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Dear Miss Manners: I am 16, and I fell hard for a guy I like – I mean, harder than anyone.

I remember the first time I met him. It was two years ago, and he was just sitting there, imperfect and with braces, exactly like me. I’ve never felt this way about anyone.

I’ve had a lot of problems in life and relationships, and we always talked about them. He told me he would always be there for me if I ever needed him.

So about two weeks ago, after a play he and I were in, we were outside, and I told him I liked him a lot. He said it’s not that he doesn’t like me, he just wasn’t ready for a relationship.

So I brought up two girls I thought he liked, and he said “kinda” to both of them. After that, he said nothing’s going to happen because they are both two years older than him.

So exactly four days after that, he started hanging out with one of the girls he “kinda” liked. He gave her his coat, they talk everywhere and every day, they hug – and to make it worse he faces me and the girl when he talks to her.

He knows how much I like him. So finally today I asked him what’s going on. He told me that he and the girl are going out to see a movie, and then he’s going ask her to be his girlfriend.

So two weeks ago he wasn’t ready for a relationship, but now he’s ready for one with a different girl. I know there’s more fish in the sea, but I feel like we’re meant to be. I mean, we used to get along so good and flirt.

I love him. I know love is a strong word, but it’s true. My two friends are coming over this week to cheer me up and have a girls’ night, so should we go to the movie theater and stalk him and the girl, or what’s your advice?

Gentle Reader: Read Edna St. Vincent Millay. That is Miss Manners’ advice.

Oh, yes, and stay away from that theater and from that couple. If you think that heartbreak is painful now, it would be nothing in comparison to what you would feel if you sacrificed your dignity and made a public scene. Or a private one, for that matter.

Furthermore, you would be killing any possible chance that in the future, the object of your love might turn to you if something goes wrong with the current romance, as is often the case.

Only a bland demeanor that hides your feelings and suggests that you never felt more than friendship will preserve your self-respect, and perhaps the possibility of a future connection.

Sleepover interrupted

Dear Miss Manners: How do I politely tell parents that when my 13-year-old daughter invites their girls for a sleepover, it’s not an invitation to let the parents spend a night on the town, then retrieve their children very late that night?

Often a parent will reply to our overnight invite by telling us they’ll come by to get their girl at 10 or 11 p.m. This means I’m unable to close up my house, get into my pajamas, relax and get to bed – because I’m waiting for these parents to show up at the door.

Their responses are always couched very politely: “We would love for Lucy to come over! But we need to retrieve her at 10 because she has an early morning appointment.” I can’t really say, “Sorry, this was a sleepover invite, not a baby-sitting job.” Advice?

Gentle Reader: Just some judicious editing to the remark you admit you cannot make. Miss Manners’ version is: “Oh, dear, I’m so sorry – and Lily will be so sorry that Lucy can’t be here for the sleepover. I’m sure she’ll want to invite her another time, when Lucy can stay overnight.”