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Talk to Mom about privacy issue

My mom is always in my room and on my computer. She even comes up with excuses to look at my photos online. She feels the need to search every part of my room, and I feel like I have no personal space. I've spoken to her before about this, but she still does it. What should I do? — Laura, 18, Los Angeles

You might feel like your space is being invaded, but your mom might feel like she's just being interested in your life. When you've talked to her about this before, did you ask her why she was looking through your stuff? Is it because she doesn't trust you? Or is it because she just likes checking out your photos and hanging out in your room with you?

Talk to her about it to find out and try not to attack her. If you feel that she doesn't trust you, ask her what you can do to gain her trust. Perhaps that would mean sticking to your curfew, or having your friends hang out at your house every once in a while. When you follow the rules and she knows that you are with other trustworthy people, you might see a different and more freedom-giving side to your mom. If her efforts continue to feel like unwanted detective work, talk to her about creating your own personal space. She should understand your need for privacy after you have a mature discussion with her about it.

Everyone says I am really annoying and talk about myself too much. I've tried so many times to stop talking about myself (or just stop talking period), but sometimes I just can't help myself. I have my two best friends who are there for me, but lately it seems like even they're getting annoyed with me. How can I shut up? — Niki, 15, St. Charles, Mo.

There's nothing wrong with talking about yourself, but there is something wrong with talking about yourself too much. We'll let you in on a little secret, though: Everyone loves to talk about themselves. (See, you're doing it!) And if you are always the one speaking, how are they supposed to get any of the limelight?

It might be hard, but you've got to learn to share the stage with people, or you might find yourself with no one left to talk to! If you have a really cool story that you just have to share (and it fits into the conversation), tell it! But when your friends have a story to share, let them talk too. You can show you're just as interested in what they have to say by asking a lot of questions. Looking them in the eye while they're speaking also helps. They will appreciate the fact that you're interested in their lives, plus they'll see that you can hold a conversation without always having to talk about yourself.

I've been dating my boyfriend for two years. He's absolutely amazing, and I'm happy with him. My parents adore him, and my sister feels like he's a big brother to her. The thing is, a couple of my friends think I should break up with him. He is my first boyfriend, and they think I need to play the field. I feel like they are right, but I don't want to break up with him. Help! — Cathy, 21, Foxborough, Mass.

As cheesy as this sounds, the answer to this question is in your heart. You can take a break from your boyfriend and discover who else is out there. But if you break up with him now, there's no guarantee that you can get back together with him, and if you love him, you might regret it.

However, this might be a good time in your life to be on your own and date around a little. That way, you'll never wonder what could have been. Just know that some first relationships end up lasting, and some don't. If your gut tells you that your boyfriend is worth keeping (at least for now), you should listen. We know friends can have a huge influence on relationships, but be careful that yours aren't pushing you too much: They could miss having someone to play the field with — and might not have your best interests at heart.

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