'The Modern Girl's Guide to Sticky Situations,' by Jane Buckingham

What, do you have a vestigial tail or something? Women always have a laundry list of things they hate about their bodies; if you are going to have a real relationship with someone, you are going to have to risk exposing the parts of yourself that you don't like. Whether it's a scar, a weird birthmark, or an extra toe, it's likely that he's going to love it as much as he loves the rest of you. That is, if he even notices it. And look, if you do have something major, it's part of you, part of what has created who you are -- made you stronger, wiser, and deeper. Don't be ashamed; be proud. If he doesn't love it, and you, he doesn't deserve you.

You want to take a friendship to a romantic place, but you're not sure your pal feels the same.

Ah, here's a sticky that launched a dozen teen movies. Well, you can either throw a John Hughes film festival and then try various misbegotten hijinks inspired by Molly Ringwald, or tell him honestly about your feelings and accept his response. If he's not interested, you should know that there are lots of reasons a man might not want to take the relationship to the next level. It really doesn't matter what they are or if they make any sense to you. The bottom line is that when he imagines being with you more intimately (and trust me, he does think about these things), he pauses and then says to himself, "Nah." Consider taking a break from the friendship until your emotions calm down.

On the other hand, if he confesses his undying love for you and you feel differently, let him down easy. Be clear about wanting to keep things completely platonic, and follow through. Don't play with his feelings to pad your ego -- it's not fair to use him as a substitute boyfriend or devoted eunuch. Again, you may need to cut down on the time you spend together, at least until he finds someone new to crush on.

Now, the stickiest of these situations is when friends just have sex, or when friends think they like each other, sleep with each other, and one changes his or her mind. When this happens, chances are, the best thing to do is take a break from each other. Recognize that good friendships are almost as hard to find as good romances. If your love match wasn't meant to be, your friend isn't punishing you, and it's not your fault -- so why throw the baby out with the bathwater? Be friends, but never sleep together again unless the friendship has turned into a serious relationship. And while there might be a rare exception, I've found that "friends with benefits" tends to be a lot like health care -- the coverage isn't there when you need it most.

You're dating someone you're crazy about, but nothing's official -- should you change your relationship status on MySpace, Facebook, and Ning?

This is a delicate process with several different stages. First off, when you start dating a guy exclusively, you might consider removing the single status from your profile out of respect for what you've got going. Warning: doing this will cause a pileup of curious pals ("Woo-woo!" "Who is he?" etc.), so be sure to delete the move from your newsfeed. Once you and your man move into boyfriend-girlfriend territory, it's time to shift (preferably in sync) to "In a relationship."

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