Dear Dr. Wallace:

I’m 13 and I need your advice. Mindy and I were best friends. Then a girl named Carla moved into our neighborhood and Mindy and Carla became good friends and I hardly ever saw Mindy any more.

I was really upset about this and so I wrote Mindy a note and told her that I did not like her any more. The next day at school Mindy told me that she was never going to talk to me again. Now I’m really sorry I wrote that note because she was a good friend and I really do like her. I don’t know why I wrote it, but now I don’t know what I should do. Can you help me?

— Brenda,

Brooklyn, N.Y.

Dear Brenda: Write Mindy another note and tell her you’re sorry for saying you didn’t like her because you do. Tell her you want to continue being good friends. When you see her at school, say “Hi.” Let’s hope Mindy accepts your apology. Still, it would be a good idea if you made some other friends as well — the more the better! Don’t just sit at home feeling sorry for yourself. Get involved in school activities, at church, and in your community. These are excellent places to meet new friends.

Dear Dr. Wallace: Everybody tells me that I’m beautiful. I have the looks that make people stare at me when I enter a room. Please don’t think I’m bragging. I just want you to know all the facts.

I’m a 17-year-old girl and I’m totally straight- — no drugs, alcohol, tobacco or sex. I am a “good girl,” but I’m still unhappy.

All the “popular” girls at my school openly brag about their sexual flings and about getting high on drugs and alcohol. Naturally, they have all the popular guys. Every time a popular guy asks me out for the first time, it winds up being the last time because I refuse to join in his kind of fun.

I’m tired of not having popular boyfriends and it seems that I’m missing out on all the fun. I’m beginning to feel very discouraged. Please help me.

— Nameless,

Nashville, Tenn.

Dear Nameless: Don’t be envious of the “popular” teens. Sooner or later, they all will be envious of you. The so-called fun they seem to be having is mostly smoke and mirrors — superficial attempts to be accepted and show off a fake sophistication and maturity.

I have received thousands of letters over the years from teens who got caught up in the popularity game and experimented naively with drugs, alcohol and sex. The letters all say essentially the same thing: This path was nothing more than the illusion of happiness. They all found true happiness when they found love — of themselves, their families, their church, their friends and their creator.

Be true to yourself and your faith. You are not missing out on the fun. You’re bypassing the road that too often leads to disaster.

Dear Teens: According to the publication, “Parents of Teens,” the average North American sleeps a total of 24.5 years over the course of his lifetime, spends 13.5 years at work and at school, 12 years watching television, 4.5 years socializing, three years eating, and one year on the phone. The other 13 years are spent in various activities, including doing nothing at all.

Cut the television viewing by two-thirds. Think what you could do with an extra eight years of life!

Write to Dr. Wallace at