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Dear Abby: Freshman girl is unschooled in teenage social system

DEAR ABBY: I'm a 14-year-old girl in my first year of high school. I'm not sure what to do about boys or how to make friends. All I ever learned at home was what not to do.


I'm a 14-year-old girl in my first year of high school. I'm not sure what to do about boys or how to make friends. All I ever learned at home was what


to do.

I'm not allowed to date until I'm 16, but I really like this boy in my math class. What should I do? I'm so confused. My parents have protected me against things for so long, and I've had to learn from my friends' and my mistakes. I wonder sometimes if I have to be obedient to my parents or if I should make my own choices. Help!

- Dateless and Clueless in Nevada

DEAR DATELESS: At 14 it's normal to have a crush on a classmate. It's also normal for your parents to want to protect you. You say you have had to learn from your friends' and your own mistakes. That's normal, too. It's how we all learn about life.

Until you're old enough to date, become active in events at school. It's a healthy way to make friends and learn social skills. And continue being obedient to your parents. That's how teens build enough trust so that their parents gain the confidence to give them more freedom.

DEAR ABBY: "Carl" and I have been married 23 happy years. He's a great guy, an awesome dad to our teenage girls and an excellent provider. There's only one problem. Lately he's boring.

Carl doesn't have a physically demanding job, so he can't blame it on being tired. I always make the plans for entertainment because if I didn't, we'd never go anywhere or do anything. When we go out, I feel like he's just along for the ride and would rather be home in front of the TV.

I can see he tries to enjoy himself when we're with friends, but when I ask him afterward, he says, "It was OK," or, "They're not my favorite people." When I ask if he'd like to plan the next outing, he says he's happy just staying home.

I work, go to school and have a busy life, but I need more in it and I'd like to include my husband. My friends are all couples so, naturally, I'd like to have Carl at my side. Whatever I suggest for fun, he's never enthusiastic about any of it. If I have to stay home one more Friday night and watch a movie on pay-per-view, I'll scream! Please help.

- Tired of Friday Blues

DEAR TIRED: You say "lately" your husband is boring. What was he like before that? A man who is listless, lethargic and disengaged should see his doctor to make sure there is nothing physically wrong and if he could be suffering from a mild depression. Suggest that he have a physical and, if possible, go with him so you can voice your concerns.

If nothing is wrong with Carl, you two need to find some activity you can do together that you both will enjoy - something that doesn't involve either television or people your husband doesn't particularly relate to.

DEAR ABBY: My son's fiancee doesn't care what I wear to their wedding, or what color it is. She says she "knows" I'll wear something great.

The wedding will be in September in the afternoon. It should be warm then. They have chosen bright green and bright baby blue as their colors. I don't want to wear either one. Would an ivory or champagne dress be appropriate? I was raised "old school" and need to know.

- Mother of the Groom

DEAR MOTHER OF THE GROOM: Wearing ivory might not be advisable because it is so close to white. However, a dress in a champagne color or pale blue or pale green would be acceptable.

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 or Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.