Ask Jill! Get Answers to Tough Teen Problems!

ASKJILLAbout three months ago, I met a very nice guy and I fell in love with him. I initially told my friends about him and they were very excited for me. About two weeks ago, we started dating and we have been spending almost every day together. However, two of my close friends got mad at me, because they say I don’t care about them anymore and since I met the guy I don’t spend time with them as I used to. I’m very sad because I didn’t mean to hurt their feelings, but at the same time I really love to go out with my boyfriend. How can I solve my problem? Can you please give me any advice?
Laura A., Astoria, NY

How wonderful to be in love! Right? Well, not according to your friends it seems! Look at it from their point of view – they don’t see you anymore and they feel neglected. Instead of just saying they miss you, they will act like they are mad at you. Strike a balance amongst your new love, time with your friends and time for yourself. See if your friends want to have a girl’s night on Friday, spend Saturday with your boyfriend and Sunday will be time just for you. New love feels great but it is very important to have time away from each other. Distance makes the heart grow fonder, right?

How do you over come low self esteem and try to love yourself? Theresa, New York, NY

I think you deserve a hug, Theresa! It’s not easy admitting you don’t feel all that great about yourself. Sometimes the negative thoughts overpower the positive ones, making you feel like a huge weight is on your shoulders. The first step in building your self esteem is practicing kindness with yourself. Ask, “Would it be okay for me to say these negative thoughts out loud to my friends or family?” Chances are you wouldn’t think to be so mean to anyone else, so why do that to yourself? Recognizing you are a special part of this world is also a great way to build your self esteem. Find people in your life who think you are great and keep them close. Ignore any negativity. Do fun things that you enjoy and take it one day at a time. Before you know it, you’ll be feeling great ALL the time!

I’ve been with my boyfriend for a few months now and I’m going to officially meet his parents soon. I’m really shy so I’m really nervous about meeting them. Any advice on how to keep calm, and not stress out?
Debbie T., Astoria, NY

Just be yourself. Shy and all. His parents want to see the real you and it takes too much energy to be fake. They are already trusting that their son picked a great girl so most of the work is already done! If you’re meeting over dinner or a meal, discuss with your boyfriend something small you could bring as a hostess gift, if appropriate. Could be a dessert, a box of chocolates, small bouquet of flowers, etc. – hopefully your boyfriend would know best! You could also ask your mom what she thinks would be the right thing to bring. But remember, just be yourself!

I went on a date with this guy, and it was fun, but I just don’t like him like that. Now he won’t stop messaging me. How do I get a point across without being too mean?
Kiwi, Murfreesboro, TN

Be direct. When he sends you another text, tell him that you’re not into him and that you just want to be friends. Don’t worry about appearing mean – he’s not respecting your boundaries so set some up for him! If he doesn’t get the hint and you feel harassed, tell your parents or a trusted adult about what’s going on. Hopefully he’ll stop before having to get others involved!

I have a friend who is an atheist and I’m a Christian. She and I get along and are really good friends. I respect her beliefs, but I don’t think she respects mine. She makes insulting jokes about my faith and shares anti-religious posts from sites she has liked on Facebook. I understand where she’s coming from, but see there’s a lot of misinformation that was given to her about religion. I don’t mock her beliefs in any way. What do I do about this without ruining a friendship? Angela, New York, NY

Have you told her how you feel? She feels passionately about her beliefs as much as you do, but unfortunately does it in a way that is insulting to you. I would first tell her how you feel. Stress that you respect her beliefs, but would like it if she respects yours. Then set boundaries – no insulting or attacking conversation, but you’re open to discussing calmly your belief systems together. As for Facebook, I would just ignore her negative posts or if they are just too much, set your preferences so that she doesn’t show up in your newsfeed. If she doesn’t respect your wishes, then take a step back and see if some distance will make her realize that her passion might just cause her to lose a great friend.

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