DEAR ABBY: I am 12 and in seventh grade. I have the highest GPA of my six close friends. Sometimes they call me "Freaky Genius Girl." When I make jokes, none of my friends comprehend what I'm saying.
Right now I am tutoring three of them and often get calls from the others asking me how to do the homework. I like my friends, but I wish I had someone other than my mother to have an intellectual conversation with. Should I find new pals or tone down my abilities when I'm with them? -- TOO SMART FOR FRIENDS?
DEAR TOO SMART?: Rather than try to "dumb yourself down" with your classmates, ask your mother to help you find a special interest group where you can interact with other girls and boys who are also intellectually advanced. Many school districts offer special classes for gifted students. In addition, explore activities where you can simply let yourself go and have some fun -- like sports, music, drama or art. You're a bright girl and you deserve some time to simply be carefree.
DEAR ABBY: I always dreamed of having a formal black-and-white wedding. I have four bridesmaids who have very different shapes and sizes. It wasn't easy choosing a dress that would fit them all. I thought I was being fair by choosing the skirt length and letting them select from a few different styles of tops.
One of the girls is now telling me she refuses to wear what I selected. She says it is "ridiculous" to make her wear it, and it will make her look stupid. (They are normal-looking dresses, Abby, not outdated or too trendy.)
She has e-mailed me several pictures of dresses she likes, but I don't care for them. Am I being a Bridezilla, or does she need to learn some wedding etiquette? Should I stand my ground -- after all, it is my day -- and risk losing a friendship? -- BRIDE-TO-BE IN MINNESOTA
DEAR BRIDE-TO-BE: You would not be a Bridezilla to remind this young woman whose wedding it is. And when you do, tell her you do not want her to be uncomfortable and you will "understand" if she wishes to back out. Believe me, the last thing you need is for her to be pouting when the pictures are taken on your wedding day.
DEAR ABBY: My mother-in-law bought me a pair of shoes while we were out shopping one afternoon. The boutique was pricey, but she insisted I get them. The next day I got a phone call from her saying she had "borrowing rights" because they cost more than she had expected. I was shocked about the price, too.
Now I'm embarrassed and wonder if I should reimburse her for half the cost, which I'm willing to do. What should I do? -- STEPPING OUT IN SAN ANTONIO
DEAR STEPPING OUT: Your mother-in-law bought WHOM a pair of shoes? Unless her feet are the same size or smaller than yours, I do not recommend sharing them. Once you do they will be stretched and will no longer fit you properly.
Because she has let you know she covets the shoes, consider giving them to her. Alternatively, if they have never been worn, consider returning them to the shop where they were purchased. That way your impulsive M.I.L. can get her money back or a store credit.
To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable -- and most frequently requested -- poems and essays, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)