DEAR ABBY: I'm an 18-year-old girl. Romantic relationships have never meant much to me. It's fun to have someone to go to art galleries and coffee shops with, and to make out with in my car, but I don't have a need to tie myself down. I have had a lot of nice "flings" during high school, but it was high school, and it's time to move on.
My best friend of 11 years, "Mick," happens to be a boy. We decided in middle school that our relationship would be strictly platonic. Last night, Mick kissed me and told me he is in love with me. I don't feel the same. I'm not physically attracted to him. I tried to be nice and told Mick it would ruin our friendship, but he disagrees.
With any other guy, rejection is easy. But this is my best friend. Mick has low self-esteem when it comes to girls. If I say I'm not attracted to him, it'll hurt his feelings.
I feel stuck and angry. I told Mick the truth about how I felt a long time ago. Do I have to be mean to get my point across? Here's how I honestly feel: I love hanging out with him, but I find him repulsive-looking, and if he kisses me again he's getting slapped. I've never been mad at him before. Can you please help me? -- "ASHLEY" IN CLEVELAND
DEAR "ASHLEY": According to the letters I have received from men, most would prefer to be told the truth rather than be left hoping and dangling. You and Mick have different objectives. He wants romance; you want only friendship. It's time for you both to widen your circle of friends.
It isn't necessary to tell Mick that he's "repulsive" or that the next time he makes a move on you, you'll deck him. However, the sooner you tell him plainly that you consider him your best friend -- but nothing more -- and the "chemistry" isn't there for you, the better off you'll both be. Believe me, it's a lot kinder than stringing him along for company.