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This is going to sound really strange, but I'm 17 and afraid to talk to girls. Whenever I do, I get really nervous, especially around the ones I like. Now I've got a major thing for this girl, but I don't know what to do. I've never had a girlfriend, but I really like her. What can I do?

Too Shy

Dear Too Shy,

Did you ever think that the girls may be nervous, too? I'm sure almost everyone in the world has had that butterfly feeling in their stomach at some point or another when the person they like is around. But you have to get over it, otherwise you'll have that butterfly feeling, and that's it.

Girls are not space aliens. We are human beings, too. We are normal people. Just remember this when you want to talk to us. We know what it's like to be nervous around someone you like. We know that feeling of "I want to throw up everthing I had for lunch because so-and-so is there." And if you mess up a little bit, you are not condemned to having a girl not so much as look at your face for the rest of your life. It may stick in our heads for a couple of days (at most), but we'll ignore it and go on with our lives.

I think every relationship starts out in that "getting to know you" phase where both people don't know how to act or what to say in front of the other person, for fear of getting a bad reaction. So if you feel stupid in front of them, relax! There is a good chance that they feel the same way.

Just remember two things. The first is, if you don't say or do something you will live forever wondering, "Did she like me?" In the words of my friend Beth, "It is better to regret something you did than something you didn't do." The second thing is, everybody is stupid for at least five minutes a day. The key is not to exceed it. And if you do go past five minutes, there's always tomorrow when no one remembers it!

Got a problem? Write to Megan in care of NeXt, The Buffalo News, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y. 14240.

Megan is really Lauren Richardson, a junior at West Seneca East Senior High School.

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