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April 14, 2013

Don't tolerate bullying in any form

Morning Sentinel Staff

Dear Annie: I'm a sophomore in high school. I never had much social stability as a child because my family moved around a lot and I was often in a different school every semester. I've always been that pretty girl who becomes an outcast as soon as she speaks or says something stupid.

I thought high school would be different, but it's not. As soon as I try to make conversation, I'm labeled "weird" or "annoying." The kids at school point at me and laugh when I talk. I don't consider it bullying, because people don't say anything to my face or threaten me. I just know when they give me that smirk.

I've had counseling and therapy, but really no one can tell you how to make friends and be socially comfortable. How do I talk to someone my age without coming across as strange? I'm not trying to "fit in." I like to be random and spontaneous and consider things others don't think about. All I want is to be accepted without all the snooty faces and glares I get at school. -- Awkward for Life

Dear Awkward: Let's get one thing straight: If kids are ostracizing you or pointing at you and laughing, that is a form of bullying and should not be tolerated. But that is only one part of your problem. You seem to have labeled yourself "annoying," while at the same time you are proud of being "random and spontaneous." You say you aren't trying to fit in, yet you want to make friends.

Moving around seems to have left you with a little chip on your shoulder, and this can push people away. Such self-protection got you through grade school, but now you're ready for more. Please talk to someone who can give you pointers on being more accessible: your mother, a sibling, grandparent, aunt, neighbor or teacher. You also could select one girl from your class who seems nice and confide in her that you'd like to be friends. You'd be surprised how much that can help.

Dear Annie: It drives me crazy that so many of your answers include the advice to see a counselor.

When a wife is no longer attracted to her husband because he is overweight or doesn't bathe and isn't going to change, she should leave him and get back to enjoying life. When one spouse is set in his ways, it does no good to see a counselor. It's the same in a relationship when a cheater is going to keep cheating.

You are wasting time and money seeing a counselor when your spouse is not going to go with you and keeps doing the things that drive you crazy. Just tell these people to get out of these relationships. "Till death do us part" will be the death of the partner who is miserable holding on to something that will never bring happiness. -- Tired of "Go See a Counselor"

Dear Tired: When we tell people to seek counseling, it isn't necessarily to reconcile. When both partners are willing to work on their problems, it can save the relationship. But in instances where one partner is unwilling to make the effort, the other partner must decide what is worth keeping and what is not and what the next step should be. These decisions are not simple, often involving young children or financial concerns.

Counseling helps work through the difficulties in order to move forward -- in whatever direction that entails.





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