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January 22, 2018

ZOEY THE WORD WARRIOR!

lt’s a new year! I’m trying to be open to new things! Which is why when Zoey told us about a slam poetry open mic, I didn’t immediately say, “ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!!”

Stand up on a stage and recite angry poetry for a room full of people? Or WORSE, sit in a room full of people and listen to THEM recite angry poetry?? It sounded like something from the 1960s! I had NO IDEA it was even a THING people did!

My mom got so excited when she heard. Apparently she did this kind of thing when she was in high school. Which did NOT up the cool factor, if you know what I mean. She even dug out this dusty old beret she wanted me to wear.

“I gave my best performances wearing this hat!” she said.

LOL. NOPE. Not like I was going to be performing anything anyway!

But Zoey was, and she was PUMPED. I didn’t even know Zoey wrote poetry! Even Chloe said she might perform something! I was starting to worry I’d look like a weirdo if I DIDN’T spout some poetry.

Zoey’s mom dropped us off at this seedy-looking café, and we followed signs to the basement. It was dark and windowless. Honestly, if someone wanted to have a creepy Halloween party, this was the perfect place!

But the only scary part was this super-talented girl at the mic, not much older than us, absolutely SLAYING on the stage. We’d missed the beginning of her poem, but clearly some guy had done her wrong and she was shredding him to pieces with her words. When she was done, I was pretty sure I would follow her into battle!

“Whoa,” Zoey said as we sat at a grimy little table off to the side.

Of course, the next three poets were…more what I was expecting. One was so quiet, we could barely hear him. (But everyone hooted and hollered when he was done. They were a supportive bunch!) One recited a poem about his baseball card collection, which was really just a list of players’ names. And one told the saddest story ever about her best friend dying. Only, at the end of the poem, we found out that her best friend was a HAMSTER.

Which wasn’t supposed to be funny. But I couldn’t stop giggling. I blame the incense fumes!

Then there was a break. People got up and served themselves coffee and stale cookies.

“You should go next,” Chloe said to Zoey.

But Zoey looked super-nervous. “I don’t know about this, you guys. They’re all SO GOOD!”

Chloe and I exchanged a look. “Um…did you hear hamster girl?” I said.

“Yes!” Zoey wailed. “OMG, she was SO honest and real!”

Then I felt someone tap my shoulder. I turned around and had that weird moment where you see someone you totally know, but you’re NOT expecting to see them, so it takes you a minute to place them. Also, he was wearing head to toe black. And a beret like the one my mom wanted me to wear.

“Hey, Nikki.” he said.

“…Max Crumbly?”

Turned out Max was a regular at this open mic thingy. And when he heard Zoey was nervous, he suggested they go up together and do some sort of improv-duet. To me, that sounded scarier than going up alone to do something I had already planned! But Zoey followed him up to the mic.

The super supportive crowd hooted and hollered. Someone shouted, “Drop some knowledge, Crumbly!”

Max grinned. He looked totally at home. “So I was gonna do a new rap about being stuck inside a locker, but my friend Zoey is here, so we’re gonna do a little improv instead.  That okay with you guys?”

Everyone clapped and whistled. Zoey looked thrilled. I was terrified! Who makes up poetry on the spot? Or improvises raps, or whatever?!

Max took the mic and got things started.

“Yo, I’m Max Crumbly and I’m here to say
that everyone here is making my day.
Your beats, your rhymes, your awesome courage
warm my soul like a bowl of porridge.

Now, for Zoey here, it’s her very first time
to get on this stage and share some rhymes,
so she’s nervous, you feel me? But also brave,
with beats so sick, they’ll send you to your grave!”

This didn’t sound like a compliment to me. I mean…I know sick is a good thing, but I still wouldn’t want to kill anyone with a performance. But Zoey was ecstatic as she grabbed the mic.

I thought she’d keep rapping, like Max. But she went a WHOLE other way.

“I’m Zoey,” she said, in this tone of voice that made the whole room go silent.

“I’m love
and stars
and poetry in motion.

I’ve got a voice
and you’ll hear it
because I’m not
putting down this mic
until I’ve said
what I came here to say
which is this—”

“YOU GO, GIRL!” Chloe shouted.

But Zoey didn’t even look like she heard her. She was in a ZONE.

“I build worlds
with words,
I heal pain
with love,
I lift up
my friends
and we soar together
to a place
where there is no hate
and there are no lies
and the sky’s
not even the limit!”

Everyone cheered and Max took the mic back. He said a few more rhyming lines to bring it all together, but I wasn’t even listening to him. I was looking at Zoey’s beaming face.

I still wasn’t going to get up there and recite a poem. But Zoey had inspired me FOR SURE. And who knows what’ll happen the next time we go to a poetry slam… I might just have to dust off my mom’s beret, get up on that stage, and recite poetry too!

What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done that nobody knew you could do?  Share with us in the comments!
January 20, 2018

I’M SAD ALL THE TIME!

Hey Brandon. It’s like I feel sad ALL THE TIME. My friends keep asking me, “Hey, you ok?” and I just say, “It’s nothing.” The truth is, I’ve had some pretty sad things happen in my life. But, I still don’t want that to keep me from being happy for once. Any advice?

Sincerely,

Down In The Dumps Dude

Hey Down In The Dumps Dude,

Thanks for reaching out and sharing how you feel. That’s a really tough first step. It sounds like you’ve had to deal with some really tough stuff in your life and I’m sorry to hear that.

Even without sad stuff happening, it’s very normal for tweens and teens to be moody. That’s partly because of wonky hormones, and it can make it tough to know when you’re feeling normal sadness/moodiness/hormone stuff, and when you’re really dealing with depression. It’s important to consider whether it might be depression though, because that’s a serious thing you shouldn’t deal with by yourself.

The thing is, depression isn’t just about your mood. Depression changes how you think. It makes it hard to notice or enjoy good things in your life. It sucks up the energy, motivation, and concentration you need for regular daily activities.

Here are some signs of depression that you should watch out for—and FYI everybody who’s reading this, just because you have a few of these symptoms sometimes doesn’t mean you’re depressed. It’s more if you have a bunch of them at the same time and they don’t go away for more than a couple of weeks.

  • Change in appetite – eating more or less than normal.
  • Losing interest in friends and activities you used to enjoy
  • Sleeping way more or less than usual
  • Grades going down
  • Obsession over body image
  • Feeling generally frustrated, but not sure why
  • Unable to complete simple tasks that used to be easy
  • Feeling guilty or worthless
  • Personality changes or frequent emotional outbursts
  • Frequent headaches/stomachaches/body aches
  • Lack of interest in the future

So basically, if you’ve got several of these things going on and you just can’t shake it, you need to see a doctor. They’ll want to rule out anything medical – like sometimes you might be low on some vitamins and it’s an easy adjustment with supplements. But they’ll be able to assess if you’re depressed. And if you are, then they’ll suggest some further steps. They’ll probably include some of the following:

  1. Counseling – Sometimes depression is caused by sad stuff going on in your life, and it sounds like that might be the case for you. Talking to someone about your feelings can really help. A counselor or therapist is there to listen, not to judge, and to give you tools to help you through when you’re feeling really down.
  2. Nutrition, Sleep and Exercise – It’s so hard, because when you’re depressed, the last thing you want to do is go for a jog or make yourself a healthy snack, and sometimes part of depression is that you CAN’T sleep. But all those healthy steps can really make a difference in your depression. So your doctor might suggest some changes in how you eat, sleep, or exercise. No one’s going to make you run a marathon. You can take baby steps. On the days it’s a struggle to just get out of bed, try to at least walk outside to the mailbox.
  3. Medication – This won’t come until some of the other steps have been tried, and medication alone is never the answer, but it can be helpful in combination with the other steps. Sometimes depression is a chemical imbalance – it has to do with a lack of neurotransmitters, which are these things in your brain that help you feel happiness. So some medications can help balance things out in your brain. Your doctor will know if this is right for you.

Basically, the thing is to reach out and get help. You’ve started by reaching out to me, which was an awesome first step. And now I’m telling you to reach out to an adult in your life who can help you figure out the next steps to take. Depression will tell you it’s hopeless, or you’re not worth the bother, but DEPRESSION LIES. Okay? You matter, you’re worth it, and you can feel better, with the right support!

Have you or someone you know ever felt so down that it might have been depression? What helped you or them feel better? Tell us in the comments!
January 17, 2018

I FEEL SO LEFT OUT WITHOUT A PHONE!

Hey Nikki. Everyone in my class has a phone now and I’m the only one who doesn’t. I feel really left out when everyone is exchanging phone numbers. I miss out on conversations, and sometimes I even miss out on invites since I don’t have a phone! I’m really bummed about this, but I also know my parents can’t afford to buy me one. What do I do, Nikki?!

Disconnected

Hi Disconnected,

Okay. If you’ve read my diaries, then you know that I have BEEN THERE. It is SOOOO hard to feel like you are the ONLY person without a phone! And I totally hear what you’re saying about feeling like you’re missing out on conversations and invitations. Ugh, it’s the WORST feeling ever!

But, it also sounds like you understand that your parents just can’t afford to get you your own phone. Some kids don’t think about that, or they think it’s just about the cost of the actual phone. But there’s monthly service you have to pay for, too, which makes it really costly to have a phone. And extra charges if you go over your plan’s limits, too. Your parents have probably explained that to you, but I’m just explaining it here in case anyone else doesn’t know.

So yeah, not having a phone can be a TOTAL bummer. But there might be some things you could do to help yourself stay in touch with your friends!

If you have access to a computer or tablet, you could ask your friends to switch over to using something like Google Hangouts, which you can use without a phone (but they can use WITH their phones).

If you don’t have access to a computer or tablet, OR your friends aren’t able/willing to try that idea, then maybe you could put your BFF in charge of reporting to you whenever there’s important news or invites. She could keep you updated whenever you both hang out. She could also just call you on your home phone or parent’s phone.

I know that these may not be the best ideas. But, unless you find a stash of hidden treasure somewhere to pay for that cell phone, you might have to try whatever you can!  And, who knows? Maybe things’ll change and your parents will eventually be able to afford one!

So, remember it’s temporary. You will eventually have a phone if it’s what you really want. Maybe you could start saving now to help with the costs. Maybe you could earn/save enough money to split the costs, or even pay for the whole thing yourself! If your parents see how hard you’re working, maybe they’d be willing to (eventually!) work something out with you. But don’t bug them about it – just work on saving your money and show them it’s important to you.

Even though it feels like you’re the ONLY one at school who doesn’t have a phone, I’m sure that’s not true. It’s possible you’re the only one in your friend group. But there are definitely other kids who don’t have phones, either because their parents can’t afford it or they won’t allow it for another reason.

So, if you can relate to this, tell us in the comments what it feels like not to have a phone. Have you come up with ways to stay informed and not feel left out? Please share!
January 15, 2018

BFF WAR!! ☹

Chloe and Zoey have NOT been getting along, and it’s totally stressing me out!

My first clue something was wrong came when Zoey rolled her eyes. I mean, if she’d been rolling her eyes at MacKenzie or our gym teacher, that wouldn’t have been a big deal. But she rolled her eyes at Chloe! Just because she did jazz hands!!

Or not AT Chloe. More at me, but ABOUT Chloe, know what I mean?

I was SO confused that I didn’t say anything at first. I mean, Chloe does jazz hands, like, all the time! It’s her thing! It’s adorkable. Sure, sometimes it’s cheesy, but it’s just Chloe!

Then, later that same day, Chloe reached out and playfully grabbed a fry from Zoey’s lunch tray, and Zoey snapped, “Geez, get your own fries, Chloe!”

I didn’t know WHAT was going on. From the look on her face, neither did Chloe!

Later that afternoon, Zoey and I were messaging, but when Chloe jumped in, Zoey immediately said she had to go. But she’d JUST told me she was bored and had nothing to do!

Something was definitely UP. When I texted Zoey and asked, she said nothing was wrong, but the next day she was weird ALL OVER AGAIN.

During PE, Zoey kept giving Chloe the silent treatment.  It was SUPER awkward!  Then, when Zoey asked to be excused to use the bathroom, Chloe asked to go to the bathroom too. When they weren’t back after a couple minutes, I asked for my own bathroom pass. (Thankfully we had a sub who let us all go at the same time.)

When I got to the girls’ bathroom, I found Chloe and Zoey inside – YELLING at each other!! 🙁 🙁 🙁 I couldn’t tell what they were yelling about, but Chloe was CRYING!

“WHAT’S GOING ON?!” I yelled over them. “Zoey, why is Chloe crying?”

“Oh sure!” Zoey grumbled. “You’re all worried about HER! Figures! I guess you two are such BFFs you don’t even need ME!”

And then she stormed out of the bathroom!!

Once Chloe had calmed down enough to talk to me, I asked what Zoey was so mad about.

“She said something about when we went ice skating!” Chloe wailed. “And how I didn’t invite her! But I DID!”

We had to get back to class, or even a sub would notice how long we’d been gone. As soon as class was over, Zoey sprinted out of there and we didn’t see her the rest of the day.

I couldn’t figure it out. Chloe had invited us both to go to Lake Placid with her family. The Olympics were held there a million years ago, so there’s a museum, but you can also go iceskating and sleigh riding and stuff. It sounded great, especially for Zoey since she’s so into history and that kind of thing!

But right after Chloe texted about it, Zoey texted to say her great-aunt’s birthday party was that weekend.

We were super bummed she couldn’t come, but we took lots of pictures and sent her texts. She never responded, but we figured she was busy with family stuff.

I looked back through the texts, to find clues why Zoey had gotten so mad. First, I realized Chloe’s text about the trip was ONLY to me! I mean, she wrote “Hey N & Z” at the top of it, so she THOUGHT she was talking to both of us, but she accidentally forgot to include Zoey as one of the recipients of the text. Which explained why I couldn’t find Zoey’s response about her aunt’s party in that conversation. I finally realized Zoey had sent that text separately, and it just happened to come in right after Chloe’s text about the trip.

So poor Zoey, left out and bored at her aunt’s party, was scrolling through her phone and saw a bunch of photos of me and Chloe ice skating, sleigh riding, drinking cocoa, and making heart fingers at the camera, all the while thinking she hadn’t been invited at all! No WONDER she was so upset!!

I waited until the next day, because this needed to be explained in person, with the texts to prove it all. It was our day to work in the library at lunch, and I knew Zoey wouldn’t let Mrs. Peach down, no matter how mad she was. When Mrs. Peach stepped out for lunch, I grabbed Chloe and we cornered Zoey.

“You two are going to listen to me!” I said in my fiercest voice. It’s the one I use when Daisy gets overexcited and forgets her potty training.

Zoey wasn’t QUITE as mad at me, so she listened, and she looked at the texts on my phone. Once she and Chloe realized what had happened, they both burst into tears.

“I’m SOOOO sorry!” Zoey cried. “I was horrible! My feelings were just SO hurt!”

“I’M so sorry, too!” Chloe wailed. “I totally meant to include you in that text! I’m SUCH a scatterbrain!”

Then we all did a group hug together, determined to put all of this behind us.

I hope that my two BFFs never, EVER fight like that again, because I am NOT cut out for this kind of stress!!

Have your BFFs ever had a big fight? Were you caught in the middle? Or, have YOU ever had a big fight with a BFF? Tell us all about it in the comments!
January 13, 2018

MY GYM TEACHER IS EVIL!

Hey Brandon,

My gym teacher is EVIL! I don’t mean to be rude, but it’s true!! When we have warm ups, she tells me to fix my posture because she says I look “like a goat giving birth!” And that’s just one of the many things she says to me. I’ve told her that I don’t know how to improve, but she just doesn’t care and forces me to work even harder! What should I do?!

Teacher Trouble

Hey Teacher Trouble,

What IS IT about gym teachers? It seems like it requires a very twisted sort of person to enjoy making other people sweat.

But look, there’s a difference between teachers who you don’t exactly want to be BFFs with, and teachers who are plain old bullies. It is NOT okay for a teacher to tell you that you look like a goat giving birth!

And if that’s really just one of a whole bunch of unacceptable comments this teacher has made to you and others, I think you should consider taking action. By that, I mean talking to your parents and letting them talk to the teacher and possibly the guidance counselor or principal.

I can understand why you might not want to – what if they do nothing and then your teacher knows you complained and gives you an even harder time? I hope that doesn’t happen. The thing is, if she talks to you like that, I’m sure she talks to lots of other kids like that, and it’s just SO NOT OKAY.

And if more than one student is willing to report this teacher’s bullying comments, it will be easier to get some responsible adults to take action.

So, a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Let the parents handle this. It’ll have more of an impact on the teacher and your school coming from parents.
  2. Here’s where YOU come in. Document every incident. Keep a running list of mean things the teacher says to you or anyone else in the class. Write down the date, time, who she was speaking to, what she said, etc. Your parents can approach other parents of kids on the list.
  3. Be careful how you approach this. Your parents shouldn’t go straight to the principal or superintendant. They should try to meet with the teacher, if the teacher is wiling. If not, or if that meeting isn’t productive, they should go to the head of department. Maybe a school counselor. From there the vice principal, and finally the principal or superintendant.

I’m glad you wrote in about this. We talk a lot about bullying in schools, but we’re always talking about kid-to-kid. Adults can be bullies too and it can be pretty scary to deal with!

Have you ever had a teacher who was a bully? How did you handle it? Did you get your parents involved?  Tell us in the comments.
January 10, 2018

Dork Diaries 13

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On sale June 5, 2018!

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I DO NOT HAVE A CRUSH ON MY BEST FRIEND!

Hi Nikki! I’m a girl and I have a BFF who just happens to be a boy. I DO NOT have a crush on him, and he does not have a crush on me, and that is that. But people always tease us and say, “Oooh, are you both crushing on each other?” They also sing that “Sitting In A Tree” song about us, and it’s super annoying!! Any advice on how to make them shut up?!

So Not Crushing

Hi So Not Crushing,

This is the WORST! I’m sorry you’re dealing with this. I think it’s awesome when guys and girls are friends. But it’s SO frustrating when people insist on seeing something else that’s SO not there, like a crush!

Like, what is even the point of that kind of teasing? Do they think you really do have a crush and want you to admit it? What do they get out of that? And do they really think embarrassing you is going to make it happen?

(Obviously, you don’t know the answers to these questions. And also obviously, I have experienced this and have some STRONG FEELINGS about people who should really just mind their own business!! ☹)

If they’re teasing you just to get a reaction out of you—and I SO think they are—the most effective thing is to act like it doesn’t bother you. Even if it totally does! Normally, I’m all about expressing your true feelings about stuff. But this is kind of a different case. If people are trying to upset you, the best way to make it stop is by ignoring them. Then they get bored and move on (hopefully!).

As hard as it might be when people make comments like that, or sing super annoying songs, try to ignore them. Or if you can do it convincingly, roll your eyes or give them bored looks like they couldn’t POSSIBLY be more juvenile.

But if anyone teasing you is an actual friend, I wouldn’t ignore them. I’d talk to them directly and tell them to PLEASE STOP. Be honest with them before it’s too late. It’s okay to let that friend know when the comments bug you and your guy BFF. Also let that friend know how important their friendship is to you. And listen to how they feel, too.

Other than that, I don’t know if there is a way to get people to shut up. Like…this is advice I give A LOT and sometimes I feel like a broken record. But the fact is, it’s good advice for a lot of situations: You can’t really change how other people act. You can only change how you let their actions affect YOU.

When people tease you like that, it’s SUPER annoying, no doubt. It’s also embarrassing, but you’d NEVER want it to make you AND your BFF so uncomfortable that it gets in the way of your awesome friendship!

I hope that helps, and that people quit bugging you soon. I’m glad you’ve got a tight guy-girl friendship. It’s rare and you’re really lucky!! 🙂

Hey readers! Have you ever gotten teased for a guy-girl friendship? How did you handle it? Give us all the deets in the comments!
January 8, 2018

I HAD AN AWESOME NEW YEAR’S!

I had the BEST New Year’s Eve EVER!! 🙂

Okay. NO, I didn’t get to go to some big party in a penthouse of the fanciest hotel downtown, even though I WAS invited! (Thanks, Zoey’s dad, Mr. Bigshot record producer!)

But I still had a GREAT night! Squeee!!

For Christmas, I gave my dad a coupon book. You know, a coupon to wash his car, a coupon to take over his night washing dishes, a coupon to take him out for fro-yo. That kind of thing. It’s cheesy, but I’ve been giving him these coupon books since I was little and he loves them.

So, one of the coupons said I would babysit Brianna so he could take Mom out for a date. And he cashed in for New Year’s Eve. I was still getting up the nerve to ask my parents if I could go to this swanky party with Chloe and Zoey. But then Dad cashed in his coupon and he was so excited about his plans with Mom, so I told Zoey I couldn’t make it to the party.

UGH, being a great daughter can sometimes be the WORST! ☹

But, I was gonna make the best of it! Brianna and I had plans for pizza, popcorn, movies, and board games. We were going to have a fun New Year’s Eve if it killed us!!

And then…she fell asleep by 8:30! What is she, a six-year-old?!!

Okay, she is actually a six-year-old. But still! What kind of celebration was I going to have all alone?!!!

When I heard a knock at the door, I didn’t answer. I mean, who was going to be knocking on the door, unexpected, on New Year’s Eve? It was a little creepy. Then, whoever it was knocked AGAIN! I hid under the blanket on the couch.

(Look, I KNOW I’m fourteen and if I’m old enough to babysit, I shouldn’t get freaked out by someone knocking on the door, but this is my diary and I’m just being HONEST!!)

Then I screamed when I got a text alert. When my heart had stopped pounding, I saw it was a text from Zoey. I was happy she and Chloe were having fun, but I didn’t really want to see some fabulous selfie from their super-glam party. I almost didn’t open the text.

But who was I kidding – I’m always too curious to ignore a text. So I looked, and it said, OPEN THE DOOR, YOU GOOF BALL!!!

There was always the possibility a serial killer had stolen Zoey’s phone in order to trick me into opening the door at night. I went to the door and listened. I wondered what a serial killer would sound like?

I didn’t know, but I was pretty sure a serial killer would NOT sound like Chloe and Zoey giggling. So, I cautiously peeked out of the door.

“SURPRISE!!!!” they shouted, and Chloe even threw in some jazz hands!

“What are you doing here?!” I exclaimed.

They were ALL dressed up and looked SO glamorous! Zoey was holding two plates of fancy food.

“We’re freezing,” Chloe said. “Let us in!”

“The party was amazing,” Zoey said as they came inside, “for like five minutes. But it was all record industry people. Once we’d seen the penthouse and gotten some food…meh.”

“So you came here?!” I gasped.

“Where else would we rather be?” Chloe said. “Try the chocolate-dipped strawberries. They’re amazing!”

Of course, we made too much noise and woke Brianna. She was SO excited to see Chloe and Zoey. They convinced Brianna to try caviar and she actually LIKED IT!  OMG!! (I wouldn’t touch it. I mean, it’s fish eggs! I realize that it makes NO SENSE to be grossed out by fish eggs and eat chicken eggs without a problem, but I AM A WOMAN OF COMPLEXITY!!!)

We played Candyland with Brianna until she fell asleep in Chloe’s lap. Then we switched over to playing Jenga, Outburst Junior, and Would You Rather. We were so busy cracking up that we actually missed when the ball dropped on TV!

“Oh! We missed it! It’s the new year!” Chloe shout-whispered, Brianna still draped over her lap.

“Happy New Year!” Zoey raised her can of soda. I raised mine, then we all did a group hug.  I also hugged Brianna, but very gently so I wouldn’t wake her.

“Happy New Year, guys!!”

Who needs a swanky penthouse party when you’ve got friends like these?!! 🙂

What did you do for New Year’s? Did you go someplace awesome or just chillax at home?  Tell us in the comments!
January 6, 2018

MY FRIENDS WANT ME TO BE MEAN!

Hey Brandon,

I consider myself a friendly CCP girl. But, my friends are mean and they want me to be mean, too! They all hate this one girl (like Mackenzie hates Nikki), but I think she’s cool and super funny. There’s also a guy I have a huge crush on who’s been giving me a hard time because I’m nice to her. What should I do?  Should I give in and be mean to her, or ignore my CCP friends and be nice to whomever I want? PLEASE HELP!!

Confused CCP

Hey Confused CCP,

Okay, I think you already know the answer, or you wouldn’t be questioning what your friends want you to do.  Of COURSE you should be nice to her. Honestly, you should be nice to her no matter what, because…she’s a good person like you. She’s nice, right?  Plus, she’s super funny. Like…why would you be mean to her? Just because your friends tell you to? That would make you a total sheep—just weakly following the crowd for no reason of your own.

CCP stands for “cute, cool, popular”, right? None of those words mean that you have to be MEAN. It’s not cool to be mean. Being mean shouldn’t make you popular. In fact, if you’re popular, you can afford to be nice to anyone. You have more power than less popular kids, and you should use it for good.

If the guy you like is bugging you for being friendly to a nice girl (or anyone, really), I think you might want to reexamine why you like him. He kinda sounds like a jerk, to be honest. What about looking for a nice guy to like?  You know, the kind of guy who’ll like you for being nice to people?

And same thing goes for your friends. I don’t know what their problem is, why they want you to be mean to that girl. It’s bad enough that they’re mean to her. Why are they spreading meanness? I mean…I think a really cool thing to do would be to push back and ask them WHY they’re being so mean to her. But if you don’t like confrontation, I’d just shrug them off, and keep being a nice person. If they would drop you for not being mean to someone…then I think it’s time for some new friends, too.

I’m sure that’s hard to hear. But let’s face it…it’s the right thing to do. The good news is, being popular because lots of people genuinely LIKE you feels a LOT better than being popular because people are afraid of you. 🙂

Hey readers, do you have the power of popularity? Do you use it for good or evil?
January 3, 2018

I FEEL SO GUILTY!!

Hi Nikki! Recently, I did something I TOTALLY REGRET, and now I feel SO guilty! My parents tell me to just focus on the things I can change instead of what I can’t. But, I still feel SO awful. Please help!

Regretful

Hi Regretful,

Oh wow. This sounds like a terrible situation because you’re dealing with a major amount of guilt! And guilt can really eat you up inside. It can mess with your eating and sleeping.  It can also distract you from your schoolwork and friendships. The thing is, this guilt will only keep bothering you until you figure out how to get rid of it!

It’s a little tricky, since I have no idea what happened. But if whatever you did is a secret, then I’m afraid that’s a one-way ticket to feeling even more guilt.☹ You need to tell someone. Get it off your chest. Even if it means you’re going to get in trouble. Nothing could be worse than this massive amount of guilt you’re dealing with!

If whatever you did caused harm to another person, then it’s super important to take responsibility. Apologize, and try to make up for it. Hopefully the person will accept your apology. But if not, at least you’ll have tried, which will alleviate some of the guilt.

If the guilt is still eating you up, even after you’ve confessed and/or apologized, you need to talk to someone about it. Maybe an older sibling or trusted adult. Someone who’s not going to make you feel worse, or judge you for whatever it is, but who will help you try to move forward.

Hey, you’re not doing anyone any good by staying stuck in this horrible guilt. It doesn’t change what happened. But it is making you MISERABLE and that’s NOT OKAY!

I also think it’ll help if you distract yourself by staying busy. If you don’t have much going on, then you spend all your time sitting around and feeling guilty. So I suggest you get busy – start some big projects, whether you’re building stuff, fixing something, playing anything or helping someone. It doesn’t really matter. Just get busy, to keep your mind off things that stress you out!

I hope this helps and that you figure out a way to let go of the guilt. No matter what you did, you don’t deserve it. I promise!

Have you ever done something you felt super guilty about later? Did it help to confess or apologize? How did you get rid of the guilt? Tell us in the comments!