Dear Abby

DEAR ABBY: I'm only 12 and I feel like my life is ending. I just finished seventh grade, I don't have many friends and I feel like the ones I do have don't really care.

I do gymnastics and volleyball, but my friends there don't really care, either. My family is no help. My sisters are too busy with their friends and boys to care. My parents don't know anything about me. On top of that, there's a boy I like who acts like I don't exist. What should I do? -- FRIENDLESS IN MICHIGAN

DEAR FRIENDLESS: I find it interesting that when people write to me, it's often the last thing in their letters that's the crux of the problem. I'm sorry your love life isn't going well at the moment, but your life isn't "over." In fact, it's just beginning. Everyone has days when they feel alone in the crowd -- even kids who are popular.

Your parents have known you all your life. If they don't yet know the person you're becoming, it may be because you haven't let them. They have experienced much of what you're going through, and I'm sure they'll be glad to share their wisdom if they're given the chance.

As to the guy you like, he may be shy or not yet ready for romance. Give him some time to grow up and appreciate you, and he may start to like you, too.

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DEAR ABBY: For the past 10 years or so, at bridal and baby showers I have attended, blank envelopes have been handed to guests upon arrival with instructions to self-address them. This, apparently, saves the gift recipient time having to address envelopes to the gift-givers.

I usually set the envelope aside and don't fill it out, but last week the guest of honor's mother handed me an envelope and pen and stood there until I completed the task.

After spending time and money shopping for and paying for a gift, I feel insulted having to address my own thank-you envelope!

Can you think of an appropriate response when I'm asked to participate in this insulting new party ritual? Or should I stay quiet and accept that most people are ignorant regarding good manners? -- INSULTED IN OHIO

DEAR INSULTED: How about this for a response: "After spending my time shopping for a gift, and my hard-earned money to pay for it, it is insulting to be expected to address my own thank-you envelope. If she likes the gift, she can address the envelope herself. If not, she can return the gift to me."

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DEAR ABBY: Please tell parents and teachers to warn children that when they walk on the roads to walk facing the traffic. We have come up behind many people walking with their backs to the traffic, some of whom are listening to music or talking on their cellphones and don't even know anyone is around. -- COLLETTE IN NEWBURGH, MAINE

DEAR COLLETTE: I'm pleased to print your warning. There is a name for pedestrians who do as you have described and aren't aware of their surroundings or impending danger. It's "casualty."

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Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: "Abby's Favorite Recipes" and "More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby." Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $12 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in price.)

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