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by Abigail Van Buren

Tween Takes Stock of Life and Wants to Make Changes

DEAR ABBY: I am a 12-year-old girl who is not happy with who I am. When I was younger I always imagined what I'd be like when I was older -- and this is not who I want to be.

I am the girl everyone wants to date. I have lost people close to me lately and made mistakes I wish I could take back. I love God and the fact that He gave me life, but I don't like myself. People treat me like I have no feelings sometimes, and I'm tired of drama that isn't worth my time. I want to change who I am to who I really want to be.

Do you have any tips on how to make myself the person I want to be, and not the person everyone else wants? -- WHO AM I? VALRICO, FLA.

DEAR WHO AM I?: You are an intelligent young lady who has recognized that she must make changes if she wants to achieve her goals. Good for you.

At 12, you're not frozen into any role. There is time to change your image. While it may be flattering to be someone "everyone wants to date," you are not obligated to date anyone. Concentrate on improving your grades, becoming active in sports, developing your interests and a stronger relationship with your church. If you do, you will form different kinds of relationships that will enable you to become the person you want to be. I have no doubt that you'll accomplish whatever you set your mind to because you have already started.

DEAR ABBY: I am a friendly, 23-year-old woman who likes to make new friends all the time. Recently, though, I have had a few "bumps" and I'm not sure if I may be doing something wrong.

I tried to befriend one girl who was an acquaintance from high school. I found her on Facebook and sent her a message. She replied that she was glad for the surprise e-mail. I sent her a reply, but she never returned one. I also tried to add her as a friend, but she declined.

Then there's the girl who is the sister of one of my male friends. I found her on Facebook, too, and sent her an e-mail. It was the same story. I got a friendly reply -- then nothing.

I met the third girl online at a different friend-type site. She said she was "so glad I messaged her" and the same scenario repeated. I'm confused. Am I making some mistake or just picking the wrong people to befriend? -- EVERYONE'S PAL, EUGENE, ORE.

DEAR PAL: What matters in life isn't the number of friends one has, but the quality of the friendship. Friendship does not usually happen spontaneously, it takes time and common interests among acquaintances to build.

Instead of trying to make friends all the time, concentrate on trying to nurture relationships more slowly on common interest sites. The approach you have chosen may strike others as a little too aggressive. Also, stop depending on online sites and venture into the real world, too.

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have a minor disagreement about the definition of a bachelor. The dictionary defines a bachelor as "an unmarried man." My husband thinks the definition should include "men who have never been married, widowed or divorced."

I think a bachelor is an unmarried man, regardless of the reason he's currently unmarried. He could be divorced or widowed and be a bachelor, as long as his current status is without a companion. What do you say? -- AN INQUIRING COUPLE IN GEORGIA

DEAR COUPLE: I'm inclined to side with your husband on this one. A man who has been divorced is a divorced man; a man who has lost his wife is a widower; and a man who has never been to the altar by the age of 50 is not only a bachelor -- but a confirmed bachelor.

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