Dear Miss Emily:

I really need help!  I'm a seventh grader and there is this boy in 8th grade, and someone I know is already going out with him.  He is a little mean to me, and I like him a lot, and don't like him. What should I do?!

---------------Miss Emily's advice------------

I'm not sure why he's mean to you, although these are not the best years to learn about the kindness of others.  It's a jungle out there, isn't it?  Don't allow him to be nasty to you without you calling him on it.  Slam a witty comment or two his way, and it should disarm him.  Sticking up for yourself shows others you are not someone who can be pushed around. If he sees you are not going to curl up in a ball and roll away, he'll probably take notice and see you in a different light.  If this doesn't work, ignore him -- act like he's not there.  I'm sure he won't be able to handle that!  He'll either beg for your attention, or he will leave you alone.  But either way, you will have put yourself in the driver's seat.  If he does prove to be attentive, you'll have to decide what you want to do with him from there. Good luck!