DEAR ABBY: I am a junior on the high school football team. "Amy" is one of our school's cheerleaders. We get along great and I want to ask her out. The problem is, I called Amy's house and asked to talk to her, but her father wouldn't let her come to the phone until I gave him my full name and told him where I was from. He made me nervous, and before I could answer, he hung up on me. Did I do anything wrong? -- JACK THE JOCK IN JERSEY
DEAR JACK: You didn't "do" anything wrong. However, there are certain rules of telephone courtesy, and you failed to follow them. I list them all in my booklet, "What Every Teen Should Know." This booklet may be ordered by sending a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
Some telephone tips from my teen booklet:
1. When you call, identify yourself immediately and ask for the person with whom you wish to speak. ("Hello, Mrs. Jones. This is Jack Smith. May I please speak to Amy?") Remember to speak up and sound confident. Don't mumble. Don't make anyone guess who you are; that's childish. If you are afraid you'll be so nervous you'll forget your telephone manners, write down what you want to say before you call. Then read it!
2. Always make the call yourself. If you haven't the courage to call and ask for a date yourself, then you aren't old enough to date.
3. If you're calling to ask for a date, specify the day and time, and explain what you have in mind so the person you are inviting will know what to wear.
4. Do not call at the last minute. It reduces your chances for an acceptance. ("Gee! You should have called sooner. I've promised to baby-sit tonight.")
Pay attention to these basic rules. They will come in handy for the rest of your life and the telephone will be your ally.
DEAR ABBY: I am 27 years old and I'm having flashbacks. At night, when I try to go to sleep, I see my ex-husband beating me, and other nights I relive my miscarriage. It has been six years since it happened, and I don't know why it is still bothering me. My nightmares are worse now than they have ever been.
Abby, I don't know how to stop these pictures in my head. Shouldn't I have gotten over these things by now?
I am now engaged, and my fiance is the greatest. I don't want to hurt him by obsessing about my hurtful past. Is there anything I can do? -- CONFUSED IN MICHIGAN
DEAR CONFUSED: Sometimes, when someone has experienced extreme trauma -- physical violence and a miscarriage would both qualify -- that person needs professional help to put it to rest and get past it. Pick up the phone and ask the operator for the number of the nearest rape crisis hotline. They offer counseling for the kind of physical and emotional battering you received, and it won't matter that it happened six years ago. Please don't wait to make the call. Help is available for you.
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