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ABBY: I’m a 16-year-old girl, and I’m pretty sure I’m the most in­se­cure thing on the planet. I al­ways feel self-con­scious. Al­though I guess it’s nor­mal for kids my age to feel like this, it’s at a whole dif­fer­ent level for me.

I feel like ev­ery­one, in­clud­ing my clos­est friends, don’t like me or care about me as much as I care for them. I try to dis­tance my­self from peo­ple so I won’t seem an­noy­ing or clingy, but that has left me so­cially de­prived.

I don’t have a best friend ei­ther. I have mul­ti­ple “kind of” friends. I’m scared to get close to any­one, and too shy to make new friends. And yes, I know, hav­ing friends isn’t the most im­por­tant thing in the world, but it’s still pretty im­por­tant be­cause you need to have peo­ple there for you, to trust and to have fun and make mem­o­ries with.

I al­ways feel like a bur­den to ev­ery­one and like ev­ery­one who is nice to me is only do­ing it out of pity. This year I wasn’t in­vited to even one Sweet 16 party be­cause I have dis­tanced my­self from ev­ery­one. No one, ex­cept for two kids, talks to me at school, and when the teacher asks the class to part­ner up, I’m usu­ally left alone.

A lot of this “no one likes you, ev­ery­one hates you” para­noia comes from my par­ents, be­cause when I was younger, they said it to me re­peat­edly. I only have a few in­ter­net friends. They’re the only best friends I have, but un­like me, they have lives out­side of the in­ter­net. I’m the loser. Please help.

— Com­pletely worth­less DEAR COM­PLETELY WORTH­LESS: Please do not com­pare your life with the lives of the peo­ple you know from the in­ter­net be­cause the in­for­ma­tion can be mis­lead­ing. In an on­line world, ev­ery­thing seems rosy be­cause peo­ple are less likely to post about their dis­ap­point­ments.

In the real world, let me point out that par­ents are sup­posed to sup­port and en­cour­age their chil­dren, not be­lit­tle and den­i­grate them. Be­cause you need more men­tor­ing than I can of­fer in a let­ter or a col­umn, I hope you will dis­cuss your is­sues with a coun­selor at school who may be able to help you re­ceive pro­fes­sional coun­sel­ing to over­come the ver­bal abuse you have ex­pe­ri­enced at home. Please write me again and let me know how you are do­ing be­cause I care.

DEAR ABBY: What’s a po­lite way to re­spond to friends who ask, “Are you hav­ing a baby shower?” when no one has of­fered to throw me one?

My hus­band and I are ex­pect­ing our first child, and we are thrilled. My fam­ily is un­able to host a baby shower (which I un­der­stand would be a breach of eti­quette any­way) and my hus­band has no fam­ily.

I’m not par­tic­u­larly wed­ded to the idea of hav­ing a shower, since my hus­band and I are well es­tab­lished and I don’t re­ally like be­ing the cen­ter of at­ten­tion. Still, if some­one of­fered, I would gra­ciously ac­cept. I feel awk­ward when I am asked this ques­tion be­cause I don’t want to seem en­ti­tled or ex­pec­tant or like I’m feel­ing sorry for my­self. Do you have any way to say, “No one has of­fered, but I’ll let you know if they do”?

— Ex­pec­tant Mom in Cal­i­for­nia DEAR EX­PEC­TANT MOM: Hon­esty is the best pol­icy. Your an­swer to that ques­tion is per­fectly ac­cept­able. It’s the truth, and it may cause some of your friends to step up to bat.


What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and get­ting along with peers and par­ents is in “What Ev­ery Teen Should Know.” Send your name and mail­ing ad­dress, plus check or money or­der for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Book­let, P.O. Box 447, Mount Mor­ris, IL 61054-0447. (Ship­ping and han­dling are in­cluded in the price.)

Dear Abby is writ­ten by Abi­gail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.Dear­ or P.O. Box 69440, Los An­ge­les, CA 90069. Copy­right 2018

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