ask toni & josh

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 08 March, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 08 March, 2009, 12:00am

Dear Josh

I'm having a really hard time getting over my recent ex-boyfriend. I find it pathetic to dwell on things like this, and I'm not the kind of girl to be a 'martyr', so I'm surprised at my own feelings. We met when his team came for a sports meet at my school. We started talking every day on Skype and MSN for hours on end. We started dating, even though it was a long-distance relationship - and I'd never been happier.

But the distance got too much, and I dumped him. We got back together for a few months, then I ended it again a few months later. We were together on and off for a year and a bit - but it just wasn't working. I recently heard he has found a new girlfriend, but his friends say he's only dating her to get over me.

Should I get over him asap? Or try to mend things? If I try to fix it, where do I start? I don't want to talk to my friends anymore because I know they're getting weary of listening.

Confused and Broken

Dear Dumper

There's a saying that goes, 'Dump me once, shame on you. Dump me twice, shame on me'*. Now, you've dumped a guy twice and expect him to still be pining?

While there are some boys who would (you'll find them in the movies), your ex knows he'd be a fool to risk being dumped again. I know you think things could be different this time, but for guys, our hearts tend to harden the third time round.

So if you love him as much as you say you do, let him move on. Perhaps you two get along really well but it doesn't sound like either of you is ready to handle the significant sacrifices and hardships of an uncertain long-distance relationship.

He hasn't forgotten you, but he is trying to move on - and you should let him.

* adapted from the maxim: 'Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me'.

Dear Toni

I have a family that loves me, great friends with shared interests and lots to teach me, I'm fit and healthy and I generally enjoy my life. But some days I just feel really sorry for myself - I think I'd even call it unhappy.

When these days come, I feel really miserable. I find myself angry that I don't have a boyfriend, and sad that I'm not more clever.

The logical side of me knows this is probably tiredness or hormones, but the rest of me feels just so very unhappy. And then it passes and I'm OK again. Am I normal?

Out of balance

Dear Wobbly

We all have our down days, and they can be brought on by so many factors: the horrible weather we've had all week, someone unfairly losing their temper with us, schoolwork we just don't get, wondering why nobody fancies us or, as you so rightly say, hormones or tiredness. It's perfectly normal to feel this, so don't worry.

But if you feel this more than occasionally, or if the sadness ever gets so intense you can't get out of bed, you must talk to your parents and a doctor or counsellor. That sort of despair might mean you're depressed, and if that's the case, you do need professional help.

It can be easy to feel sorry for yourself, especially in Hong Kong where everyone leads such busy lives and everyone has such high expectations of us. But if we have our health and are loved by friends and family, we should focus on that, and on how good our lives are.

I got an e-mail from a friend the other day with a list of five simple steps to happiness. I think they deserve to be shared - I know they help me through the day when I'm feeling blue:

1 Free your heart from hatred; 2 Free your mind from worries; 3 Live simply; 4 Give more; 5 Expect less

Good luck!

Dear Toni

I'm 13 and quite short compared to my friends

Most of them are around 160cm but I'm nowhere near that, and people always tease me about my height. I drink milk every morning as my friends say it helps.

Is there another way to help me grow taller?


Oh, short stuff, how this has come back to haunt me! When I was your age, we had a full-school photo. Each school year had to line up in order of height: in my form of 175 students, I was seventh shortest. I was mortified. I didn't get taller until I was 17.

But it was more than my size: my self-confidence grew as I got older. I realised that - and yes, here comes the clich? - it didn't matter how tall I was, or whether other people had to-die-for figures. We're all made the way we are. Some of us are meant to be tall, some of us are always going to be petite. Some of us are naturally slim, others have curves or broad shoulders.

Once you accept that, you can focus on more important things like developing your personality, getting to know yourself and becoming the sort of person you'd want to be friends with.