Get Along With Your Parents!

Do your parents expect you to work hard, study harder, dress a certain way? Do they think they can even pick your friends? Negotiating with your parents to loosen up a little is a skill, so here, we show you how to take the pressure off.

“How Can I Get Them to Listen to Me?”
There’s nothing wrong with disagreeing with your parents. In fact, it’s a necessary part of establishing yourself as a separate and unique person. Rather than criticizing their position, let them know how you feel. If you can’t seem to get your point across by talking to them, try writing a note or email. Giving them time to process what you have to say could make all the difference.

“My Parents Are Way More Lenient With My Brother”
We won’t argue the notion that many parents keep a tighter rein on daughters than sons. Maybe it’s because girls are more often victims of abuse or are more likely to experience depression. So make sure your parents know you understand the dangers. Listen to their reasoning … and compromise.

“Why Won’t They Let Me Make My Own Choices?”
Even if you don’t quite buy that their fears are legitimate, the best way to get your parents to be less protective is to ask them for a chance to show that you are responsible and can make smart decisions. Assure them you will ask for help if you’re ever unsure about what to do. Show maturity by letting them know you respect their advice and guidance.

“I Don’t Want to Constantly Be Under Their Watch!”
If you want your folks to let you, say, go to the mall with your friends, you should be familiar with the following safety precautions:

    1. Never talk to strangers -- no matter how cute they look or nice they seem.

    2. Always have at least $10 in cash on you and don’t spend it on candy -- this is “in case of emergency” money.

    3. Be sure your cell phone is charged. No cellie? Have change for a pay phone.

    4. Choose a time and spot to get picked up, and be punctual! If your parents pull up to the mall entrance, and you’re not there on
    time? Well, game over.

Best Gifts for Your Favorite Boy

Whether it’s for the holidays or his birthday, figuring out the perfect prezzie for your boyfriend or best guy friend can be tough. That’s why we’ve come up with a foolproof list of fabulous things dudes love -- without putting too much of a pinch on your pocketbook.

Sporty Guy
Is your guy an extreme athlete or all-out fan? Get him a bobblehead of his fave athlete, a team T-shirt or a sports-themed video game. Some discount marts carry team merchandise, so shop there before hitting an expensive specialty store. Wanna hit a home run? Track down tickets to a game. If you can’t afford that, make handmade tix good for one-on-one basketball with you or a day of watching the big game on your family’s big-screen complete with a munch-down spread.

Tech Geek
Tech gadgets don’t come cheap, so turn your techie on to a little old-school stuff to challenge his forward-thinking brain. Give him a good classic sci-fi book (you know, with pages made of paper); make him a mixed CD he can download to his MP3; or pick up a Rubik’s Cube (around $10 at most toy stores).

Artsy Dude
If your boy is the creative type, hit the art supplies store and present him with a nice bouquet of pencils, markers and brushes wrapped with a piece of twine. Also get him a couple of sketch pads and do some artwork of your own or write something poetic on the first page. A guy like this might also appreciate some ceramic ware (handcrafted if you’re artistic too) along with a simple scented candle or incense from the dollar store.

Motor Head
If he doesn’t already collect model cars (or motorcycles or trucks), start a collection for him. Or purchase a quality tool, and give it to him with a ribbon around it and a nice note that says “You’re not just a tool.” You could also spring for a gift certificate to your nearest go-cart track since he has the need for speed. Mechanically inclined dudes almost always seem to be wired for the arcade, so you could always give him a small stocking stuffed with game tokens.

When Frenemies Attack!

A frenemy is a friend and enemy rolled into a mixed-up mess of cutting remarks passed off as compliments. She may even be genuinely fond of you, but negative emotions like envy have gotten in the way. A frenemy is tough to spot when she’s disguised as a bud who has your back. And frenemies come in many different forms, so we’re here to help you sort through the confusion:

Bride Wars Battles
You saw the movie Bride Wars, right? The two brides-to-be have been BFFs since, like, kindergarten. Next thing you know, they’re all-out sabotaging each other’s wedding because they both want to book the same venue on the same date. If you and a friend-turned-enemy are battling it out, the culprit could be jealousy, misunderstandings, stress or all of the above.

But while you’re hating on each other -- and these feelings can be very real -- you still love her. And fear of losing her forever can fuel even more irrational behavior. When you and a bestie are in enemy mode, rather than tossing verbal darts, steer clear until you’ve simmered down enough to try to work it out. OK?

The City Syndrome
If you watched last season of MTV’s The City, you’re familiar with the tense relationship between the reality show’s star Whitney and her co-worker Olivia. Classic frenemies! They pretend to like each other because they have to be cordial -- at work and in social settings -- but deep down, it’s clear there’s no big dose of love there.

This kind of frenemy is someone you did not choose but were tossed in with. Maybe it’s your lab partner or that girl on your gymnastics team, and you two just don’t jive. But instead of making a scene, you make nice. Whitney’s mistake was trying to socialize with Olivia. Keep a frenemy like this at arm’s length by only seeing her when you have to.

Head for The Hills
When Kristin joined the cast of MTV’s The Hills, she immediately went after Audrina’s ex Justin -- after acting like she cared about Audrina’s feelings. Kristin also flirts with her own ex-boyfriend Brody while feigning a “friendly” attitude toward his girlfriend, Jayde. Sounds like a lot of drama, eh?

If you have a huge crew like the one on The Hills, you’re likely drawn to one another because you have so much in common. You like the same clothes, same activities … same boys. This creates a need to compete. If your frenemy is a boyfriend snatcher, keep your dignity intact by never letting her see you’re bugged. She can’t win if you make it clear there’s no contest!

Gossip Girl Fight
Leighton Meester and Jessica Szohr of The CW’s Gossip Girl are great friends off camera. But their characters on the show -- Blair and Vanessa -- don’t exactly get along. And word on the street is that in real life, Leighton and Blake Lively have a mini rivalry going on. When you’re part of a social clique, not everyone will … well, click. It’s all just a little too close for comfort, and there are bound to be conflicts.

If your frenemy is tight with your other friends, she can be hard to avoid. Your best bet is to know your place with her: She’s an acquaintance, not a confidant. Have fun casually hanging out, but it might not be a great idea to trust her with your secrets, dreams, passions and concerns. Save those for your true-blue buds.

Wherefore Art Thou?

You like him but think he can’t be the guy because why? He’s older? Younger? He used to be your BFF’s crush? Fill in your details here. But guess what -- none of that makes a bit of diff.

Oh, Romeo, why must thou be younger than I am?
Let us first make this point with crystalline clarity: Huge age differences really are not appropriate when it comes to dating during your school years. But if he’s a mere grade below (or above) you -- so what? As long as you find that you two are compatible when it comes to maturity mojo, why sweat the birthdates? Refuse to play games, particularly when they involve irrelevant numbers.

Oh, Romeo, please do say you are not my brother’s best bud…
So you’ve fallen hard for your bro’s BFF? Sure, it might feel weird at first, especially if you’ve known this guy since forever but never really noticed him until now. Truth is, your sib might not be so keen on the idea of his pal kicking it with his sister. But if the crush is mutual, don’t let your brother sabotage it with silly ideas about who you should or shouldn’t be dating, OK?

Oh, Romeo, ’tis a far tougher thing than rival schools to keep us apart…
Juliet was hot for a guy in tights and buckled shoes because he was true and passionate, even though he was so very “wrong” for her. But by whose rules? Not love’s rules. You like who you like, and it doesn’t matter whether or not you go to the same school. End of story.

Oh, Romeo, a rose by any other name is still my best friend’s ex-crush…
You might be booting the prospect of an amazing potential BF out of your mind for a reason that seems intense but turns out to be a whole lotta nothing. Just do a quick check with your girl to be sure she isn’t still scribbling his name on the inside of her binder. As long as your friend is no longer ga-ga over the guy, there’s no good reason not to go for it. No more drama!

Make the New Girl Your New Friend

Nothing rocks the halls of school like a new girl. For the first few days after her arrival, your mind is buzzing with possibility. Who will she sit with at lunch? Will she be popular? Where’d she come from? Well, the new transfer doesn’t have to be a mystery. Let us clear this up for you: She’s lonely and lost -- and she could use a friend. Here’s how to make it happen.

Work up Your Nerve
Yeah, yeah, easier said than done. Seriously, striking up a convo can be stress-producing, what with all the potential awkward silences. But here’s the thing: The new girl is like a bug (bear with us here). Even though you’re a bit freaked out, that bug is way more scared of you. Same goes for the newbie. So if you keep it in that perspective, approaching her should be a cinch. (No swatting!)

Say Something Already!
The initial chat just needs to be ice-breaking, not groundbreaking. The subject matter doesn’t have to be anything particularly memorable or exciting, so don’t sweat it. Start with the basics: “Hey, what’s your name?” “Where are you from, (insert name you just learned)?” “Wow, how do you like it here so far?” End it with an invite to join you for lunch, if she needs a place to sit. Then leave it at that for now.

The Follow-through
Truth is, she maybe won’t remember your name the next time you talk. C’mon! She’s meeting tons of new people every day and has a lot to absorb. That means you reach out again, re-introduce yourself, and this time, delve a little deeper. Ask her about her old life -- because she probably really misses it and would love to talk about it. Then fill her in on some not-so-scandalous, need-to-know school gossip. It’ll make her feel like less of an outsider.

Round up the Posse
Now that the two of you are on the ins with each other, introduce the new gal to your crew in a chill no-pressure zone. Invite the girls over for a spa night or catch a High School Musical alum’s latest movie release. Even if they don’t become instant besties, giving your circle a chance to get to know your new friend can fend off pesky jealousy issues that might crop up when there’s a new girl in town.

Let Her Mingle
Warning: She might get along great with your friends and wind up really hitting it off with one or two or a few. If that happens, you need to give those buds your blessings. Friendships don’t divide; they multiply. So if she gets tighter with a BFF than with you, so be it. Give yourself snaps because if it weren’t for you, the girl might be wandering around solo, still wondering how to get from homeroom to science lab. You’re fab!