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Chris Listens: Relationships, Puppies, Cheating, and More Relationships

Chris Listens: Relationships, Puppies, Cheating, and More Relationships

Today we continue with Part II of this last week’s Chris Listens. As you may recall, we received many heartfelt questions from SparkNotes readers, so we’re holding off on making fun of rock bands and iPhone apps in order to address the various concerns weighing heavily on young minds. Thanks to all who submittedeven if I don’t answer you below, I’m still listening.

Hey there. My question is one you have probably seen before, but haven’t answered, so here is your chance to help all of us lost poor souls. I'm a 16-year-old girl in a public high school and I'm in love with my best friend, who happens to be a gay guy. There we go, there's my problem. What do I do? He's not like totally gay, he's bisexual but leans towards boys, so it's like I have a chance, but not really.

Well, this is a tricky one, because there’s a difference between being gay and being bisexual, and your next step depends on which really applies to your best friend. Has your best friend told you that he is gay? Has he told you that he is bisexual? Or is this how you interpret what he says and does? If he is gay, you’ll have to get over your romantic feelings for him, 'cause it's a dead end. But if he’s bisexual, there are quite a few paths you could saunter down. You say you have “a chance,” so in the best possible scenario, you’d let him know about your feelings. He might feel the same way, and everything would be amazing. But this path carries the most risk, because he may never have thought of you in this romantic way, and your revelation could turn your friendship into a festival of awkwardness. Of course, you might also discuss it, not become romantically involved, but still keep your friendship intact. Another option is to keep your feelings to yourself and hope he brings it up (maybe he’s noticed you acting differently around him recently?) or hope it goes away over time, thereby making your life easier. But it is rare that bottling up your emotions helps. If you two are truly best friends, you should be able to talk about it. And if romance isn’t in the cards, getting it out in the open will help you move forward.

A friend of mine is quite flirtatious, in a troublesome way. She’s very attractive (heck yes!) and she doesn’t mind being asked out, but often she will go out of her way to end up in one relationship after another. And as regularly as she goes out, she breaks up, often painfully. One day she told me how she felt so down after her last break up (I lost count of how many relationships she’s had), but she says she doesn’t know why. And now, she’s on the verge of going out with another guy. How can I tell her that her problems are probably being influenced by the various “relationships” without hurting her feelings?
You say that her problems are coming from her relationships, but do you know that for sure? Maybe she’s using the relationships as a way to distract her from other problems that you don’t know about. If you want to help, you should probably talk with her more generally about how you’ve noticed that she’s been going through a tough time, and then let her reveal (if she wants) what’s bothering her. No one likes to be told where their problems are coming from, so while I am glad you want to support your friend, you need to let her take the lead in any discussions you have.

I really like this girl who I met through my friend and we started talking and all. But then I screwed up and I told her that I really like her after like a week after we met. Now she won’t talk to me and thinks I’m weird. I know I shouldn’t have done that but I don’t know why I said it. After that she came online and was like you don’t love me and all, and I was like I do and blah blah and after that she was like no you don’t and don’t message me telling me you love me but the thing is I REALLY like her, I’m always staring at her picture and thinking of what to say to her. I really need help, I love her more than anything else. I can’t concentrate on my studies or anything. PLEAASE give me some thing good that I can say to her! I really love her!
Slow down, cowboy. In my experience, if there’s one thing that drives girls away, it’s a dude who comes on too strong. There’s not one magical thing you can say to her to win her heart, so my advice is to chillax on this for a few days. While you obviously know how you feel about her, it may take her a little while to understand her feelings (if she has any) toward you, and you shouldn’t pressure her into feeling a certain way. Try not to obsess over her for a week and see what happens. Maybe she’ll message you because she misses your overtures, or maybe you’ll both realize it’s not going to work out. In the meantime, just be cool.

I am a high school student and I sort of cheated on my math test. Now that the teacher found out, she doesn't trust me and is not counting any of my work. Just because I was really desperate and cheated, she thinks that I cheat on everything. Well it’s finals time, and I need help. But how do I regain her trust?

I am not sure what “sort of” cheating involves, but I do know that you picked a rather inopportune time to do it (and get caught). You might explain to her that you are incredibly sorry and that you were wrong and that you learned a hard, terrible lesson, but there’s probably nothing you can do to fully regain her trust except prove to her that you are trustworthy by never cheating again. Also, while your teacher might assume you cheat on everything, I'm pretty sure she can’t fail you on everything based on that assumption alone. Be extra careful during finals and do everything you can show that you are an upstanding student. Hopefully she'll forgive you and goodwill shall be restored. Good luck!

I really want to be an actress or a model but my parents are so not into the idea. How do I get them to say yes to it? I’m 13 by the way.
I know how you feel. When I was 13, I desperately wanted to be a professional blogger, and my parents were like, “Don’t be silly, blogs don’t even exist yet.” And I said, “Just wait, someday they will!” The secret key to getting your parents to let you do stuff is to inform them of your motivation. Do they know why you want to be an actress or model? And for that matter, do you know why? If you don’t, think up a really good reason. And if you can’t think of anything, just show them these pictures of Angelina Jolie’s house. Tell them that this is what becoming an actress gets you, then ask if they would like to live in one of the outlying buildings someday.

So about a month ago one of our dogs passed away, and although this may sound bad, I want another dog (a particular Australian Shepherd puppy), not to replace our previous dog, but to help fill in the empty space, if you know what I am talking about. Anyways, I have the money to pay for the dog and I am very eager to do so, but my mother is slightly hesitant. Do you know of anything that I can do to help convince her to let me buy the puppy?
I definitely know what you are talking about, because the dog I had since junior high grade passed away earlier this yearI’m very sorry for your family’s loss. Your mother could be hesitant about a new canine for a few reasons. Maybe she is upset about your old dog’s death and needs more time to mourn its passing. Or she might be concerned that you haven’t totally dealt with your old dog's passing, and that you’ll just use a new dog to distract yourself from your feelings. It’s also possible that she simply doesn’t want to deal with another puppy at this point, because puppies are a lot of work. Instead of trying to convince her that you need this particular puppy, talk with her about when would be the right time to get another dog. You might lose out on this particular Australian Shepherd, but you don’t want to force the issue.

So I'm a girl and I'm not lesbian, but I find it so easy to flirt with girls. I try to do it with guys, but I guess I just lack confidence or something… Is there something wrong with me? I get totally awkward around guys, and I guess they feel a little intimidated by me 'cause I'm a rather forward person. One guy even threatened to call the cops on me! No lie! You got any suggestions for this "guy trapped in a girl's body"?
First of all, there is absolutely nothing “wrong” with you. But if you are questioning your gender identity, you may want to talk about the way you see yourself with someone close to you, such as a good friend, parent, or counselor. You may find that the way you feel about other people has a lot to do with the way you feel about yourself, so it’s best to start there. Then you can tackle your flirting habits. It’s hard for me to give more advice without knowing more about your situation, but you took a great first step by writing in to share your feelings (see, being forward has its advantages). I encourage you to continue this discussion with someone you can trust.

I'm a really religious person (Protestant Christian by the way), and my friends aren't. I want to hang out with other serious Christians, but all the people in Student Venture (school bible club) are all freaking nerds! WTF! I saw one guy picking his nose while some girls in overly clunky glasses whine when we moved onto the abortion dilemma. What should I do? Where do I find these people?
Whoa there, serious Christian, don’t be so judgmentalit’s not the Christian way. We all want to hang out with likeminded people, but you should try to hang out with as many different types of people as possible, regardless of their religion. You never know whom you might hit it off with. As for finding other serious Christians in your community, get thee to Facebook or MeetUp to see if there are any appropriate groups you can join. Someone in your church might be able to point you in the right direction, although there’s no guarantee you won’t end up in the parish basement eating cold pizza and praying silently for J.C. to get you the heck out of there.

Yo Chris, I met this girl at a party where I didn’t know anybody except a few people. I feel that I left a sort of bad first impression because I was being kinda anti-social. Now, the only way I have to communicate with her is through MSN and Facebook. How would I get a date with her when the only interaction I get with her is over MSN and sometimes she doesn’t respond back?
Yo yo. Bad news. If you really did make a lousy first impression, you might not be able to get a date with her, and no amount of hilarious IMs or clever Facebook requests will change that. My advice is to keep trying to get in touch for another week or so, but change your strategy from “I want to date you” to “I want to be friends with you.” If you become friends first, she might be more likely to develop stronger feelings for you. Or, who knows, you may get to know her better and then NOT want to date her.

Hi, there is this girl that I really like, but she has a boyfriend. However, her boyfriend went to prom with someone else… technically they’re still together. Is it wrong for me to try to steal her?
Hi, there is this sandwich that I really want to eat, but it’s sitting on someone else’s plate. That person is not eating the sandwich at the moment because they are busy scarfing some chips, but it seems like they might get back to the sandwich in a minute or two. Is it wrong for me to try to snatch the sandwich off the plate before that happens? Um, yeah, it's wrong.

Girl trouble? Guy problems? Sandwich issues? Direct your queries to

Topics: Life
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