Ask Laskas

Reader's Digest (India) - - Contents - JEANNE MARIE LASKAS

Com­mon­sense ad­vice.

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?

Lonely

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.

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