DEAR ABBY: My best friend, "Angela," has a boyfriend I'll call Robb. I have an insanely strong crush on him. I am 14, but I am very mature for my age and have unusually intense feelings. Seeing Robb with Angela every day is torture.
The school counselors suggested I immerse myself in something to get my mind off Robb -- sports, drama, my studies -- anything. I tried for months, but it hasn't worked. I can barely function because I'm so miserable and lovesick.
A few days ago, Angela told me she doesn't like Robb as a boyfriend as much as she used to and would really rather be good friends with him. But she doesn't want to hurt his feelings. I want to tell her how I feel about him, but I can't bring myself to do it. What if she laughs at me or tells me he'd never like me? I might kill myself. Please help. I don't know how much longer I can live with this pain. -- LOVESICK IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR LOVESICK: Speak up! Angela gave you the perfect opening when she said she'd prefer to be good friends with Robb. Don't let your fear of what she "might" say keep you suffering in silence. The only thing worse than caring for someone who doesn't know you're alive is feeling trapped in a relationship with someone you no longer care for.
It's not necessary to tell Angela that you're so lovesick you can't function. Just let her know that if she wants to date others, you'll be happy to console Robb. Then cross your fingers and make yourself available if he wants a shoulder to cry on.
P.S. If he does, be sure to tell him jokingly what a foolish girl you think Angela is to let go of someone as special as he is. He'll think you are intelligent and insightful, and you'll be off and running!