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Confidentially Yours

When young girls 'fall in love'...
by Jewel Kats and Dave Silverberg
Young People's Press


December 27, 2004

Dear Jewel,

I'm in Grade 10 and I have a crush on a co-op student from the university. He works as an office assistant in our school and I recently started noticing him. I pass him during lunch and he smiles. He actually asked me my name, but I doubt he's interested in me and only regards me as a kid. There is a huge gap in our ages, he's turning 20 and I'm still 15. I think he's just trying to be polite and I know that in his position he can't be interested in young girls, but I feel that this rejection is affecting my self-confidence. I find myself quieter in class. Can you please help me? - NEEDS CONFIDENCE BOOST

jpg David Silverburg and Jewel Kats

David Silverburg and Jewel Kats at Young People's Press answer questions from young readers concerning love, drugs, sex, parents and other teen issues, with the oversight of a psychologist.
Photo courtesy The Young People's Press

Dear N.C.B.,

You're out of your league, girl. I'm not referring to looks, style or anything superficial. I'm talking about maturity level.

Crushing on a teacher (or in this case, an office assistant) isn't unusual. Sometimes feelings of admiration can ignite an unexpected flame. But that doesn't mean you should start playing with fire.

Read: You can get burnt.

You and this guy aren't on equal footing. Whether you like it or not, he's an authority figure. And you can't change that fact.

Don't try overstepping boundaries. Chances are it'll lead to an uncomfortable situation. Not to mention you'd run into ethical problems.

I'm not implying that you should be quiet in class. Exchanging ideas in an open forum is healthy, whereas seeking validation from others is not.

External sources can never fill an internal void. Only YOU have the POWER to culminate your self-confidence. Stop turning to others for your identity. Instead, start building it yourself.

Look at yourself with an objective eye. Applaud your strengths; work on your weaknesses. List your goals; find ways to turn them into reality. Take note of what pleases you; pour yourself into like-minded activities.

Remember, the world is your oyster. You decide what part to bite into first.

Love Jewel.


Dear Dave,

My best friend got herself a boyfriend and she really likes him. They've only been going out for a week and she feels she loves him. She's only 14 and I believe she's setting her self up for a fall, but I don't know how to tell her. A part of me thinks that I should tell her, but I don't want to jeopardize our friendship. She would do anything for him, including give up her virginity and quit school. She is extremely smart and talented, so I don't want her throwing it all away for a guy. Could you please tell me how to tell her that without sounding like an overprotective mother? - TRYING TO SAVE A FRIEND

Dear T.T.S.A.F.:

As a friend, you're in a unique position: You are trusted to give advice that can help reshape opinion. You can advise your friend but be warned she may not want to hear it.

Love can cause people to wear blinders. This tunnel vision may push your suggestions to the fringe but that doesn't mean you should give up.

You'll sound like an overprotective mother if you tell her straight-up that she's throwing her life away. At 14, kids hear too much of that already. There's only one thing to do if you're truly concerned: Hint.

Very underused but usually effective, hinting will give you the opportunity to maintain a friendship but still offer suggestions of why this relationship is crippling her.

Tell her this guy sounds great but point out quitting school means missing out on parties and after-school events - speak to her social side.

Also mention guys come and go, but self-respect always stays. You can probably phrase it more tactfully than that. If she wants to lose her virginity at 14, that's her choice, but you can tell her some people want to save it until they're more mature. Use yourself as an example, if applicable.

You're treading on delicate ground and without a doubt, you have an uphill battle ahead. She likes this guy so much that all advice may go in one ear and out the other.

But if you see a girl crying out for help, you shouldn't give up.

Good luck!


Got a hot question for our cool columnists?
E-mail Jewel or Dave at writeus(at)
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Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service,


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