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Play it cool with friend's soon-to-be-ex

Dear Abby: I really need some help. One of my friends and her boyfriend, "Jake," have been having problems and he wants to break up with her. I have had a crush on him since I first met him. My friend knew it and dated him anyway.

Jake has been flirting with me for a while now, and I feel uncomfortable because I flirted back. I'm afraid my girlfriend will think he broke up with her for me. Please help!

-- Stuck in the Middle

Dear Stuck: Be warned. Jake appears to be someone with a roving eye and a short attention span. While he may have his eye on you, play it cool and hold off dating him until he has first dated one or two other girls. Even then, your girlfriend may not like the idea of your seeing him -- but she won't be able to accuse you of having had any involvement in their breakup.

> Time to 'talk down'

Dear Abby: I am an intellectual giant. I have nothing in common with my peers. I am smarter than all of them. I am in a gifted-and-talented program in my school, and I am still unable to carry on a conversation that everyone in the room can understand. Please help me.

-- Heads Above the Rest in Idaho

Dear Heads Above the Rest: Being intellectually gifted is an asset -- unless it isolates you because you can't relate to others. If you're as smart as you say you are, you should try to do what other "intellectual giants" have done -- learn to analogize what you're trying to communicate so that others of lesser intelligence can understand you. It is a skill and it may take practice, but the alternative is being unable to share your valuable insights with others.

If you cannot manage what I am suggesting on your own, you may need some pointers from a psychologist to gain the tools you need.

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