Dear Abby: I'm a 14-year-old girl and I have a boy best friend who is also 14. I liked him the moment I met him, which was exactly a year ago. He says it's the same for him.
We established that we both liked each other months ago, but we're still only friends. The reason is his parents have a rule that he can't have a girlfriend or go on dates until he's 16. He's the only one I want, but we have to wait until he can ask me out.
For now we are best friends, but it's hard not to want to hold his hand and kiss him and stuff like that. He doesn't like his parents' rule just as much as I don't, and he totally doesn't want to wait, but he will. It's also very hard to not tell him how much my feelings have grown, because I'm afraid he will react strangely if I tell him I think I might love him. What should I do? -- TEEN IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR TEEN: If your intuition is telling you not to be the first to say, "I love you," then listen to it and you may be pleasantly surprised one day to hear him say it to you first. As to the fact that his parents are strict, you really don't have much choice other than to respect their rules.
That said, younger teens aren't usually restricted from having any social contact at all. Before they start dating one-on-one, they usually get together in groups for movies, sporting events, school dances, etc. This should give the two of you opportunities to see each other outside of school. While this may not be the answer you're looking for, for the time being, it may be an acceptable compromise.
DEAR ABBY: I work in the retail industry at a high-end furniture store. We specialize in custom furniture from top manufacturers. We have been in business for many years and have many repeat customers.
My question is about customer service. Our hours of operation are normal, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. But we often have customers who arrive at 5:45 p.m. or later to see sales associates and order their furniture. Because our furniture is custom, the process can take up to an hour. Some associates have stayed as late as 8 p.m. to work with a customer who walks in without an appointment.
When is it appropriate to let the customer know we are closing and they should come back at another time for their consultation? We try to work with everyone, but in my opinion, it's rude to assume we are obligated to stay and cater to them when it is our time to go home to our families. -- WAITING TILL THE LAST MINUTE
DEAR WAITING: You're not wrong. I agree it's rude to assume that people will stay hours after closing time, but if there are no hard and fast rules in your store, sales personnel may be stuck. It's one thing if the sale is being finished, but to start the process just before closing time is an imposition. Some stores stop processing orders before the official closing time, which nips the problem in the bud.
As to whether you are "obligated" to accommodate high-end customers, this is something you should discuss with your employer. Some businesses are willing to cater to buyers of high-end merchandise, and yours may be one of them.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)
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