DEAR ABBY: I understand that a 15-year-old guy writing for relationship advice is shameful and that I'm probably better off not worrying about relationships in the first place, but I'm still gonna try.
I'm in high school, and I'm searching for a relationship with a certain girl. I've known her for eight years, and I always had a little-kid crush on her, but it's evolved over time and we've gotten closer. We used to talk a lot. She was in a relationship then. Even though we had feelings for each other, she stayed loyal to him.
Well, a couple months ago they broke up. As far as I know, she's single, but we don't really talk much anymore. A couple times I've started conversations with her, but they are usually short-lived.
She knows I have feelings for her, but nothing has happened. She's the one I want and now's my opportunity, but I don't want to ruin the small chance I have. I'm afraid she won't be single for long. -- WANTS TO TRY IN OHIO
DEAR WANTS TO TRY: It is not "shameful" to ask for advice. Call her and ask how her summer has been. If you did anything interesting, tell her about it. Then ask her if she's seeing anybody special. If she says no, ask if she'd like to go to a movie, a sporting event or on a hike with you -- depending upon her interests. I can't guarantee it will get you the response you're hoping for, but at least you will know where you -- and she -- stand.
DEAR ABBY: My daughter will turn 6 soon, and she is a lovely, wonderful child. The only thing is, my parents and I have spoiled her a tad.
Holidays have always been celebrated with lots of gifts. I'm starting to worry that perhaps she's becoming too materialistic. What's the proper etiquette for requesting no gifts on her birthday invitations? And how do I respond if they ask why? -- SPOILED IN WASHINGTON
DEAR SPOILED: I don't think it's necessary to state on the invitation "no gifts." There are ways to teach children that there are other, less-fortunate children in this world.
One way would be to volunteer at an organization that serves the underprivileged so your daughter can see for herself how lucky she is. Another would be to do as some other parents do: Mention on the birthday invitation that any gifts will be donated to a cause you and your daughter agree upon. And if you are asked why, be honest and upfront about it.
DEAR ABBY: I feel uncomfortable when people end conversations with "I love you." It creeps me out when a man does it. I always thought those words were reserved for someone you are intimate with, such as a spouse or possibly one's children. Am I wrong to think "I love you" has become meaningless from overuse? Or am I just a weird guy? -- UNCOMFORTABLE IN TEXAS
DEAR UNCOMFORTABLE: It's not uncommon for good friends of both sexes to say "Love you" or "I love you" to each other as well as to extended relatives. In my opinion, it's healthy for people to express their feelings, because there's never too much love. Our world could use more expressions of it, not fewer.