Ask Caroline

Caroline Manzo tackles questions on dating, friendship, and watching your children mature.

on May 23, 2011

Marie from Carmel, IN says: Dear Caroline - I hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day! In the grand scheme of things, this may seem like a small matter, but it's one that makes me feel out of place amongst my peers on a daily basis.  I'm nearly 18, about to graduate high school and head off to school in California, and I've never been on a date.  Never been kissed. Never even held hands with a guy outside of church. By no stretch of the imagination would I be considered a beauty, nor am I outgoing. Rather I'm a fairly shy coffee shop kind of girl, who enjoys reading Victorian Literature, watching Disney movies, and shopping. Hence guys seem to not see me at all unless they need to have their papers edited. How do I get them to notice me while still remaining true to myself and values?  

Caroline says: Wow, wow, wow! You just brought me back forty years Marie. Guess what? I was that girl! I was extraordinarily shy in high school. I was the new girl from Queens, NY that didn't fit in our quiet N.J. community.  I dressed differently, I acted differently, and just didn't blend. I was never asked to prom, a dance, or even out on a date until the very end of my senior year. I can't tell you how many times I sat home while my friends went to dances, football games, etc. The truth of the matter is I never minded. I too loved to read, I still do. I knew I was different, and that was OK with me. I had my group of friends and although it was a small group, they were true and real. I never got involved in all the crazy drama that was inevitable in the life of a teenager. Knowing who you are is a tremendous advantage, Marie; it's just a matter of taking that knowledge and channeling it in a positive direction.  

I'm happy to hear you're going off to college. That in itself is a wonderful adventure and will certainly provide excitement in your life. Having said that, I need you to stay true to who you are. Don't fall prey to the insecurities of others. It takes a very strong person to stay true to him or herself and march to the beat of their own drum. I never ever looked at the person next to me and wished I were them. I was never the prettiest, nor the smartest, nor the most popular girl in school. So what, I'm still standing.  

So you've never kissed a boy or even held hands with one. That's okay! You're so young and you have such a wonderful life waiting for you. Go to California, make new friends, but remain true to who you are!

Trust me when I tell you that in life you will face many challenges. In order to deal with these challenges, you have to have a strong core in knowing and accepting yourself for who and what you are. The fact that guys don't relate to you in a sexual way shows me that you command respect from them. That's fabulous. I know you don't think so now, but it's true. There's someone out there for you, and you need to just let things happen as they're meant to happen. You said you like Disney movies. Well then you're familiar with the saying, "Someday my prince will come!"  He's out there, I promise!