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by Abigail Van Buren

For Estranged Sister, Casual Queries Are a Thorny Issue

DEAR ABBY: At school last year there was this guy that I really liked. He was just a friend then, but now I realize that I really like him!

We ride the school bus together, so while we were on the bus I asked him for his phone number. He said, "I don't think so. MORE time for you to bug me?" Now what do I do? -- DOWN-HEARTED IN TROUTMAN, N.C.

DEAR DOWN-HEARTED: Recognize that the object of your affection may not be ready for a girlfriend, or may be interested in someone else. When someone tells you "more time for you to bug me," it's time to take three giant steps back and direct your attention elsewhere. This may not be easy to do, but it will save you hours of heartache. Trust me.