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June 24, 2017



What’s Up Brandon,

Dude, I should be super psyched that school’s FINALLY over!  But the thing is, I don’t know what to do all summer and it’s driving me NUTS!!  Any ideas?

Bothered By Boredom

What’s Up Bothered By Boredom,

That, my friend, is the million-dollar question!

There are SO many possibilities that it’s often hard to decide where to start. But, let me give it a try…

  1. Have a sour gummy bear eating contest with a friend
  2. Beat your highest score on the 2048 app
  3. Organize everything in your bedroom in reverse alphabetical order
  4. Organize everything in your parent’s bedroom in reverse alphabetical order
  5. Learn how to walk on your hands
  6. Make ice cream from scratch
  7. Brainstorm a list of names for a future pet
  8. Plant a seed from a piece of fruit that you eat
  9. Start a collection (like comic books, baseball cards, video games, etc.)
  10. Create a spaceship so you can go to Mars

Okay, the last one is a bit of a stretch, but it’s completely doable if you know the right people. 🙂

But on a more serious note, there are A TON of things you can do in the summertime. I’m more of an outdoorsy person so I know that I’ll be spending a lot of time outside. Summer is the perfect opportunity to soak up the sun. There are also non-school-related assignments to keep you busy.

Personally, I know I could do the computer, TV and video games anytime throughout the year. So I’m gonna try my best not to spend too much time indoors because, well, IT’S SUMMER!

You can grab some friends and head down to a nearby pool. I’m sure you can think of plenty of pool games you can do. Or you can race each other to see who’s the fastest swimmer. And to make things interesting, maybe you can have a small prize at the end!

Last summer, I had a contest with friends for who could create the biggest splash. And while I did not win, I did enjoy having fun while being competitive with some of my buddies. I’m not sure if the other pool goers felt the same since they got soaked by our cannonballs, but they were good sports about it.

Maybe you could explore the places around you (be sure to do so with an adult). Enjoy time in nature and visit new places. Walk on different trails and look at all the things around you. You’d be amazed at how much life exists in this world. Or, if you like exploring the city, try to do as much there as you can. Think of all the zoos, museums, video arcades, restaurants, and candy stores that are out there. Whatever you haven’t tried or wherever you haven’t gone yet, well, now’s the time to do it.

If you don’t want to go very far from your house, you can always read a good book. Books are perfect for summer vacations because they never run out of battery (that’s a real plus if you’re trying to stay away from electronics like I am). Find a shady spot to get comfortable and read to your heart’s content. There are so many different stories and worlds within them to explore. All it takes is time to do it, which you’ll have plenty of during the summer.

Those are only A FEW options since there are just too many to list here. Now, I need to figure out which one of them I’M going to do this summer!

Hey readers, what are your summer plans?
June 22, 2017


Artwork For Ask Nikki June 21st

Dear Nikki,

I’m the oldest of two crazy siblings (imagine TWO Briannas!!).  So, I really need my privacy.  You know, that down time when you just get to be by yourself, text your friends, and do whatever you want without anybody bothering you.  But, whenever I sneak off to be alone, my sibs always come and beg me to play with them!  I can’t go to my bedroom and close the door because I share it with them, and I can’t tell them to leave me alone or they’ll get upset and tattle on me.  What should I do?!

Privacy Pretty Please

Hi Privacy Pretty Please,

First off, I’m SO sorry that you have a situation like that! I don’t know what I’d do because having ONE Brianna is already more than enough.

Either I have no idea where she is and what she’s up to, or it’s the opposite and she’s following me and she won’t leave me alone. So, I can’t even begin to imagine what having TWO Briannas would be like!

I totally understand why you feel the need to have some privacy and spend time by yourself. And it must be super annoying that you can never find some time for that!

Sometimes a break from other people is necessary so that you can stay sane the next time you’re around them. It may seem rude, but everyone needs a little “me time” to function!

So, by sneaking off, it honestly makes it seem like you DON’T want to be around them. And I know that you’re trying to get away from them, but maybe try doing it in a different way!

By sneaking off when they’re not paying attention, they may go looking for you just because they’re missing you and wondering where you went. It’s a normal reaction. Imagine if your best friend randomly disappeared. Wouldn’t you want to look for her/him as well? I know that I’d go looking for Chloe and Zoey if anything happened to them!

You also said that you’ve tried talking to your siblings before. Well, maybe you can explain the reason why you need time away from them. Let your siblings know it’s not that you don’t want to play with them, but that you need time to recharge.

A bad example would be: “Hey, let’s play hide ‘n’ seek!! I’ll count to ten and then find you!”

If you were to say that and then go sneak off, that probably wouldn’t be the nicest way to tell them to leave you alone. Besides, they’d eventually give up on you finding them, and then they’d go and find YOU!! ☹

A good example would be: “Hey guys, can I play with you in a half hour? I really want to spend some time by myself/texting my friends/whatever.”

If you say that, you’re giving them a clear reason why you can’t play with them right then. And even if you don’t play with them in a half hour, they know that you’re not disappearing forever. You’re just going to spend some time by yourself.

If that doesn’t work, try talking to your parents about it. Hopefully you can work out a schedule and set aside some time everyday where your siblings know not to bother you. And since your parents are involved, your siblings should listen to them.

What do you do to get privacy?
June 20, 2017


Artwork For Nikki's Diary June 19th

Spring is here!! Sunshine! Flowers blooming! The hope of summer!

And what else? Apparently, spring cleaning! ☹

I was delivering a stack of folded laundry to Brianna’s room and I almost fell over when I opened her door. It STUNK like crazy!


Mom made her way over.  Of course, by calling for Mom, that meant Brianna came running too.

“Why were you in my room?” she shrieked. She’s been really secretive about her room lately. Mom says she deserves privacy, too.

“I was delivering your laundry, you little brat. Mom, it smells like something died in there.”

My mom made the same face I was probably making and gagged. She turned to Brianna. “WHAT is going on in your room?”

“Nothing!” Brianna made her best innocent angel face. “Look.”

Mom and I both peeked into Brianna’s room. It actually looked way neater than usual. Mom held her breath and crossed the room to open the window.

“Well.” She looked worried. “Maybe it just needs to be aired out in here. I think I’m going to lie down for a bit. That smell made me feel a little queasy.”

I waited until Mom was out of the room. “Listen up, Brianna. Your room might look clean, but I INVENTED shoving it all under the bed to pass inspection.”

Brianna’s eyes went wide. I’d nailed it!

“I know there’s SOMETHING in there that shouldn’t be. Mom doesn’t feel good. So we’re going to take care of this together, RIGHT NOW.”

Brianna flung her tiny body across her doorway. “I NEED MY PRIVACY!!!”

I bent over and put my face right up next to hers. “Brianna? Do you want to show ME what’s under your bed? Or do you want me to get Mom?”

She crossed her arms tight and stepped aside. “FINE.”

The open window had NOT helped the smell go away.  It simply made her room very cold. Just because it’s spring doesn’t mean summer temperatures are here yet!

“Are you going to show me, or do I have to find it myself?”

Brianna flounced onto her bed and stared at the ceiling.

“Okay then.” I reached under her bed, bracing for the worst. At first it was the usual—balled up clothes, broken toys, mismatched shoes, and crumpled papers. To be fair, most of that stuff is under my bed, too.

The next thing was weirder. When I finally got it out, it was…a cell phone. Dad’s broken cell phone that we replaced months ago!


She rolled over and looked at me. When she saw the cell phone, she scrambled down to the floor and grabbed it from me. “I’m going to fix it!”


“Why NOT?”

Well, she had me there. And the busted cell phone wasn’t causing the smell. I kept digging.

I found about fourteen hangers, a package of dry pasta, a box labeled TOP SECRET that had only candy wrappers inside, a cheese puff necklace, MY perfectly soft green hoodie that had been lost forever, and a TV remote (I was wondering how the channels were changing on their own!).

But THEN I found it.

I didn’t know what it was at first. But I knew I’d found it, because Brianna got really upset as I pulled out a pile of sticks, twigs, and leaves. A stuffed chicken was sitting on top of it.

“You can’t take them now!” she wailed. “They’re just about to hatch!!”

I reached for the chicken.


“I’m not going to take your stuffed chicken,” I said. “I just have to see…”

And do you know what was underneath the stuffed chicken? EGGS. Real eggs, ROTTEN eggs, eggs Brianna must have stolen from the kitchen a WHILE ago.

“Brianna, why do you have a nest of eggs under your bed?”

“I’m saving their LIVES!!!” She leaned toward the nest like she wanted to hug it, but even she couldn’t stand the smell. I don’t know HOW she had been sleeping in here!!!

“Eggs we don’t eat become chickens, right?”

“Well…they can, but not—”

“So I thought if I rescued the eggs from the refrigerator, and kept them warm under a mama chicken, they could become chicks!”

I mean…it made sense. Not accurate sense, but six-year-old sense.

I tried to be gentle while I explained that the eggs were rotten and would not become chickens. I think she was kind of relieved that she wouldn’t have to put up with the smell anymore.

We performed a brief, moving funeral ceremony next to the trash bins outside and then dumped the eggs and nest. (I thought Mrs. Featherbottoms would be okay after going for a ride in the washing machine so that she wouldn’t end up in the trash too.)

“Tell you what, Brianna,” I said as we headed back to her room. “You help me clean up the rest of the stuff under your bed, and I’ll walk you to the garden store to look at their baby chicks. Okay?”

She narrowed her eyes at me. “But I get to keep the cell phone!”

I held up my hands in surrender. “Okay, fine. You get to keep the cell phone.”

We shook on it. And then we headed to the garden store to see those adorable chicks!

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever found under your bed?
June 17, 2017



Hey Brandon,
I’ve been friends with boys pretty much all my life. The other girls think it’s weird, but I don’t care! Recently, things have been changing. I don’t know if it’s because of hormones or something, but the boys that I used to hang out with and tell silly jokes to are acting weird around me. Some of them have even asked me out! I really would prefer to stay friends with them but I don’t want to lose them because I hurt their feelings. I don’t know what to do!!

Boy BFF Blues

Hey Boy BFF Blues,

Okay, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. When us guys start to go through puberty, the hormones make us NUTS. This is NOT to make an excuse for any of the messed up stuff we do—we DO have self-control, after all. But it sounds to me like hormones might be a big part of what’s going on here.

(And to be fair, neither guys nor girls are all sunshine and roses when those hormones hit. We’ve all got to cut each other a little slack!)

I think it’s great that you’ve been friends with guys all your life, and that doesn’t have to end now. It just might be a little trickier. Because yeah, hormones are flying all around, making us stupid. Your guy friends might be just starting to notice you’re a girl. I mean, they knew before. But it didn’t matter. And it SHOULDN’T matter. But yeah, hormones.

And because they’re noticing you’re a girl, their wires get all crossed. If they’re logical about it, they don’t want to mess up your friendship, either! But…they’re not always logical about it. They might compete to impress you. They might suddenly think they’re going to offend you if they’re being too silly. And yeah, they might ask you out.

I think the best thing to do is ACT NORMAL. That’s hard, when the guys around you are acting like bozos. But rise above. Keep showing up for the pick up games or Xbox marathons, or whatever you like to do when you hang out. And call them on it when they get weird. Tell them nothing’s changed and you’re still you, so they need to chill out.

When they ask you out, I think I’d try to laugh it off and move on. Not laugh AT them, because guys have feelings too. But just don’t take it super seriously. If you don’t let it be a huge, awkward deal, they’ll probably move on to someone else. Say something like, “Dude, do you really want to date someone who can crush you in one-on-one?” Or, “I’m not interested in dating anyone. Hey, what did you think of the new superhero movie?”

Show them that you’ve been their friend and you’re going to be their friend, even through the weirdness. I bet your friendships will be stronger for it.

Then go out and crush them in one-on-one!!! 🙂

How do you handle it when your friends start acting a little weird around you?
June 14, 2017


dork diaries -ask nikki- emergency
Today, instead of answering a reader question, I want to do something a little different. That horrible explosion at the Arianna Grande concert is really on my mind. And it’s got me thinking about what I would do if I were ever in a situation like that. I talked to my parents, the counselor at school, and my police officer uncle and got some advice. I hope it helps you. It definitely has helped me!

Some of the advice about what to do during the emergency itself has a lot in common with what you’re probably taught at school during active-shooter drills. Even Brianna immediately knew that she should, “Run, Hide, Fight.”

Basically, that means your very first job is to get away from the danger, if possible. Sometimes this won’t be possible. But here are a few things to remember if it is:

  1. LEAVE YOUR STUFF: Don’t waste ANY time grabbing your bag, coat, phone or whatever. Those precious moments are better spent getting away. It’s just stuff. You can replace it. Your life is more important.
    This seems very silly and also seems like it would take longer than running in a straight line. But if there’s someone with a gun, it’s a LOT harder for them to hit you if you’re not running in a straight line. (This advice only applies to a shooting situation. If it’s a bomb threat or a fire or something, just run straight.)
  3. DO NOT MOVE WOUNDED PEOPLE: This is really hard, but you’re not a doctor and you’re not going to be able to help them. Moving them might even make their injuries worse. Get to safety, and call for help. That’s the fastest way to help them.
  4. ACCEPT HELP: Adults are advised to help others get away. As a kid, this is NOT your responsibility. But I wanted to mention it here, because often we’re told not to talk to strangers or whatever. But in an emergency situation, if an adult is offering help, it’s okay to take it.
Sometimes you won’t be able to escape. The danger might be blocking your exit. In that case, here are some tips for hiding:

  1. STAY OUT OF VIEW: If you cannot escape, then you need to hide. If you can see the shooter, the shooter can see you.
  2. SHIELD YOURSELF: If possible, try to hide behind something metal or cement. Anything else is not going to protect you from a gunshot.
  3. LOCK AND BARRICADE: If you are somewhere with a door, lock it and block it with as much furniture as you can. Also, cover any windows.
  4. KEEP OPTIONS OPEN: Try not to hide in a bathroom or a closet or anywhere with only one way in or out.
  5. SILENCE: Silence your phone and be very quiet.
This is only ever your VERY last option. And as kids, it’s almost never going to be a good option. But if you have NO OTHER CHOICE, throw things, aim for sensitive areas, work together with other people in your area, make way for adults to take the lead.

So you’ve probably heard all that before. The piece about Manchester that I keep thinking about is what about after? What if I’d gone to the concert with Chloe and Zoey and we’d been dropped off by our parents? And then something terrible happens and we’re evacuated into the chaos… What then???

So here are a few more things to keep in mind.

  1. Try to stay calm. This is obviously going to be super hard if something terrible has just happened. But it will be much harder to make smart choices if you’re panicking.
  2. Call 911 only when you are safe. Then call your parents. If you left your phone behind, borrow someone’s. If phones aren’t working because of a natural disaster, for example, ask a police officer where parents will be told to find their kids.
  3. Follow the instructions of any police officers or other officials who are in charge of an evacuation. Keep your hands visible, so that the police or officials will know you’re not a dangerous person.
  4. Get help from a nearby adult. Look for someone who looks like a mom. Tell them you’re separated from your parents. Ask them for help with whatever you need—getting medical attention, finding food or water, or just company until you find your parents. If the first person you ask is unable to help, ask someone else. One of the things I noticed in the news about Manchester was how people helped each other. Taxi drivers gave free rides home. A homeless man did first aid. People welcomed strangers into their homes. Sikh temples offered food and shelter. No matter what has happened, there WILL be people willing to help.

Horrible things happen and there are terrible people in the world. It’s scary.

But there are a LOT more good people than bad. I totally believe that. I hope you do, too!

What are some emergency tips you know? Does your family have a plan for if you’re separated during an emergency?

June 12, 2017


dork diaries - nikki & brianna maxwell- june 12
When Brianna asked if she could sign up to be in charge of her classroom pet for a weekend, I think my parents were expecting a fish or a small rodent. Maybe a bird?


Apparently, Monty Python doesn’t usually go home with students, especially since his giant aquarium is hard to move and he doesn’t need that much care. But the school was going to be fumigated over the weekend AND Brianna’s teacher couldn’t take Monty home with her. She said something about living in a strictly no-pets apartment building. (Or maybe that’s what she SAID because she’s a rational person who doesn’t want a PYTHON where she SLEEPS!!)

My mom had to call Dad to come to the school and pick up the snake since Monty’s aquarium wasn’t going to fit in her car. When they got home, I had to help them wrestle the aquarium into the house.

“Where are we going to put it?” my mom complained. Brianna’s dresser wasn’t big enough. And I definitely didn’t want that giant WORM in my room!

“On the kitchen counter?” my dad replied. Then he ducked the death-rays coming out of my mom’s eyes.

“How about the coffee table?”

“But I’m having my book club over tomorrow!” She wailed.

“How about the bath tub?” Brianna suggested.

That was actually a decent idea. I wasn’t too thrilled about having to use my parents’ shower for a couple days. But that was better than having a giant snake in the kitchen!

Right after dinner, Brianna got ready for bed. “I’m sleeeeepy,” she said, doing this totally fake stretch-and-yawn. Then she went to bed—or so we thought!

A few hours later when I went to brush my teeth, I tripped over something lumpy on the floor and SCREAMED! I’m not gonna lie, I thought Monty had escaped the tub. But NO, Brianna had set up a nest of blankets on the bathroom floor, right next to the tub. She didn’t want Monty to be LONELY. (Never mind that Monty spends most nights alone in an empty school, but okay.)

I finally convinced her that we had to sleep in our own BEDS. But the rest of the night I had the grossest, skin-crawly feeling that a giant snake was about to slither under my blankets!

I don’t think my mom slept well either. The next morning, she was more stressed out than usual as she ran around tidying up for her book club.

“Whatever you do,” she said, “do NOT mention the snake to Mrs. Wallabanger!”

I’m not even sure who she was talking to!! Herself, maybe? It wasn’t like Brianna or I were going to attend Book Club!

“Why not?” Brianna asked, looking offended.

“She’s very afraid of snakes, Brianna,” Mom said. “And we don’t want to make her feel uncomfortable in our home.”

But it was okay for the REST of us to feel uncomfortable in our home?! That was reassuring!! ☹

Before the ladies arrived, my mom slapped an “Out of Order” sign on the door to our bathroom.
“Is that really necessary?” my dad asked.

My mom froze in the middle of arranging pastries on a tray. “Do you REMEMBER what happened the last time I hosted Book Club?”

We ALL remembered. It’s a looooong story. Let’s just say it involved Brianna, the neighbor’s cat, a bubble bath, and a very expensive handbag that was never the same again. It’s been about a year since Mom hosted Book Club.

When the doorbell rang, Mom turned to us and whispered all serious-like, “There is NO snake in this house, UNDERSTAND?” Even Brianna looked like she understood.

Which is why I was shocked when I heard the SCREAM an hour later.

I raced out of my room and ran smack into Mrs. Wallabanger. She was screaming her head off.

“Mrs. Wallabanger!” I stammered as Mom skidded into the hallway.

Mrs. Wallabanger nearly ran me over as she dashed by, dove into MY room, and slammed the door! And then she locked it!

Next, Mom screamed!!

Then the doorway out to the living room was filled with women screaming. But only for a second before they scattered away from the hall.

“Brianna!!” my mother bellowed.

With all the screaming, it took me a second to notice the GIANT BEAST slithering its way down the hall! Toward me!!

Then I was screaming!!!
Suddenly there was a loud whistle. We all turned to see Brianna in the bathroom doorway. I didn’t even know she could whistle! “You guys are scaring Monty!” she scolded.

Then she marched down the hallway, scooped the snake up, and hauled it back to the bathroom. “Poor Monty,” she cooed. “These horrible people are TRUAMATIZING you!”

From outside, we could hear the screeching tires of cars quickly leaving our house.

Mom was in shock. Dad reinforced Monty’s aquarium with about three rolls of duct tape. And, I completely forgot Mrs. Wallabanger was in my room until I tried to go back in there and the door was locked!
It took me forever to convince her that the snake was back in its cage. “No more Book Club for me,” she muttered, as I walked her to her car. “No more books! No more clubs! Staying home is nice!”

Staying home is only nice if you DON’T have a python for a guest! I’m going to Zoey’s tonight and I’m not coming home until Monty is back where he belongs!!

Is there anything that you’re really afraid of and why? Leave your answers in the comments!
June 10, 2017



Dear Brandon,

There’s this girl who ALWAYS tries to compete with me in everything I do. She tries to have the best handwriting, tries to be the best in physical education, and tries to be the most popular at lunch. In every project, she’s constantly spying on me, and sometimes I’m afraid that she might start stealing my ideas! I seriously need some advice on how to deal with her. Can you please help me?

Constant Competition

Hey Constant Competition,

That definitely sounds frustrating.

It makes me think of this thing my grandma says: “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” It means that when someone copies you, it’s because they admire what you’ve done and want to do something similar. I think it’s the same with competing. If she’s targeting you, it must be because she thinks you’re the best and she wants to prove she’s as good (or better) at whatever you do.

But I TOTALLY get that, while it might be a kind of a compliment, it’s also SUPER annoying.

From part of what you said, though, I wonder if she’s competing with YOU or if she’s just really obsessed with being the best. Like, trying to have the best handwriting, or be the best in PE, or be the most popular at lunch don’t sound like direct competitions with you, personally. They just sound like she’s a high-achieving kind of person. And maybe kind of insecure? That can still be annoying, but it’s not targeted at YOU.

If it’s just how she is, there’s really nothing you can do about that. I mean, this is generally good advice for most situations: you can’t change how she’s acting. You can only change how you react to it.

If you have confidence in yourself, and you’re comfortable with the fact that you’re good at some things and not so good at others, then it shouldn’t really make much difference to you how she ties herself up in knots trying to be the best.

Now, maybe she IS targeting you for competition. If so, I’m guessing there’s some sort of reason for it. Not that you’re to BLAME. It could be anything. You beat her in the third-grade spelling bee and she’s been out to prove herself ever since. Or her crush had a crush on you. Or whatever. You might not ever find out the reason.

As for spying on you in projects and stealing your ideas, that’s the worst. It definitely falls under the category of my grandma’s saying. She wouldn’t be trying to steal your ideas if she didn’t think your ideas were good. So, it’s a compliment. But YOU want credit for your ideas. I get that. And this is a tricky one because sometimes the answer might be to involve your teacher, but you don’t want to tattle.

Think about it this way. Even if she DOES steal your ideas, they were YOUR ideas. Which means you will do a much better job on the project, even if she tries to do the same thing. Teachers notice when it happens. And they’ll see how unique your own approach is. So it might be difficult, but it might help if you think, “Sure, steal my ideas! Bring it on! May the best person win!” Have confidence in the awesomeness of your ideas, and your unique ability to use them.

I think you basically have two options. You can work on not letting her behavior bother you. Try to ignore the stuff that’s annoying you now. OR you could try to befriend her. If she’s targeting you to compete with, it’s because she actually admires you in a twisted kind of way. And if you become friends, you can just combine your awesomeness!

How do you handle someone who’s always competing with you? What about someone who steals your ideas?
June 3, 2017



Hey Brandon,

I have a problem. I can’t stop thinking about my crush! He transferred to a different school a few months ago. When he told me he was leaving, he had this sad look on his face which I can’t stop thinking about to this day! I feel really depressed whenever I think about it. And even worse, I saw him once after he left, and he hardly even noticed me! My grades have been slipping all because of this. Do you think I should try to get over him, or what? I’m really confused!!

Long Lost Crush Crisis

Hey Long Lost Crush Crisis,

A lot of times when people write to me about their crushes, I’m not sure what to say. It’s hard enough to figure crushes out when you see them every day. It’s even harder for me to know what’s going on in someone else’s school with people I’ve never seen or met before!

But this time…I know the answer. You DO need to get over your crush. I’m sorry. But he goes to a different school AND you’ve only seen him once in months and that didn’t go well. All signs point to a dead end. As much as you might be into him, I think that crushing on him will only continue to complicate things. Even if he was into you before, that wasn’t the case when you last saw him, right? When a crush is into you and misses you like you miss him, he would totally let you know!

I’m so sorry if that sounds harsh. But, I don’t want you to keep pining away over this guy, especially if you’re feeling depressed and your grades are slipping. I want you to start crushing on somebody who’s from your own school and pays more attention to you. (Not that you even HAVE to have a crush. Life might actually be easier without one for a while.)

So, HOW do you get over someone? Well…that’s tricky. I think in this case, though, it’s a GOOD thing that he’s not at your school anymore. It’s a lot harder to get over someone when you have to see them all the time.

I think you should also focus on making sure you don’t see him on-line, either. If you follow him on any social media, unfollow. If you hang out on the same websites or forums, steer clear. I know this is hard and right now you probably feel desperate to know what he’s doing. But, you need to give yourself some space so you won’t be reminded of him every time you turn around (or look at a screen).

Then, I think you should distract yourself. It doesn’t have to be with another crush. It can just be with anything that keeps you BUSY. Bonus points if it’s something that keeps your mind busy, even when you’re not doing it. So, join a team, try out for a play, run for school government, or volunteer. If you’re thinking up political slogans or memorizing lines, you won’t have time or energy to worry about a long-lost crush.

Or, it doesn’t even have to be an organized activity. Do stuff with your family. Focus on your schoolwork and bring those grades back up. Be more social with your friends. Have them over, go out to do things with them, or call and ask how they’re doing. When you focus on people who obviously care about you and don’t keep you guessing, it makes you feel a lot better about yourself!

You WILL get over this crush, I promise. I know it doesn’t feel like it right now, but you will. The only other option is being miserable forever. And why would you choose that?

Hey readers, what are your tips for getting over a crush?
June 1, 2017


Dear Nikki,

I’ll be going into town with my two very best friends and I can’t wait! But I’m also a little nervous because we’ll be going without parents, and it’ll be the first time I’ve ever done something like that. Will you please give me some tips on how to relax and just have fun? Thank you for your help!

City Jitters

Hi City Jitters,Ooh, that sounds fun! How cool that you get to do that with your two BFFs! Chloe, Zoey, and I might try that, too. 🙂

So, here’s the thing: if you’re nervous about it, that means you’re thinking about the various things that could happen, and that’s actually a good thing. If you were just wild and careless, a lot more things could likely go wrong. But you’re thoughtful and cautious, so everything should be fine.

Do you have a cell phone? If not, ask if you can use one of your parents’ phones. (They will probably want you to do that anyway.) Then, if anything unexpected happens, you can always call for help. It doesn’t have to be some big emergency, either. If you guys get turned around and need directions, you can call a parent. Even if you just want to say hi, you can call and do that. If this is your first time going off on your own like this, your parents might be kind of worried, too.

It might help to think through what you’re nervous about, if you can. It might just be general butterflies, which is fine. But can you be more specific? Are you worried you’ll get lost? Run out of money? Get chased by zombies (LOL, like THAT will ever happen! 🙂 )?

I don’t want to put a ton of ideas in your head, but whatever it is, think it through. If that thing happens, what will you do? Probably, in most situations, the answer will be call home and/or talk to a nearby adult. (People who are working in shops are a good choice, or older women who look like moms.) Aside from the zombies, every problem you come up with should have a solution. 🙂

So, here are a couple more things to help you keep calm:

If you’re starting to feel a little anxious, take some slow, deep breaths. It seems like a simple thing, but it’s amazing how much breathing can help.

Here’s another trick I learned from a friend who has a lot of anxiety. Wear a hairband on your wrist. It’s better if it’s one of those wide, ribbon hairbands, but a regular one will do the trick. When you’re starting to feel nervous, snap the hairband on your wrist. Not so hard you hurt yourself, but just enough to give your brain something else to focus on. Take some nice, deep breaths while you snap the band a few times, and you should feel better soon.

And finally, I have talked about the Wonder Woman pose in this column before, but it’s too good not to mention. There is actual science that says if you stand for a minute with your legs wide and your hands on your hips, chest thrust out and chin up, it boosts your confidence. For real! You can look this up! So if you need to, duck into a bathroom and summon your inner Wonder Woman before heading back out to meet your friends. Or, if they’re your BFFs, you can tell them exactly what you’re doing, and you can be a trio of kick-butt superheroes together!

I hope you have an amazing time!! 

Do you get nervous about going out without parents around? How do you handle it when you’re feeling anxious?

Next week, I’m going to give you advice on what to do if you find yourself in a REAL emergency situation!

May 31, 2017


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