DEAR ABBY: I am a 9-year-old girl in third grade. I have problems making friends. Girls my age and older don't like me much. Boys my age and older seem to be fine.
It's important I get help in making girl friends. I have three hopeless brothers I really don't like. My mom said I should tell you what I do like -- math, science, dolls and TV. I have crazy hair.
Did you have this problem when you were my age? I think people think I'm weird. -- YOUNG READER IN KOKOMO, IND.
DEAR YOUNG READER: Your mother is a smart woman. She knows how important common interests can be in forming relationships. Because you like math, science, dolls and TV, gravitate toward girls who like them, too. If you do, you may find that some of them are receptive. Remember -- all you really need is one friend you can confide in.
As to the rest of your question, at your age I wasn't part of the popular crowd. I was shy and terrible at sports, so I spent many hours alone in my room reading books. They kept me company and widened my horizons beyond my immediate neighborhood. People at my grammar school probably thought I was weird, too, but many people who become successful as adults start out that way.
You and I have something else in common. I was self-conscious about my hair, too. It was curly and hard to handle because I hadn't yet learned to style it. But as I grew older, I learned to manage it -- as I'm sure you will. And when I reached my mid-teens I found it easier to make female friends. A valuable lesson I learned was to BE a friend when someone needs one, and to practice character traits I admired in others, such as kindness and honesty.