DR. WALLACE: I am a very confused 14-year-old girl. There is a certain boy who attends my school that I really like. He is handsome, intelligent and has a super personality. I know he likes me, too, because he's always smiling at me when we pass in the halls. Last week, he even said hi when our eyes met. Yesterday, he accidentally bumped into me and turned red as a tomato. He then offered to walk me to class, and I accepted.
This made my best friend very mad because she has been walking with me. After school, she said I was rude by walking with this boy, leaving her to walk by herself. She also called him a dog and a lot of other animal names I can't mention. She said that if I don't stop "chasing" after him, she would stop being my friend. This girl has been my best friend for over seven years, and I like her a lot, but this particular boy is sweet, sensitive and someday I'd like him to maybe even be my boyfriend. What should I do now? — Tough Spot To Be In, via email
TOUGH SPOT: This is not an either/or situation. By no means should your interest in this boy cause you to lose your best friend. But sometimes misunderstandings arise, as you've found out. When they do, be open, honest and direct.
First of all, apologize to your friend for leaving her in the hallway and waltzing off to class with this boy without even looking back at her. It was understandable that you would jump at the chance to accept his offer, but it was not polite to walk away without speaking to your friend. Tell your friend that your friendship with her is very important, and you want her to remain your good friend. Remind her that she will have guys smiling at her soon, but that won't interfere with your friendship. She doesn't dislike this boy, she's just afraid you will stop spending time with her, and she was hurt when you walked away. Assure her you won't end the friendship with her, no matter what does or does not develop with this boy. Do tell her that you felt her name-calling was unfortunate, but you understand that she was quite upset and her feelings were hurt in the moment. Promise her you will also refrain from any name-calling in the future, no matter what else may come up between the two of you. It's better to stick together as friends than to quickly turn on each other. You'll both grow to understand this better as you get older.
As far as your opportunity to get to know this boy better is concerned, keep smiling and see where it goes!
FOCUS ON YOUR INTERESTS
DR. WALLACE: I'm a high school senior. And after I graduate, I would like to attend college. I have several in mind, but I would enjoy attending a really good one that provides me with a good education. Are there huge differences with most colleges? I'm not talking Harvard, Yale or Stanford here; what I'm referring to is simply a good, functional college in my regional area. — Aspiring College Student, via email
ASPIRING COLLEGE STUDENT: There are hundreds of colleges and universities that have good reputations. Ask a dozen people familiar with them, and you probably would get 12 different answers as to which college or university is the "best."
I recommend you cross-reference your personal career interests with the colleges in your area that specialize in those fields. I feel it's more important to decide what field of study suits you best and then seek a school that offers an excellent curriculum in the subject matter you seek. Good luck!
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.