"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one." -- novelist C.S. Lewis

Nedjie Thompson, 17, believes that a guy and a girl can just be best friends with no feelings.

“Having a girl as a friend and having a guy as a friend have their pros and cons,” says Thompson, who attends the John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science. “Some girls can have better connections with other girls, since they have someone to talk to about the same thing, and maybe they can relate more to you. Still, having a guy as a friend can be helpful because they can actually listen and everything you talk about is new to him.” There are girls who think that they cannot have friends of the same gender since they may be jealous. Others think that a friendship between a guy and a girl cannot exist, that one may catch feelings for the other. Kristiana Mbrice has a best friend who is a girl. “Since my best friend is the same gender as me, and I have never had a boy best friend, I would say that stronger friendships exist between two people with the same gender,” says Mbrice, a senior at Boston Community Leadership Academy. Wendy Zheng, a junior at the O’Bryant, says that she’s had best friends who are guys and best friends who are girls. “When you are sad and you just want to talk about your emotions and other things that are bothering you, your girl friends always will support you and talk you through,” says Zheng. Meanwhile, she says, “Some guys are trustworthy and they could keep secrets.”
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Miesha Lopes Tavares, 14, from the Dever-McCormack School, is direct when telling a friend she needs space. That happens, she says, when a person is being fake or she is tired of arguing or she has too much going on inside her head. “I have trust issues,” she says. Asking others for space is something some teens have trouble doing, believing it could shatter a friendship. Marlene Jondoh, 16, from Charlestown High School, says she would be delicate -- telling a friend that she loves to hang out but sometimes needs to be alone. At those times, Jondoh says, she would go to her room to listen to music or read a book. Kripa Thapa, 16, from West Roxbury Academy, says that if she wanted some breathing room she would let people know something was up. “I would tell them to leave me alone or I would just stop talking to them,” Thapa says. Then she would go into a dark room and put on some music.
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Which comes first for teens: family, friends, or faith? For 17-year-old Darlene Matos, of Dorchester, the answer is faith. “I believe in God not only for what He has done in my life but for who He is,” says Matos. Teens can show their love to family, to friends, or to faith by watching each others’ backs, and/or having love in their hearts. Stevie Torres, 17, from Boston Community Leadership Academy, says that family takes priority because they provide support. “They can give you advice,” says Torres, “and they can talk to you about your problems and they can help you to solve them.” Jose Lainez, 19, from East Boston, says that faith is primo. “God has helped me to have more strength,” says Lainez. “He will always be there for me and He will love me no matter how I am. Family can’t be there for you all the time because they have things to do.” In the best of times, love between each other will be constant no matter if teens choose family, friends, or faith.
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One second I’m the center of my parents’ attention, and the next I’m stuck sharing my favorite cereal with my new brother. At least that’s how I imagine it went when I was three years old and my first (and only, I expected) brother was born. I am now 17 with two younger brothers, ages 14 and six. Not only do I bear the responsibility of being a good role model, I also have to offer unlimited babysitting at any given time regardless of any plans I’ve made. Still, as hard to believe as it may be, little brothers do have beneficial assets. Recently, I found a very much unwanted eight-legged guest on the ceiling of my room. When neither of my parents came to help, my brother Kevin saved me from losing my sanity and rid the spider himself. The younger of the two, Yalvin, helped me laugh the whole thing off by causing a scene himself as he apparently also has inherited the spider-phobia gene. I may have to help with homework that I thought I finally had outgrown. But now that I’m entering my senior year of high school and will soon be off to college, I realize I won’t see these two as much. I won’t laugh hysterically with them as often, or be able to make pancakes for two hungry monsters on Sunday mornings, either. I also understand that the most bothersome two little people I know are the ones that I may miss the most.
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Dear freshman,   The transition from middle school to high school isn’t always easy. You have to deal with academics, home situations, and relationships -- and somehow balance all this and get through high school with passing grades. Here’s some advice: Put your academics before everything else. In high school there will be drama but don’t let it get to you. Your grades are more important than everything going on around you. You don’t want to let your grades slip away because soon it will be too late and your GPA won’t look so great. This will catch up to you when you apply to colleges in the future. Don’t give into what others are doing. It sounds cliché but it’s true. If the people around you are careless about their academics, you are bound to end up like them. Try your best to be your own person. Finally, don’t procrastinate. In middle school you probably got away with waiting until the last minute because you were able to catch up with your work later. But if you do this in high school the quality of your work will be very poor. Also, teachers will notice; they’re not as easy on you as they were in middle school. You’re on your way to adulthood, anyhow. Just complete your assignments before the last minute so you’ll be free of stress.   Sincerely,   A Concerned Junior
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