Girlfriends Rule!

Female bonding is never more powerful than when you’re a teen! Like food and water, friendships are a basic need -- a mandatory component to a girl’s happiness. So how can you safeguard your most important friendship? Here are some suggestions for keeping this bond kickin’ for the long haul!

1. Show you appreciate her Surprise her now and then with her favorite candy bar or magazine. Invite her to join your family when you’re doing something fun. Send her a ridiculously mushy friendship card … just because.

2. Listen when she talks She’s there for you when you’re down and never says, “You told me that already,” even if you have. Be there for her in the same way. Ask questions to show her you want details.

3. Put the friendship first Don’t blow your best friend off for people who might not be around forever. That includes the cute guy who asked you to his game when you promised you’d help her pick a prezzie for her baby bro’s b-day. Or the popular girl who invited you over Friday night after you and your BFF already made plans.

4. Keep her secrets Don’t ever betray her trust. Never spill anything she confides in you, unless it’s something that may put her in harm’s way. An example? If you know she’s been purging her lunch, you’re a good friend to tell a parent she needs help.

5. Always have her back Stand up for her, whether she’s around or not. She needs to know she can count on you to be on her side. If you happen to disagree with how she handles a particular situation, tell her -- but in private.

6. Let her know when you’re upset with her Work out problems rather than ignoring them. Anger and resentment build up when unexpressed. Don’t attack, just calmly tell her how you feel and why.

7. Apologize when you’re wrong Don’t get defensive. Instead, learn to accept who she is and not expect her to always agree with your view on things. Keep this in mind: It’s better to lose the fight than the friend.

While guys have friends to do stuff with, girls share their lives with their friends on an intimate level. These relationships are strong enough to raise self-esteem, battle peer pressure and genuinely last … forever. How lucky are we?!?

His BFF Is -- Gulp! -- a Girl!

So you’re into this amazing guy, and he’s ready for you to meet his friends. Except how do you deal if his closest confidant isn’t a guy but is actually -- gasp! -- a girl? Newsflash: Guys and girls can be buds. It’s completely natural to be worried, but let us be the first to tell you there’s no reason to hit the panic button.

Jealousy Will Backfire!
We cannot stress this enough. Would you dare think twice if his bestie were a guy? Of course not! So you must treat her like one of the guys. Sure, it’s a little awkward, but he wouldn’t introduce you to her if they had anything to hide. If you start asking if they’re really “just friends,” you’ll seem insecure and like you don’t trust him. Suspicious behavior will drive a wedge between you two -- not him and his girl best friend!

She’s Your Best Source of Info
Yeah, you might feel like a third wheel at first. They’ve known each other longer, so they have tons of funny stories and inside jokes. However, use her to your advantage. Want to surprise him by cooking dinner? She’ll confirm exactly what foods make him gag. Need a killer birthday gift idea for your guy? She’s your best sounding board -- promise!

She’s a New Friend for You Too
Every couple needs time apart. Absence does make the heart grow fonder. So when he’s off to see Transfomers with the boys and you want to see a chick flick with the girls…invite his girl best friend along! It shows that you support their friendship and are making a real effort to blend your social lives.

He’ll “Get” You More
If anything, knowing your boyfriend has such a close friendship with a girl should put you at ease. It shows he truly respects girls and values their opinions. He’s probably a great listener, excellent advice giver and knows better than to make fun of your obsession with the Jonas Brothers and Gossip Girl! So relax. He’d probably be with her if that’s what he really wanted, but he’s with you -- and that’s what matters!

Awkward Moments Much?

If half the class is snickering at your crush because his fly is at half-staff, should you tell him? Or maybe something totally unexpected (and inappropriate) shoots from your email outbox. Um…awkward. Here’s how to deal with these and other common uncomfy situations:

You’re sitting in class and your crush is so involved in delivering his oral report that he doesn't notice everyone's cracking up at his, ahem, unzipped fly.

What do you do? Do you laugh along with everyone and think, “I’m so glad I’m not him!”? Or do you tell the poor guy? Whether it’s a zipper gone south, spinach in someone’s teeth, stray boogers or body odor, ask yourself this: Wouldn’t you want to know? You could subtly motion to your crush. If he doesn’t get the drift, discreetly slip him a note or pull him aside after class. Be lighthearted about it so as not to further embarrass the boy, and he’ll probably appreciate your candor.

Your BFF has been plucking at your every last nerve, and you’re ranting about it in an email to another friend. Uh-oh. Did you just accidentally hit “Send to all”?

OK, so everybody in your contact list, including your BFF, will read your rant. When your emotions guide your actions, you don’t think before you click. The impersonal nature of cybercommunication often leads to misunderstandings. It’s hard to express the exact feelings you want to convey when chatting online, even when you’re not peeved. Next time, step away from the computer and nobody gets hurt. Just walk away for a few minutes before sending your message. For now? It’s time for a sincere, handwritten apology to your BFF.

You borrowed your friend’s off-the-shoulder shirt with the embroidered neckline for Friday night’s party. As you’re maneuvering your way to the bathroom, some guy knocks into you and…SPLAT! Red punch -- on the shirt.

“Sorry!” he says. You rush to the bathroom and blot the stain with cold water...but it won't come out. (Tip: Sometimes club soda or seltzer water works, so try that, too.) Your friend sees you and is horrified. You apologize profusely and she seems to calm down, but you know she's bummed. If the shirt is ruined, the right thing to do is buy her a new one. Meantime, check out the box below for a few rules on borrowing clothes from friends.

Relationship Resolutions for 2009!

Throwdowns with parents. Bud brawls. Fear of talking to that cutie in chem. It's all so negative. With a few tweaks, you can turn relationship woes into positive vibes.

1. Chat up the crush
It's hard to imagine uttering actual words to the boy you're gaga over, but vow to make a move! Start by simply tossing a smile. Next, kick it up by saying “hi” and asking about his weekend. It might make him comfortable enough to strike up the convo next time. Boys need confidence boosters, just like you do.

2. Make a peace treaty with sibs
Brothers, sisters…they can be a major pain. But admit it -- sometimes you aren't so easy to live with either. Do something fun with a younger sibling on your terms. By giving a little, you'll get a fat dose of respect in return. Wanna get closer to an older sib? Throw an occasional nonchalant compliment instead of nagging and tagging along. Your subtle show of maturity will earn major respect.

3. Be more patient with parents
Do the 'rents need to know everything you do? Look, they love you -- A LOT. But to avoid certain subjects, be the conversation starter. Serve up a few fun facts about your life. This way you keep the topics to your liking, and they feel they're getting to know the person you're growing up to be.

4. Don't sweat the petty friendship stuff
Friends often feel left out…even if the gang had good intentions. Overreacting can explode into a full-on bud battle. Dodge the bud-blowout bullet if you make a pact to shoot each other straight. Two pals didn't invite you to movie night? Gently tell 'em you'd love to be included next time, without creating drama.

5. See teachers as allies, not the enemy
When you score a less-than-stellar grade on a class project, your gut reflex might be to blame an “insanely difficult” teacher. But they aren't the bad guys -- they just want you to learn. Meeting with a teacher after school shows you're making an effort…and you might pick up clues on what to expect from the next pop quiz!

Boys Stink and Other Facts of Life

Say you just ran into your crush or your best guy friend. He’s staring at his sneakers, stumbling over his words and…are those sweat stains under his arms? You’re not alone if you walk away scratching your head and thinking, “Huh? Wha…?” But we’ve got the straight-up facts, right here.

Fact: Boys are just as intimidated by you as you are by them.
Boys tend to get embarrassed around girls, but why? Well, on average, boys mature at a later age than girls. So guys don’t always know how to act in a way that’s, um, composed. And because of this lack of maturity, they have a thing for making fun of each other. So if you’re talking to your crush, you can bet he’s probably thinking, “Sheesh, I hope my friends don’t see me hanging out with this girl! They’ll bust on me, for sure.”

Fact: They have a harder time talking about their feelings.
Girls are way better at expressing their emotions than boys are. Some of this has to do with hormonal differences, but part of it has to do with societal expectations. Guys are “supposed” to be rock-solid. So do boys have feelings? Yes, absolutely! It’s just that they have a more difficult time putting them into words and spitting them out.

Fact: Boys don’t menstruate, but they have mood swings!
Mood swings aren’t just about having your period. They’re a part of puberty for girls and boys. The difference is that while girls tend to get sad and sometimes weepy, boys lean more toward anger and frustration. Is he grumpy? Don’t take it personally.

Fact: Their voices go whacky right around when they turn 15.
You used to call your guy friend on the phone and couldn’t tell if he answered or if it was his sister, right? And then one day, he picks up and you think it’s his dad! What the heck? Before that, you might have noticed that his voice was squeaking and cracking when he got called on in class. That’s because his larynx, or voice box, has been growing larger and thicker. This happens to girls, too, but your voice only deepens by a few barely audible tones. This may come with a whisker on his chin…

Fact: Boys’ sweat gets smellier as they get older.
Again, puberty is the culprit. Those pesky hormonal changes cause sweat and body odor. And, yes, girls have this problem, too. But girls tend to have better personal hygiene, which means bathing regularly and using deodorant. So he comes off the field after practice, and he’s all dirty and dripping with stink. Ick. But hang in there. As he catches up with you in maturity, he’ll care about how he smells. Because he won’t worry anymore about what his friends think when he’s talking to a girl.