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Ask Amy

Ask Amy column

Q. I am an 11-year-old girl. I had a crush on a boy at school. He told me he liked me too. After a while he told me he had a crush on someone else. He was very polite and said he still wanted to be friends with me.

I was a little upset but eventually I accepted things and decided to stay friends with him. Later, in math class, I said something mean to one of his friends. I honestly don’t know where this came from, but I did it.

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A few days later, he told me he had changed crushes again. We had an end-of-the-year party at a roller rink, and I told the new crush that he liked her. This was complete carelessness and unkindness on my part, and I don’t know why I did it.

Well, he found out and was mad at me. He said that when he told me about his crush he was “hyped up on candy” and hadn’t meant it.

I sent him a message that I was extremely sorry. He replied that he couldn’t forgive me. He told me he was moving to a different school district. He did not say why, and I can’t help but think it’s because of me. Should I apologize again?

A. Your friend is not changing schools because of you. His folks probably think this other school would be better for him for a bunch of reasons. One way to keep in touch with your friend would be to ask him, “Hey, I hope your new school is great and that you like it. What’s it like there?” If he doesn’t answer, leave it alone.

You sound like a thoughtful girl. What you are doing is normal for kids your age. You are learning about crushes and friendships and about facing your mistakes.

Here’s my best advice for you: When it comes to candy, stay off the hard stuff. When it comes to friendships, ask yourself this question: “How would I feel if someone said (or did) this to me?” Take a breath, and then do your best to always be your smartest, kindest, and spunkiest self.

Q. I am a married 50-year-old with two grown children. When I was younger, I had plenty of friends. My friends have either moved away or we have drifted apart. My co-workers are pleasant, but they would rather keep their work life and private life separate.

I have tried meeting new people through classes and social groups at my church, but everyone seems to be too busy to take on a new friendship (I even had someone tell me that once).

My neighborhood has become more of a rental community, so neighbors come and go quickly. My husband isn’t very social, so we don’t go out much.

Any advice on how to make new friends at my age?

A. Volunteer for a cause you believe in. Volunteering is different from joining or taking a class because you are actively working together, and it is easier to get to know people when you are engaged toward a common goal. I also suggest getting a dog (if you’re able). Dogs are brilliant at banishing loneliness, and walking a dog is good for you — and a great way to meet other humans.

Q. “Worried Mom” was concerned because of her daughter’s close romance with a Muslim boy. She was afraid that her daughter would convert without understanding the religion. I agree with you that the red flags in this relationship concern the secrecy and control.

When my daughter was in a similar relationship, I did as you advised. I stayed calm and hoped that college life would do its magic. By second semester they had broken up.

You can contact Amy Dickinson via e-mail at askamy@tribune
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