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Avoid comparison with sister

Dear Abby: I'm a freshman in high school, and my sister is a junior. She plays violin in our school orchestra (first chair), gets straight A's in all her classes (honors and AP courses) and is gorgeous and popular. I, on the other hand, am socially awkward, spend most of my time with my nose jammed in a book, barely get A's in my few honors courses and play in the school band.

I have some friends, but most of them aren't in any of my classes so I eat lunch alone. I don't want to be popular; I just want to stop being jealous of my sister. How can I do that when anything I do is overshadowed by her accomplishments?

-- Living in the Shadows in Illinois

Dear Living in the Shadows: It would be helpful if you would stop comparing yourself with your sister. You are an individual, and individuals do not all blossom at the same rate. You have accomplishments you should be proud of. You play an instrument, you are in some honors courses, and you are a READER. The time you spend with your "nose jammed in a book" will pay off later because you are developing your mind.

I recommend you find an area of interest that your sister hasn't tried, and develop that. It's a way to excel at something in your own right and make some new acquaintances so you aren't lost in the glare of your sister's spotlight.


Divorcee uses maiden name

Dear Abby: I am recently divorced and have chosen to go back to using my maiden name. The divorce was a long time in coming and, frankly, I'm happy about it. What's bothering me is the reaction I get from most people about my name change. Many of them assume that a name change equals marriage -- so I am often congratulated. What lighthearted response can I give to those folks to set them straight?

-- Unattached in Arlington, Texas

Dear Unattached: Say, "Thank you for the congratulations, but this is the name I was born with."