*Please e-mail me with any personal problems you would like addressed in this column. All entries will remain anonymous.

I have a problem. I have a huge crush on this girl. I'm afraid that she won't like me or will say something negative. Even if I talk to her, I worry that I'll get nervous and do something stupid. I also think that she might like another boy better, but I might be wrong. Even so, I would just like to be friends with her, talk to her, go out on weekends, etc. I don't have the courage. People know me for my shy personality, and I think it will be hard for people to see the other me.

Dear Kind Soul-

It's certainly frustrating when you like someone but don't feel that you have the courage to approach him or her. Although you probably won't believe me, I know that deep down you have the courage to approach her; it's just a matter of taking baby steps. I'm not sure if you see your crush at school or at work or in the community, but wherever it is, I would first make a deal with yourself that you'll just say "hi" to her when you next see her. Nothing else is required; just a simple "hi" or "hey" (with a smile!). When you become comfortable with doing that, I would move up to asking her a simple question like "How are you?" or "What's up?" When you become comfortable with that, you can start asking her a few more questions. Unless she is a completely rude person, she will probably respond to your questions and engage in conversation. Even if she has a boyfriend, she can still talk to you and be your friend. If you get the sense from her body language and tone that she doesn't want to talk to you, please do not take it personally. In that case, it's her issue, and she's missing out on having a friend like you! One thing to remember: us humans tend to catastrophize a situation (e.g. we think we will do or say something stupid when talking to others). We tend to think of the worst possible outcome. Here's the thing: rarely do situations turn out as poorly as we think they will. Our minds love to play tricks on us. In all situations, we need to be our own best cheerleader and literally tell ourselves that "We got this!" In regard to your last statement that you think it will be hard for people to see the other you, I have two thoughts: (1.) people are so caught up in their own lives that they hardly focus on another person's changes and (2.) even if they did notice that you were more outgoing, I don't know why it would be hard for them? In fact, I think that they would be happy for you. :) I wish you the best; you got this!

Breathe and relax,