DR. WALLACE: A few weeks ago, my best friend invited me and three other girls to a slumber party at her house. While I was in her bedroom and the others were getting ready for bed in the bathroom, I looked in my best friend's purse. I don't know why I did it, but I stole a $20 bill out of her purse. I have never stolen anything at all before this. I'm not a thief, and I get an allowance so I didn't really need the money.
The next day, my friend went to make a payment on a dress she had put on layaway and discovered that her $20 was missing. She called and told me as soon as she got home and asked me which of the girls I thought might have taken it. She thought it must've been another one of our mutual friends, so she called and blamed her. Now they aren't friends anymore.
I started having guilty feelings right after I took the money, and they are getting worse every day. I really feel awful and don't know what to do. I was thinking about sending the $20 to her in the mail, but I'm not sure that's the answer. I really want to get rid of this guilty feeling, and I need your advice. — Ashamed and anonymous, via email
ASHAMED: You must gather the courage to tell your best friend that you don't know what in the world came over you but that you were the one who lifted the money. Apologize to her and return the money immediately. Hopefully, your best friend will forgive you and you can remain friends. If she does not forgive you, you'll have learned a tough lesson. Make the right decision now about this problem and you will at least feel better for addressing the situation. In addition, you should talk to a trusted adult such as a parent, teacher or counselor at school who can help you identify the behavior that caused you to do this in the first place. There may be something bothering you that you are not fully aware of on a conscious level here. Seek guidance, understanding and forgiveness for what you have done and, most importantly, aim to curb any similar behavior going forward from here. Hopefully, you can learn a valuable lesson and eliminate future transgressions.
NOT MEANT FOR EACH OTHER
DR. WALLACE: I met this guy at my cousin's house. He is my cousin's best friend. He asked me out, and I said yes because I'm an adventurous girl. The following weekend, we went to the movies with another couple on a double date. He was nice but sort of weird. He invited me to go to a beach party the following Saturday, and again, I said yes. That was the first time I saw his car since my cousin drove us all to the movies on our first date. Well, this guy's car is so very, very small it looks like a tin can. His "little baby car" made him look stupid in my eyes, but all of his friends thought it was cool because they think he is leaving a smaller carbon footprint behind in driving this tiny vehicle.
That night when he took me home, I told him that his car looked stupid. This made him angry, and he called me a nasty name, hopped into his teeny car and sped away ... Well, let's say he drove away as fast as that little tin can could shimmy down the asphalt.
My cousin has now told me that this guy is really mad at me, and he said that I needed to take a course in proper manners. Well, I just told him my true feelings about his microscopic ride. Is he being stupid for getting mad at me for being truthful with him? Or do I really need to take a course in proper manners? Hey, I was just being honest! — Anonymous, Oakland, California
ANONYMOUS: You were being honest with your opinions, but you were also being quite rude. Most guys don't take well to their vehicle being criticized. In fact, many young men take great pride in whatever vehicle they choose to drive.
At the very least, you might have gotten the message across by using another adjective rather than "stupid." I think you should forget this guy as a possible future boyfriend. The two of you are likely not meant for each other, which is fine and part of growing up and dating various new people. The lesson you should take from this experience is to filter your comments. Be tactful with others, not rude. Everyone deserves a chance to make his or her own choices, as he has with his vehicle and as you have with your opinion of it. However, a dose of diplomacy will go a long way to making your interactions with others smoother. No, the two of you were not a match, but there was no need for friction or taunting once you discovered this.
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.