You Allowed Her Problem to Become Yours

By Dr. Robert Wallace

March 9, 2020 4 min read

DR. WALLACE: My mother found a pack of cigarettes in my room and freaked out until I convinced her I was only keeping them for my best friend, whose father is a minister. This is actually the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I thought my mom would be cool and tell me she was happy once she found out the cigarettes were not mine. I don't smoke and don't ever buy cigarettes. I only took possession of my best friend's pack to help her out a bit.

But then my mom made things much worse! She called my best friend's mother and spilled the beans about the cigarettes, telling her the whole story. Now my friend is grounded for two months and won't talk to me at school. Since I really didn't do anything wrong, I don't understand why my best friend is mad at me; it was not my fault that my mom found her cigarettes. Do you think this is fair? — Innocent yet Unfriended

INNOCENT YET UNFRIENDED: What you did wrong was agree to hide your friend's cigarettes. Her problem became yours, and you also became an accomplice in her deception. Chances are after your friend serves her "sentence," she will return as a friend of yours. And furthermore, if this incident might cause your friend to stop smoking for good, then this story might have a happy long-term ending despite the short-term pain.


DR. WALLACE: I'm 16, and so is my favorite guy, who just happens to be the greatest young man in the entire world. He and I dated briefly last summer, during summer school, and after only two dates, he asked me to go steady. I said no back then. Now, in this new school year, he has asked me again, and this time I said yes because I came to realize that I felt I truly was in love with him, especially because I missed his companionship so much. So, our relationship was back on! I called him every evening; I hung on his every word when I saw him at school. I made sure to invite him to every school sporting event, like football and basketball games, so we could spend more time together in the evenings as well. Then, believe it or not, only a few short months later, he dumped me because he said he felt smothered in the relationship! I was quite shocked to hear this, especially after he pursued me so hard in the first place.

Now that I am slowly getting over the shock, I'm wondering what I can do to make him start looking my way again. I think if I can get him to ask me out again, I can dial down my enthusiasm for him by a few notches, and that might make him feel more comfortable. — Surprisingly Dumped, via email

SURPRISINGLY DUMPED: Talk to this young man, and say that you feel that the two of you going steady so early was probably the wrong move in your opinion. Then tell him that you still care for him, and if he cares for you, you would enjoy dating again — but not in a steady arrangement. Let him know that you want to take things slow with no pressure. If his answer is still no, or if he doesn't contact you after this, give him a reasonable amount of time and space to reconsider. However, while you're waiting, I suggest you enjoy an active social life and date others when the opportunity arises.

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

Photo credit: Free-Photos at Pixabay

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