much too long to wait. She even went to like some sort of web site where SHE could ask the questions and all the mom's there told her 16 also.
Michele and Meg respond:
Your mom is right!!!!!!! 13 is too young to date!!!!!!!!!!!
Listen to your mom for now and ask her to reevaluate when you're fifteen. In the meantime, go out with guys in groups with friends. In the long run that will be more fun anyway.
Just don't sit behind us in movie theaters because we think groups of 13 year olds are LOUD.
I LIKE'EM OLDER:
*I really need some advice and quick.
Ok, see, a couple years ago i met a guy at work and we hit it off and became like best friends. Now, we admitted to eachother we like eachother a lot and we're dating now. Thing is though, hes 22 and im 16 but its only 5 1/2 years age gap. My parents hate him and I cant talk to him or anything. We really like eachother and he asked me to wait for him until i grad. high school and we can get engaged. I know hes a great guy and his friends say im lucky cuz he really respects me and would never hurt me. So what do I do? Should I stay with him or listen to my parents rules?
Thanks so much!
I'm just going to casually mention here that it would be illegal for you to have any kind of intimate contact with him at this age. Just to get that disclaimer out of the way.
Okay, the theme of this answer is KYOO. What does that mean, you ask? You have to read to the end to find out. DON'T SKIP AND GO THERE RIGHT NOW. It is the sugar that is going to make this harsh medicine go down more easily. Because, I tell you straight up, you aren't going to lap up what I have to say like a little kitten with a saucer of warm milk.
Now, I'm not going to say that love with an age gap can't work, but I do have to just express that I think a 22 year old guy who is dating a sixteen year old girl is…well…someone who has some issues. I am guessing that you can do better. A five and a half year age difference isn't that mu
ch when the difference is between like 25 and 30, but between 16 and 22 it should be, because you should be having two very different lives. The fact that you aren't, that he is totally down with dating someone in high school, worries me. A lot.
I also would advise you against committing to anything like an engagement until well after you graduate from high school. Get a job, go to college, travel, meet as many people as you can. Marriage will always still be there.
Your youthful spirit of inquisitiveness and charm? Not so much. Diminishing every day.
If this is true love, it will endure through all of this.
But I think you owe it to yourself AND this guy, to spend the rest of your high school time figuring out if this relationship is really what you want, and if he is really who you want to be with forever. Which means not seeing him or secretly dating him or texting him every day or calling him every night or any of that stuff, until you are eighteen. You really have to try to explore other avenues. Because while it may feel awful now, it will spare you both a lot worse pain and scarring in the future if you can be really sure you were meant to be together.
Right now you're probably like “grr, I hate this advice.” And I can totally get where you are coming from, really, because I got engaged right out of high school. And it was such a mistake, because I missed out on SO MUCH either sitting at home, pining for him, with only my hair spray for company, or hanging out with his friends who did not go to school with me. I gave up a ton for our relationship, and so did he (he moved from LA to Boston. Eeew.) and finally I realized it wasn't worth it: it was holding me back and holding him back.
Don't make my mistake. I am sad about the time with friends I lost, all the great opportunities I did not take advantage of. The other guys I never got to date and practice kissing. In fact there is this one guy in particular…
Um, never mind. The moral of the story is: Keep Your Options Open. Yes! KYOO!
Meg says: If I married the guy I was dating when I was 16, I'd have killed myself by now. Just FYI. I'm sure he feels the exact same way about me.
Dear Meg and Michele,
This probably coming in too late but I thought I'd try anyway. I'm sixteen years old and a junior in high school, like a lot of your readers, and, like a lot of your readers, I have a crush. Surprise, surprise. Problem? The guy's like five years older than me. It wouldn't be a big deal if I were eighteen because, heh, then it wouldn't be illegal for me to date him. I'm not going to date him now, of course. But do you think, maybe, that in a couple years, when I actually am 18, five years wouldn't be so much of an age gap and, more importantly, is this normal? And trust the crush will still exist in two years, my shortest crush lasted three years. And, really, none of the high school guys really interest me but older guys… yeah, I'd say they interest me. Normal, not so normal?
Hey, wait, its like déjà vu! Please see advice for letter above.
No, for real, I do not think there is anything abnormal about your interest in older guys. Girls mature faster than guys, and guys in high school can be tres lame.
But it's a little KrEePy for a 21 year old to date a sixteen year old, because one of them is in/behind bars, and one of them is in high school (I leave it to you to figure out who goes where).
Because being an adult can be kind of hard, sometimes guys look to younger girls as a way of escaping being grown ups. Don't let anyone use you that way. That guy has problems and you are not the solution to them, just the Band Aid.
And you know what happens to Band Aids? They get blood on them and then they get thrown away.
Never be the Band aid.
Meg says: Ooooh, excellent advice, Michele. DON'T BE HIS BAND AID.
I DON'T HAVE A BOYFRIEND/WHAT'S WRONG WITH ME?
Dear Meg and Michele,
I have I problem: I want to have a boyfriend but… I never kissed anyone before and I'm afraid that when anyones wants to kiss me I don't know what. You might be thinking “she's too young!”, but I'm really worried.
If you have time, you could answer me and give some cues.
Don't worry, Never Been Smooched, when the time is right and the guy is right, you'll know what to do.
Meg says: Yeah, really, it's not all that different than what you see on TV when people kiss. Just relax, and keep your gum to yourself.
Dear Meg and Michele,
I am having this problem lately. I get so many adults telling me that I am a very pretty girl and then some of them ask why I don't have a boyfriend. Then at school there are guys I really like, but then I found out recently that quite a few of these guys said the same thing about me “She's a cool friend and all, but I don't know if I want to date her” I felt like I got punched in the face when I heard this. Why is it that none of them are interested in me? I felt like I had a chance with one of them, then I hear this. Will I die an old maid, because I am not really what you call popular I play in my orchestra and I like to do the school plays every spring and fall. I have never dated either, so it's not like I am out of their league or anything. (by the way, I am a freshman and I am 14) I would really appreciate it if you can answer back.
Michele says: MEG MEG MEG! I KNOW WHAT HER PROBLEM IS! I HAVE IT ALL DIAGNOSED. Want to know?
Meg says: Pray tell
Michele says: She has Fourteenitis. It is the chronic condition of being…FOURTEEN! Everyone feels this way when they are fourteen.
Meg says: I didn't. I was quite popular and had many boyfriends. Animals also loved me and followed me everywhere I went like Snow White.
Okay, everyone except Snow White over there. Anyway, Fourteen And Frustrated, fourteen is a really tough age, and a lot like being infected with a disease, because you feel slightly out of it all the time, and like you might be different from everyone, and unsure if you will get through it.
But you will. The best thing about fourteenitis is that it has a natural cure: turning fifteen. And I bet you will find someone who appreciates you when that happens. But in the meantime, as I cannot stress enough: THERE IS NO RUSH. NO ONE IS MISSING ANYTHING BY NOT DATING 14 YEAR OLD BOYS.
Honestly, allowing the male of the species to mature slightly is not a bad thing (though not too much as mentioned above). BUT, if you really want to try it out—and I will accept 'you were so right, I never should have dated that fourteen year old' letters at this address—there is a very simple thing for you to do:
You can indicate to one of the boys you are friends with that you like him. I know you say that all the boys claim they only like you as a friend, but that is a Defensive Shield, like deodorant, and I bet if you make it clear that you like one of them, that friend thing will evaporate like, um, deodorant on a warm summer's day. Some good ways to start the evaporation process:
Ask him out.
You say you aren't going to do that are you? Sigh. Okay, you can also:
Sit next to him at lunch and whenever else you can.
Go out in a group with him and some other friends and make a point of sitting near him and talking especially to him.
Laugh at his jokes.
Guys like girls who make them feel good about themselves. Do that, and you are 90% of the way to a date.
Meg says: I didn't actually say that Snow White thing. Mi
chele wrote that herself. I was a freak at 14, too, and no one asked me out or kissed me. Not that it would have mattered since I wasn't allowed to date until I was 15 anyway.
Next time an adult asks you why you don't have a boyfriend, go: Because I am planning on being the first woman President of the United States and I don't have time for a boyfriend. That will shut them up.
That is all the time we have for advice today. But never fear, we will be back with another advice column in a few days! If you still feel you need advice, even after having read all the fine, fine advice we've written here, you may write to us. Just put the word ADVICE in the subject line of your email.
But please, if you are writing to ask whether or not he likes you, or if you should ask him out, please take the quiz here to find out. You will get your answer much more quickly. Or at all, since we are no longer answering “Does he like me?” questions. We think all of you need to get some ovaries and just ASK THE BOY OUT!!!!!!! The worst that can happen is that he'll say no. Trust us, your life will NOT be over if that happens. A cuter boy will come along in no time. THEY ALWAYS DO.