DR. WALLACE: One of my friends has run away from home. She's been gone for about two weeks. Last night she called me and said she'll be coming home soon because she called a runway hotline and they contacted her parents, who will fly to Los Angeles to bring her home. Could you please find the number of the runaway hotline and print it so other runways might see it and call for help? Being on the run from home and all alone must be a terrible feeling. Thanks for your help. — Stunned Friend, via email
STUNNED: The National Education Association estimates that, at any given time, over 1 million teens under age 18 are runways. A large percentage of these teens leave to escape intolerable home conditions and are often not reported missing by parents. Sometimes, after an argument, a teen is told to get out of the house and fend for himself or herself. These are sad but true situations that occur much too often in our society.
According to the NEA, over half of these boys and girls have been away from home longer than a month. Those runaways who would like help (let's hope all of them) should call the toll-free National Runaway Safeline at 800-786-2929, which is easily remembered as 1-800-RUNAWAY. Safeline counselors can guide teens to safe shelters. They also have an agreement with Greyhound to provide free bus transportation home to all runaways. This wonderful organization is a nonprofit.
This teen column is read in many newspapers in the United States, so it is possible that a runaway teen might read your letter and be reunited with his or her family. Thank you for sharing your story about your friend. We are happy to provide the national hotline number here and hope this resource helps those in need. If you're on the streets and need help, make the call. You'll be very glad you did. A nonjudgmental professional will be there for you.
CONSIDER YOURSELF FORTUNATE
DR. WALLACE: I'm a 20-year-old guy and interested in a young lady, also 20, who works in the same office as I do. About a month ago, she told me that she was having problems with the guy she is seeing and that she might stop seeing him.
Last week, I asked her out and she surprised me by saying yes. Last Saturday, we went to dinner and a movie, and I had a super time. She also told me that she enjoys going out with me.
Today at work, I told her that I would like to continue seeing her but would prefer that she stop seeing the other guy altogether. She said she would occasionally go out with me, but she was going to continue dating the other guy until she makes up her mind if she does or does not love the guy. What should I do? — Anonymous, Erie, Pennsylvania
ANONYMOUS: The young lady you are dating is wise and totally honest. My advice is to continue dating her and stop wasting time trying to help her make up her mind about seeing the other guy. Consider yourself fortunate that she wants to see you again. Let things play out and you'll know soon enough which way this relationship is going to turn. Honesty and patience are two hallmarks of a successful relationship. So far, the honesty seems to be in place. Be patient. Things may eventually move forward in the direction you are presently hoping for. Even if they don't, you'll have gained valuable experience about the benefits of being honest in a relationship. Right now, you know where you stand. That's a good start compared to the days when you were only dreaming of asking her out!
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.