I am a 23-year-old woman and my best friend is a guy, "Trevor." After hearing him call me "Sweetie" and say he's smitten with me and crazy about me, I mustered up the courage to talk with him about taking our friendship to the next level - dating. Trevor responded that his emotions are in a "blender" right now and that he doesn't want to deal with them. He said he doesn't want to make promises in the future he can't keep. He also said he loves me and wants to continue to be best friends.

I know in my heart that it would be beautiful if Trevor just gave us a chance. I'm ready to date him. In fact, we already act like a couple. My friends say I should give up on him, but isn't a solid relationship built on a strong base of friendship? Should we remain best friends?

- Mad About Him in Washington State

DEAR MAD ABOUT HIM: The answer to both your questions is yes. However, best friends are free to date others - and that seems to be what Trevor would prefer right now: no commitments. Loving someone and being in love with someone are not the same. And while Trevor's emotions are "in a blender," he is clear that he wants his freedom. You have my sympathy.

DEAR ABBY: I have been divorced for almost a year and am the mother of two daughters. I am dating two very nice men, and I have been open and honest with both of them about not wanting a serious relationship right now. They both understand. The problem is my sister seems to feel that I need to make a commitment to one of them because if I don't, I will be viewed as a "player." She hasn't spoken to me in weeks because of this "issue."

Is it wrong of me to date more than one man at a time even if I am absolutely honest with them about it? I am not ready to settle down, and I enjoy dating both of them. How do I handle this with my sister?

- Not Playing for Keeps

DEAR NOT PLAYING FOR KEEPS: The way to "handle" her is to ignore the silence and not allow her to push your buttons. By giving you the silent treatment, your sister is attempting to control your life. You are an adult, and you should not allow your sister - however well-meaning she may be - to pressure you.

DEAR ABBY: Today I witnessed two incidents of apparently well-meaning parents swatting their small children's behinds - in public, no less. I cannot believe in these enlightened times this is still considered acceptable by otherwise intelligent people.

As an elementary school teacher, I can tell which children have been subjected to physical discipline at home. They seem more fearful and angry and are more likely to hit another child because children learn through mimicry. In school or in public, a child who swats another child is liable to be lectured on bullying, sued or even arrested. Hitting someone other than your own child is called "assault" in legal terms.

Any degree of swatting may seem effective because it gets the child's attention in the moment, but in the long run, it is counterproductive.

I believe all high schools should offer mandatory child-rearing classes for both genders to break this harmful cycle, and to teach more effective forms of discipline.

- Any Child's Teacher

DEAR ANY CHILD'S TEACHER: I agree with you 100 percent!

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