My 16-year-old sister and I don’t always get along, so my parents suggested we go out to dinner to spend “quality time” together. During dinner, she admitted to smoking marijuana with other kids in our neighbourhood. She claims there aren’t any health risks, and she’s careful not to get caught. She doesn’t think it’s a big deal, but I don’t like the idea of her getting in trouble with the law or getting hurt. Yet if I tell my parents, she’ll be grounded and will never forgive me. The other kids will probably just beat me up! How can I make sure she’s safe without getting on everyone’s bad side?
Scared Little Brother
Dear Little Brother, You’re quite a brother to be so concerned about your sister’s wellbeing. And you’re right, ratting her out won’t help the relationship. On the other hand, smoking pot is illegal and a health hazard, and your sister has decided to put herself in harm’s way. Have another “quality time” dinner with her. Share your confusion and urge her to stop or to talk to your parents about what she’s up to. Tell her you’ll help. If she declines, I’m
sorry—you have to tell your parents. The friendship will have to wait.
After two arguments with relatives via Facebook, I’ve had enough! Both times, someone misinterpreted one of my posts, then retaliated by posting personal insults on my wall. How do you recover from relationships strained by Facebook?
Taxed by Technology
Dear Taxed, The only way to avoid being misinterpreted on Facebook is to get off Facebook. You can click all the privacy tabs you want, but ultimately, by posting on social-media sites, you are leaving yourself open to “friends” who may misunderstand you. Decide whether it’s worth it. As for the damage already done, buy a dozen fresh doughnuts and stop by the relatives’ house for a visit!
I’ve been in only one romantic relationship, and that was seven years ago. I’m trying to get back into the dating scene, but I feel weird going to bars. I’ve tried online dating, but whenever I try to contact a guy, or he contacts me, I chicken out and nothing comes of it. I don’t have many friends, and I don’t want to be alone all my life. What should I do? Is there something wrong with me?
Dear Lonely, Nothing is wrong with you. I promise you, there are many guys out there who dislike loud bars and creepy chat rooms just as you do. Go find some of them. Pay attention to your surroundings at work, in your neighbourhood, at the gym, anywhere you like to go. Join clubs or take classes—do the things you love to do and keep your eyes open for new friends who share your interests. Mr Right is often disguised as Mr Awesome Friend.