DEAR ABBY: I am a 14-year-old female from the West Coast. I am home-schooled and don't have many friends because I score high in tests, meaning I retain more information than the average person.
On the rare occasion that I mingle with children my own age, they call me unpleasant names, play pranks on me and otherwise torture me. I had to change my emergency cellphone number and start using my sister's because there have been so many immature and insulting prank calls.
I hate it. I can't help that I am smart, and I refuse to degrade myself by dumbing down my actions and speech because they can't handle their insecurities. -- HIGH IQ
DEAR HIGH IQ: Being "different" isn't easy, and clearly you are very intelligent. But you and your parents should understand that crank calls are not "pranks" -- they are a form of bullying and should have been reported when they happened.
Most parents who home-school also network with other home-schooling parents so their children can socialize with peers. If your parents haven't done this, I recommend you discuss it with them. You might also meet more intellectually advanced young people if you joined special-interest groups for older students.
Your high IQ might be less threatening to the students who have given you trouble if you volunteer to tutor some of them who need help with their schoolwork. (Just don't fall into the trap of doing it for them.)
DEAR ABBY: I have been with my boyfriend, "Dan," for almost five years. He's wonderful and we have a great relationship. We have talked about spending our lives together, but had mutually agreed in the beginning that marriage wasn't a priority for either of us. He has said for years that he never wanted to marry -- which is fine with me.
I now suspect that he's planning to propose to me on our fifth anniversary. (He has never been great at hiding surprises.)
I'm thrilled that he wants to make that kind of commitment, and I want nothing more than to spend the rest of my life with him, but the thought of marriage scares me. I don't know if it's nerves about the pending proposal or that I have never planned on marriage and now I have to think about all the stress and strife that comes with planning a wedding.
I want to say yes, but I love the way things are right now, and I know that marriage will change things. What, if anything, do I say to him? -- COLD FEET? IN SALT LAKE CITY
DEAR COLD FEET?: I wish you had mentioned why you think being married to Dan would "change things." If you've been happy together for five years, it's unlikely that making a formal commitment would damage the special relationship you have together.
Perhaps this is "old school," but I feel that if couples plan to bring children into the world, they should be married. Because you want nothing more than to spend the rest of your life with Dan, and are concerned about the stress of planning a wedding, when he pops the question, I suggest you say, "Yes -- why don't we elope?"
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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