Dear Annie: I am a 12-year-old boy dating a girl who asked me out in late October. I am always afraid of hurting people, so I said yes. Don't get me wrong. I like "Alison," but just as a friend. A really close friend. Another thing, no one knows we're going out, and everyone thinks I dumped her a long time ago. (I did, but we got back together. I can't say no.)
I want to be single again, but I don't want to hurt Alison's feelings. The other problem is, there is a girl who likes me and thinks I'm single. I like "Cyndi" only as a friend, too.
So what do I do with Alison, whom I want to dump (but definitely stay tight friends with) and Cyndi, who wants me as a boyfriend? Please work your magic. Broken Down in Brockville
Dear Brockville: We sent our wand to the repair shop, but we'll give it a try the old-fashioned way. Apparently, you are pretty popular with the ladies, so you might as well learn how to extricate yourself from such tricky situations, because they are sure to come up in the future.
First, be honest. Tell Alison you think she's a terrific friend, but you aren't interested in her as a girlfriend. We know you don't want to hurt her, but if you keep pretending, it will only hurt her more later.
Second, learn to say no. Break the news to Cyndi that you think she's really nice, but you don't want to be tied down right now. We think you're smart to stay single, so don't let these girls pressure you into doing something you don't want to do.
Dear Annie: Last weekend, my wife and I attended a student drama production at a small college. The production wasn't professional, but it was put together with enough effort and care to be taken seriously.
The play was presented in a small theater with good acoustics. Soon after the lights went down, I heard a rhythmic hissing. The sound made it nearly impossible for me to concentrate on the dialogue, and it was loud enough to be audible to the performers. It continued unabated throughout the performance, and I realized it was coming from a woman directly in front of me who was using a small, portable high-tech oxygen device. This was the source of the hissing.
Normally, making noise during a performance is discourteous, but this woman obviously had a disability. I said nothing to her, but I don't feel her illness excuses her from the common courtesies expected of people at a live performance. What do you do in a situation like this? R.S. in Wisconsin
Dear R.S.: You can't expect those with ambulatory disabilities to stay home because their equipment makes noise. This woman most likely hoped her breathing apparatus would be tolerated, since the performance was small, intimate and nonprofessional. Under those circumstances, you must make the best of it. If we were in your shoes, we would have acted exactly as you did and said nothing.
Dear Annie: This is in response to "Colorado Mother," who said the 40-year-old woman still living at home was a loser, and you should stop printing letters from adult children living with their parents because it only encouraged them.
She shouldn't be so quick to judge another person's reasons for still living in their parent's home. I live in Hawaii, where property and rent are very expensive, and it is extremely common for children to live with their parents even after they marry and have children. If you stopped printing letters from adult children living at home, I guess you wouldn't be printing any from Hawaii. Aloha from Hawaii
Dear Hawaii: And we love our Hawaiian readers, so we don't plan to stop.
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