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DEAR ABBY: I'm a 15-year-old girl who has never been popular with boys. It has always been something that has bothered me. The hardest part is watching my friends date while I have to stay home.

One way I was able to make myself feel better was by telling myself everything would change when high school started. By the end of our first week as freshmen, my friend "Lily" had a new boyfriend and I'm still alone. Her boyfriend actually joked that I should "play for the other team" because I have no chance of getting a guy. Needless to say, my friendship with Lily is over, but her boyfriend's comment is still sticking with me.

Abby, do I really have no chance with guys? Am I overreacting about not having a boyfriend? I feel I should have dated plenty by now. -- WAITING FOR THE FIRST KISS IN JERSEY

DEAR WAITING: The comment Lily's boyfriend made was asinine and uncalled for. Please don't measure your worth using that immature boy's yardstick. Not being a belle of the ball in high school doesn't mean you won't blossom socially later. Many people do. You will get the kiss you're craving and validation, too, if you'll be a little more patient.

Use this time to concentrate on your studies, athletics, special interests, volunteering in your community and completing your education. Those things are more important than a boyfriend right now -- and they'll leave you with less time to brood. When you're older, you will meet men (not boys) who value what you have to offer. And yes, I know you have probably heard this before, but it's true.

DEAR ABBY: I have a woman friend who is always saying to me, "I wish just you and I could go do something together." So the other day I called her and suggested we visit a local flea market -- which we both love -- and then go to a local festival. She replied that it sounded great, but she needed to talk to her husband, "Ted," to see if he wanted to join us.

Abby, she does this to me all the time. I'm tired of inviting her for a girls' day and having her come only if Ted is coming. Should I stop the invitations? -- TICKED OFF IN FLORIDA

DEAR TICKED OFF: No, before you do that you should tell her how you feel about her sending you mixed messages. And if it happens again, then stop inviting her.

DEAR ABBY: I recently took my official college graduation photo and was excited to show my mom. She said she was OK with my giving her one of the small photos because she didn't want to put any more holes in the wall. It really upset me.

I am the first person in my family to graduate from college. Mom's comment about not wanting holes in the wall was unacceptable. I argued with her, cried and told her how I felt. Mom told me to get out and that I had no right to tell her what to do in her house.

I'm still hurt. I feel that if she's as proud of my accomplishments as she says, she should show it. She apologized later, but her comment still stings. Please help me get over it. -- UPSET COLLEGE SENIOR

DEAR UPSET: I'll try. Your mother may have been tactless, but it's important that you bury the hatchet. Her pride in your accomplishments is not as important as your own pride in them. Remember that, and no one will ever be able to make you feel diminished!

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