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Don't mope — find own boyfriend

Dear Atoosa: I've been in love with this wonderful guy, but he is going out with my best friend. They have been going out for almost the whole school year, and it pretty much tortures me every day. I hate it. She's my best friend; he's my crush. I just don't know what to do. — Mallory, 13, St. Augustine, Fla.

I'll let you know what you should do: Find a new crush. Think about it. He likes her. She likes him. Where do you fit into this equation? Even if he did like you and he was dating her, that would not be showing a whole lot of integrity on your part if you "stole" him away.

At the end of the day, the most important thing you have is your integrity. It's the one thing in life that you can really control — so it's not something you want to mess with. Instead? Make a list (stop rolling your eyes, please!) of what it is you like about him. Write down everything. Voila! You officially know your type. Not bad — you're way ahead of most other girls your age. Now you know what to look out for so you can find your own boyfriend.

Dear Atoosa: My friend is messing up her life. It seems like every time I see her, she has done something that is even more stupid than the last time. She steals cars, runs away, does drugs (at school) and countless other things. How can I help her? — Nikkole, 15, Tucson, Ariz.

It's great that you want to help her. But here's what you need to be careful of: Don't let her drag you down that path with her. At the end of the day, she is her parents' responsibility — not yours. (Especially when it comes to stuff that's as serious as what you're describing.)

So here are your options: If your parents know her parents, have them talk in depth about what you've been seeing her get into. Or if you're comfortable approaching her parents yourself, call them (maybe you'd want to have one of your parents nearby for support?).

If for some reason her parents aren't involved in her life or they're not helpful, go to a teacher you respect and explain the situation. If you really want to help her, that's the only way. Her parents — or another adult — will get her the help she needs.

Questions may be sent directly to Atoosa Rubenstein at: © King Features Syndicate Inc.