Quiz: The Boy Brain -- Decoded!

Yeah, boys can be baffling. That’s why this quiz is designed to help you figure out if you’re picking up on his signals. Hopefully, it’ll clear up some of the confusion about what’s going on in his head so you’re not scratching yours and going, “Huh!?!”

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Dealing With the Dreaded Friendship Triangle

At some time or another, you’ll surely have to deal with the discomfort of “the friendship triangle.” Put three girls together and, well, it almost always spells triple t-r-o-u-b-l-e! Here, we take a brutally honest look at this friendship dynamic.

You’re the odd girl out

You’re the one being excluded? Bummer. It never feels good when you think you’re gonna have a good time with the girls and then find yourself tossed aside like a spare wheel. So ya know what? It’s this simple: Remove yourself from the situation. Call a parent to pick you up, go to another room, put on your ear buds -- whatever you’ve gotta do to ignore these meanies.

You’re not having fun, right? So why stick around and endure any more of their bad behavior? You could try to hang out with these two again another time, but if they continue to treat you like an outsider, it’s time to ice them out until they’re ready to play nice (if they ever are!).

You’re the instigator

OK, be honest: Are you the leader in this three-ring circus? Are you influencing one friend to oust the other? If so, stop that right now. Fact is you might think you’re in charge, but you’re actually completely out of control because you don’t even recognize what’s really going on -- which is that you are jealous.

Yep, we said it. You feel threatened, and so you’re turning your insecurities around on someone else. But you’d better rethink your actions. You see, the thing about friendship triangles is that they’re ever-shifting. It could all change tomorrow when it’s your turn to be the odd girl out (see above).

You’re stuck in the middle

So you’re good friends with both of these girls, but they’re just not hitting it off. First of all, do not let the instigator (above) influence you into ganging up on your other friend. It’s just wrong. You chose to be friends with both girls, so don’t be put in a position where you’re expected to pick sides.

Look, it is not your job to be the mediator -- so don’t even try. If these two refuse to get along, the advice here is similar to that we gave for the odd girl out: Walk away. Then hang out with Friend A and Friend B on separate days -- and refuse to get sucked into their drama!

Talk It up With Your Parents

The thought of talking to your parents can feel like torture. You’re sure you’d just die if they found out about your crush or the D+ you got on a math test -- or (yikes!) that you got your period. Whether your parents are high-strung, low-key or completely impossible to read, here are a few clever ways to tackle some tough subjects.

“I just had this killer world-cultures test … and bombed it!”

Talking With Your Parents Tip. No. 1: Stay one step ahead of ’em.

Before talking to your parents about any bad grade, it’s wise to talk to your teacher first. Will some extra credit cut it? Do you need a tutor? By attacking the problem at school before you break the news to Mom and Dad, you demonstrate that you’re accepting responsibility and willing to work toward improvement. How can your parents get angry about that? You might have flunked a test, but you’re no flunky.

“I’m crushing hard for this boy. I think he likes me, but my parents won’t even let me date.”

Talking With Your Parents Tip. No. 2: Get inside their heads.
So your parents say no dating until you’re 13, and you’re six months shy of that. Just so happens that the cutest boy in your school is into you, and you’re into him. Instead of seeing this boy behind their backs, tap into your parents’ inner teen spirit. Ask nostalgic questions: “Who was your first crush?” “Were you allowed to date?” “How did you two meet?” Then, when you feel comfortable, ’fess up about your crush. Maybe they’ll want to meet him. Maybe they’ll like him. Maybe they’ll even let you go out with him.

“I’ve gotten my period and haven’t even told my parents. I don't want to …  it’s so embarrassing!”

Talking With Your Parents Tip. No. 3: Think like a grown-up.
First off, remember that moms menstruate too. And even your dad, trust us, is at least somewhat familiar with the process. Just knowing that this is nothing new to them might help ease some of your embarrassment. Getting your period is part of nature, so keep it in perspective. Meghan, 12, says that after the initial discomfort of bringing it up, she’s so glad she can now turn to her mom with questions.

“I can’t stand my mom’s new boyfriend. How do I tell her?”

Talking With Your Parents Tip. No. 4: Don’t cop an attitude.

Whether it’s your mom or dad who’s dating, this is a tough one. You want your parent to be happy, but you’re picking up a bad vibe. Meghan says the worst way to start off is by saying, “Why are you with him?” Instead of a loaded question, ask for some one-on-one time: “I miss our movie nights together. Can we do that this weekend?” It’ll give you a chance to reconnect, and you can wait for the right moment to bring up any issues about your parent’s significant other -- if you’re still feeling that way by then.

The Real Scoop on Sisters

Even if you and your sister constantly bicker, the relationship between you two has a major influence on you socially and emotionally -- in positive ways!

Sisters Chase the Blues Away
No matter what your age or how many years apart you are, a sister boosts your mood way more than brothers do. (Studies prove it.) Girls are natural caregivers and more willing to express their feelings -- major defenses against depression.

“Once, I came home from school feeling really sad because some girls were making fun of me,” says Leah, 10. “My little sister, Laurel, noticed immediately and said, ‘It doesn’t matter what they think. It only matters what we think.’”

Your Sister Has Your Back
Despite occasional sibling tiffs, if someone else messes with sis, watch out! “Sometimes, I wish my sister would back off when friends are over,” says big sister Leah. “But if my friends say Laurel can’t play, then I won’t play.”

“My old school had this crazy tradition where older kids teased kindergarteners during dismissal,” says Kelli, 14. “Every day, my big sister waited for me, and everyone knew not to mess with me.”

A Sister Will Inspire You

Sisters and brothers -- more than parents -- inspire kindness and motivate each other to overcome fears. Like when Kaitlyn, 10, coaxed older sister Tanaya, 13, onto the rollercoaster … or when Bella, 9, got sister Jill, 11, off the high dive.

Consider her your personal cheerleader. Singled out in ballet, big sis Jill was offered a dance solo ... but the drama was canceled. “I was so upset,” says Jill. “But Bella told me, ‘At least they offered you the part.’ And she was right!”

Says Tanaya about sister Rachael, 16: “My big sis really inspires me to get good grades. She studies really hard.”

Your Sister Brings out the Best in You

Some squabbling between sibs is normal -- and it teaches you to make up, cool down and deal with difficult situations. “Leah gets me really mad when she bosses me around,” says Laurel, 7. “But we always say sorry, and after a while it’s like it never happened.”

Sure, she’s annoying -- but there’s nothing like sisterly love. “Once my little sister tumbled head over heels down the stairs,” recounts Leah. “Mom wasn’t around, and Laurel ran over crying and grabbed me in this huge hug. Right then, I would’ve done anything for her.”

Friend Friction

Friendships rock, right? But it’s not always rainbows and giggles when it comes to you and your friends. Tiffs happen. Here, we break down the deets of some typical bud battles. Then we give you some tactics for dealing before things erupt into a full-on blowout.

“My BFF doesn’t want me to have any other friends.”

“My friend Mandy and I were best friends since first grade,” says Abby, 13. “But then she got really mad when I tried to hang out with other people.” Thing is, Abby has a right to spread her wings on the social scene.

The real deal:
Some girls don’t realize that friendship love doesn’t divide -- it multiplies. So just because Abby chooses to hang with other girls, it doesn’t mean she loves Mandy any less. She just likes someone else in addition to her. Get the math here? But if you value your BFF, you’ll assure her that she’s still important to you -- because what this is really about is her fear of losing your friendship.

“One of my friends thinks I like her BF.”

Ah, things aren’t always as they appear. Peyton, 14, can attest to that: “My friend Rebecca was going out with this guy Bill, and someone started a rumor that I liked him. Truth is, I didn’t like Bill. But Rebecca was being, like, all quiet around me and avoiding me.”

The real deal:
Once Peyton got wind of the untrue gossip, she confronted Rebecca about it. “I just told her, ‘Are you going to believe some idiot, or are you going to believe me?’” Rebecca chose to trust her friend, and the two were able to smooth things over because they communicated about it maturely.

“I have this friend who competes with me.”

“My friend Courtney was on the softball team, and she was trying to teach me how to play,” says Katie, 10. “But whenever I got better at it, she would have to top me and say, ‘Oh, you’re not as good as me.’ It was so annoying.” Having a friendship throwdown is never fun.

The real deal:
Turns out, Courtney didn’t even realize what she was doing until Katie pointed it out to her. “I said, ‘If you’re really my friend, you’ll let me be proud of my accomplishments without trying to beat me.’” Game over!