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by Abigail Van Buren

Teen 'Squares' Show Courage When They Learn to Say No

DEAR ABBY: My best friend, "Brianna," often invites me to big parties at her older friends' homes. At first I was thrilled because I'm only 15. At the parties I saw some people doing bad things -- but I didn't, at first.

Soon, Brianna pressured me into doing some things that I didn't feel comfortable doing. My parents are very strict about these things, and I knew it was wrong. I have tried to get out of going to the parties, but Brianna says bad things to me. I have even had to lie to my parents about where I'm going.

Every girl my age wants to go to these parties, but I don't. Am I weird for not wanting to get involved in inappropriate things? I'm afraid if I stand up to Brianna, she'll make everyone hate me. Please help. What should I do? -- FEELING PRESSURED IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR FEELING PRESSURED: You're not weird, and "every" girl your age does not want to attend the parties you have mentioned. You appear to be a lot more intelligent than your "friend" Brianna, who sounds more like a bully than a friend.

Because Brianna does things that could land her in serious trouble doesn't mean that you should do them.

As I say in my booklet, "What Every Teen Should Know": "... when it comes to being enticed into acts that are senseless, dangerous, illegal or immoral, it's the 'squares,' the kids who care about their reputations (and their school and/or police records), who really show courage by saying, 'No thanks, I'll pass.'"

Today, it's not unusual to hear about teens engaging in adult activities at much younger ages than the teenagers of previous generations. That is why it is so important for parents (and guardians) to take the time to discuss alcohol, drugs, sex and family values with their children well before they start experimenting.

My teen booklet provides the answers to frequently asked questions such as: How old must a girl be before she can get pregnant? Can she get pregnant the first time she has sex? What time of the month is a girl 100 percent safe? How old must a boy be before he can father a child? Another important topic that's included is how to avoid date rape and what to do if it happens. To order "What Every Teen Should Know," send your name and address, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds), to Dear Abby Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price. My booklet also contains information on contraception and sexually transmitted diseases and how to recognize them. It has been distributed in doctors' offices and used to promote discussion by educators and religious leaders, and is often used by parents who find it difficult to discuss sex with their children.

DEAR ABBY: There's a question I have been pondering for years and I have never seen it addressed in your column. Which came first, the chicken sandwich or the egg salad? I need to make a decision soon. -- CHICKEN LOVER IN PORTLAND, ORE.

DEAR CHICKEN LOVER: Your question is out of my area of expertise because I'm a peanut butter-and-jelly girl. But I know baloney when I'm handed a portion, so chew on that until you figure out the answer.

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