Dear Dr. Wallace:
I’m rather shy. My favorite counselor at my school is encouraging me to run for class secretary. She thinks I’d be a good secretary but also thinks it would help me overcome my shyness. My mother thinks I should “go for it,” but my brother, who also attends my high school, thinks I’ll lose, which will make me feel bad and make me become even more shy than I am now.
I was ready to give it a go until my brother spoke up. I’m shy enough. I don’t want to add depression to my problems. What do you think?
— Shy Girl, Newark,
Dear Shy Girl: I agree with mom; go for it! Whether you win or lose, the experience of running for class office will work wonders on your shyness. You’ll be forced to challenge yourself and step outside the safety of not being noticed. Such activities are their own reward, regardless of the outcome. You will talk to others much more than you would otherwise, and you will make a few new friends — win or lose.
Sure, you’ll be disappointed if you don’t win, but think how you’ll feel if you don’t even run. That kind of disappointment tends to last a lot longer than the temporary letdown of not achieving a particular goal. And don’t forget, maybe you will win! I encourage you to run. Write to our column when the results are in. We would like to hear about your experience no matter the outcome!
Dear Dr. Wallace: I’m a sophomore in high school, and we just moved to Seattle at the beginning of this new school year.
So far I like it here, and the kids all seem nice and friendly. I met this guy in one of my classes, and after a few days talking to each other, he finally asked me out. I was absolutely thrilled because he is really cute and a really nice guy.
But then, the very next day, he told me he shouldn’t go out with me because he already has a steady girlfriend who lives in another city. He said that he still wanted to be friends, so I agreed, but I was really disappointed.
Now this boy calls me nearly every night, and we spent a lot of time talking on the telephone together. He also shows up outside some of my other classes and spends time with me at lunch at school, and it’s strange because he almost treats me like his girlfriend but with no dating and no romance.
I really like him and even dream about him at night. I’m confused and unsure how to handle this unusual situation.
— New Girl in Town, Seattle
Dear New Girl: It’s time to have a heart-to-heart talk with this young man. Tell him you enjoy being with him and you feel he also enjoys being with you.
Then ask him if he has serious feelings about the “steady girlfriend” he never sees. If he says yes, tell him to spend more time calling her and less time with you so you can date others.
If he says no, tell him it’s time for him to be honest, break up with her and start going steady with you.
In either case, you will break out of the limbo you are finding yourself in.