I develop an attraction too fast towards a person, I also believe all the stories they give and later get disappointed because most of it is all lies. In a manner like this I lose the relationship/friendship very soon.

It is important for you to know a person well before trusting them. At the initial stages of any relationship/friendship most people are at their best behaviour which later fades away with time. If you quickly trust a person the chances that you will get disappointed are very high. Give yourself and the person enough time before making any move.

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I am overweight and I don't feel happy about it. It has made me feel very conscious. I feel that people around me do not treat me well because of this.

If you are overweight, it would be right to lose the excess weight for your own physical well-being. How we look often influences the way we feel. Not being in the right shape can make you feel conscious sometimes. It is often good to practise self-love, which means that irrespective of your physical appearance you love and appreciate yourself for who you are. Each one of us is made differently, however, finding love in your own uniqueness is essential.

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My relationship with my parents is in trouble ... due to my choice for higher studies. I want to join a particular course of my choice, but my parents feel I shouldn't just because their plans for my future are different. I have always done what my parents have wanted me to do. But now, going against their wishes in favour of mine is making me feel guilty about disobeying my parents. How should I handle this situation?

Hey dear, you are feeling guilty that you are 'disobeying' your parents to join a course of your choice because till now you have always obeyed them.

Like all parents, they may be thinking about economic aspects, social acceptance, where you study and work (location), and safety instead of your interests and your talent/skills. However, you are going to study and work in a particular field, so it is also important to enjoy what you do.

There are two things to do: One is to convince them - in a firm yet caring manner that this course is really what you want to do, and how it is right for you. Second is to address their fears, if any. You could seek professional advice from a career counsellor if you wish. Do your homework about what they might want to know, e.g., detailed information about the course, career prospects, income, your interests, your talents and so on. Request that they give you a fair hearing and share your thoughts; ask for their views and suggestions and answer their questions. Assure them that you will see the course through and take responsibility for yourself.

If you are firm about what you want to do and address any fears they may have, it is more likely that your parents will understand and respect your choice. Good luck!

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I am easily affected by people's feelings about me. If someone says something negative about me or puts me down, I start worrying a lot about it, and as a result, I get headaches and I am unable to concentrate on anything. I feel it so much that I cannot sleep at night as I keep thinking about what happened. How can I overcome this problem?

Hi dear, you are sensitive to others' feelings about you. This makes you overthink what happened, which affects your emotional and physical health, and your sleep.

When someone criticises you, first calm yourself. Breathe and count backwards from ten to one. Or notice any five objects of different colours in the room. When you are calmer, question these negative remarks. Are any of them true? What is the evidence that they are true? What is the evidence that they are not true? If they are true, you can use them as feedback to improve. If they are not, then you know the other person is probably expressing their opinion or their frustration.

Reflect on what affects you when someone says something negative or puts you down. We usually feel affected because we want to be seen as 'nice' by everyone and often don't respect ourselves enough. So, instead of thinking 'I am not good enough', say 'I am learning and growing'. Know your own strengths and weaknesses and accept, love and respect yourself as you are. Befriend people who respect you and learn to say 'no' to those don't. Participate in youth activities that help develop your personality and your leadership skills.

When you feel more confident, firmly let people who pass negative remarks know that you find their statements too negative; and it is best that they only give you feedback you can work on. Show them that you are fine with yourself the way you are. Stand up for yourself!

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My problem is that whenever any female friend of mine says something nice to me I feel very shy and embarrassed. I love sports and am happy to indulge in social activities. But when it comes to girls praising or complimenting me, it's an embarrassing situation for me. Am I abnormal?

Hey dear, your shyness and self-consciousness cause you to be embarrassed when your female friends compliment you, and this is not abnormal at all. It is perfectly normal to feel shy with those of the opposite gender in your teens.

If you are uncomfortable and embarrassed when the spotlight is on you, is it that you think you don't deserve the attention and the compliments? Or are you afraid that someday they will change their minds about you and think that you're not good enough?

Start by receiving a compliment with grace. Practise saying, "Thank you' and smiling in front of a mirror and then simply say 'Thank you' and smile when they pay you a compliment next. Learn how to pay a sincere compliment to them too. It will take the attention off you and yet make you appreciated.

Girls are human beings too, so learn the art of conversation. Think of an interesting topic and bring it up. Ask for their views. This will take the spotlight off yourself and distribute the attention among many others. Plus, you will find common interests.

Most importantly, your shyness can be a strength it shows that instead of being brash or rude you are a caring and gentle person. And who doesn't like a tough guy who can be gentle too!

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A few years ago, I fell in love with a girl of my age with whom I was friendly. One day she and her family moved to another city. After that I never met her for almost two years, till one day I connected with her on a social networking site. We became friends once again. One day I asked her whether she liked me; she got angry and didn't want to speak to me again. I ended up firing her with bad words. Now I keep thinking about her and my studies are suffering as a result. How can I get her back or at least get peace of mind?

Dear, Looks like you regret the way things happened with this girl and that is taking away your peace of mind.

It is okay that you expressed your feelings and asked if this girl liked you in return, but she got offended and angry. Was she overreacting? Or was it something about what you said or the way you asked? Reflect on this first. In any case, any relationship is about respecting the other person, and 'firing with bad words' does not show respect.

The only way forward is to apologize to her. Perhaps you can mention that while you had no intention of offending her by asking if she liked you, you are very sorry for your behaviour afterwards. Then, remember, it is her choice whether she replies to you or not, returns your feelings or not, or wants to be friends or not. So, be ready that you may or may not receive a response. Respect her choice.

And once you have apologized, whether you get her friendship back or not, you will certainly get peace of mind.

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I am an 11th standard student. My problem is that I just can't study properly. When I start studying I get carried away by thoughts of different things. My teachers say that I am a bright student, and I used to be so till class 10. After that I fell into bad company and it ruined my life. I have lost my confidence, and am unable to make proper decisions. Please help me out.

Dear, Sounds like you're quite upset that your earlier decisions led you to a loss of confidence and lack of focus. Interestingly, you seem to have made the 'proper decision' to change. So take heart and get started with it!

If you haven't already, do give up the bad company. Being on your own is better than being with people who cause you to lose focus on your dreams and goals. And, set that goal - what is it that you want to become or do after you finish your studies? Draw and put it up on the wall at home. Let it pull you and make you feel excited to achieve it. It will make you start focusing on your studies.

To maintain focus, use the 25-minute study technique. Agree to put in quality study for 25-minutes such that you remember what you learn. Shut out all outside distractions. If thoughts come, acknowledge them, and then remind yourself to go back to your studies because of the goal put up on your wall. If thoughts are too many, keep a thought journal and write them down. Then go back to studies. Reward yourself by taking a 5-minute break in which you do something you love - except technology or reading (thinking stuff). Do 4 cycles - 25 5-25-10 then 25-5-25-long break.

Meanwhile, exercise and take up one hobby. And slowly, once you're back on track with studies, focus on supportive friendships. Your confidence will return. Good luck!

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I love a guy and he too loves me. We follow different religions and customs, but we have accepted this. Is this relationship right with all these social differences? Is this love or plain teenage attraction? All I know is that I like him and he likes me.

Dear, You like this guy, but you seem to have doubts as to whether you will be able to adjust to religious and social differences, a doubt that is very valid and well picked up by you.

There are examples of all kinds - those where partners adjust to and accept each other's religious differences; others where one partner gives up his/her religion and customs to adjust to another; and those where the differences are too many and partners break up.

While the goal of all religions is the same, the paths are many. The reality is that these differing paths and their customs can be quite challenging to adjust to, especially if they are very different from our own. Finally, success depends on a couple's choice, the ability to work through differences and find common ground. For this, each person must first know what they are willing to adjust to and what is unacceptable to them. And then work through differences by communicating openly and respecting each other's choices. Else it is best to move on.

You are still young and have a long way to go before getting into a committed relationship. Take your time and get to know each other and your families before you commit to the relationship. So, at present, enjoy your teens and the special friendship you share. Whether this is love or plain teenage attraction, time will surely tell.

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