We’re taught it at school more than we are trigonometry and the Tudors. If someone is constantly picking on you, taking the mick or harassing you, it means they fancy the pants off you. They really, REALLY like you. Like, LIKE-like you. Right?

No. Absolutely not.

This myth has been drilled into us since the dawn of time itself, and though it may seem harmless, believing that abusive behaviour is actually a sign that someone loves you can really damage your future relationships.

But what counts as being horrible?

When someone fancies you, they treat you well. They do not:

1. Physically hurt you. Ever.

Do they flick you when they sit next to you in class? Push you over on the school field? Pull your hair? Trip you up? All for a laugh? It does not mean they fancy you.

2. Call you names.

Did you embarrass yourself one time and earn a less-than-lovely nickname? Do they not let you forget it, and insist on banging on for a laugh for their mates? It does not mean they fancy you.

3. Repeatedly annoy you when you asked them to stop.

A light bit of banter is fine – you don’t take yourself seriously and can take a joke. But after a while it gets tiresome, so you ask them to stop. They don’t. In fact, they do it more. It does not mean they fancy you.

4. Touch you, or have you touch them, without your consent.

Wolf whistling is not a compliment and nor is touching your bum without asking. The latter is, in fact, sexual assault. They might try and dare you to kiss them or might put their arm around you affectionately when really they want to try and touch your boob. Any form of sexual contact without your consent is sexual assault. It does not mean they fancy you*.

5. Steal your stuff. 

Ever walked away from your bag or phone and come back to find it missing? Yep, great joke guys. You can give it back now. If they don’t – even if they run off with your stuff and throw it in a bin for you to find – it does not mean they fancy you.

Of course, it’s still possible they DO fancy you despite all this douchebaggery – but that’s kind of irrelevant because either way, you deserve someone who actually treats you well.

Ok. Got it. So how do I know if someone does fancy me?!

Easy. They’re nice to you! For example…

1. They compliment you without being unnecessarily sexual or gross.

2. They make an effort to spend time with you.

3. They’re super interested in what you do and what you say.

4. They want to talk to you for ages and never seem to need to be anywhere else.

5. They ask you out. Politely.

6. They laugh at your (even rubbish) jokes.

7. They blush when they see you – adorable.

8. They support you when you need it.

*any other nice stuff that makes you feel warm and gushy and comfortable and confident*

That seems fair…

Yup! There’s a big difference between some jokey, flirty banter and straight up horribleness. Don’t feel like you have to play along. If the behaviour carries on when you tell them to stop, please tell someone. You’re worth more than that, you beautiful, strong, lovely angelic human.

ps. What’s that * there for?

Ah, yes. Crushes are fun but sexual assault and abuse of your consent is super serious. If you think you’ve been assaulted or are worried about someone’s behaviour towards you then there are loads of people out there you can talk to. Don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed. Talk to a teacher, your parents/guardians, your doctor, or any adult you trust. If you don’t want to talk to someone you know then you can always speak to Childline or The Mix.

@louisejonesetc

Ah, love. It’s a tricky bastard. Love means a million different things to a million different people, and sometimes it’s hard to tell if what you’re feeling is true love, intense like, a raging crush or just the first twinges of indigestion.

But sometimes, you just know. Shakespeare had his summer’s day, Jane Austen had her country dances… and we have the moment you decide to share your Netflix password. Here are some 2017 signs that you’re probably, definitely, in love.

1. You let them take the stamp for your coffee on their loyalty card.

2. You actually put your phone down when they talk to you.

3. You offer them the last slice of pizza.

4. …then they say, ‘No, you have it.’

5. You agree to see La La Land for a second time, even though musicals make you want to punch things.

6. Even Snapchat knows you’re together and puts two pink hearts next to their name.

7. You can share a tent at a festival in August for a whole four days and still be speaking to them at the end.

8. They let you practice everything you learned from Dr Pimple Popper on their chin.

9. You’ve felt a strange and overwhelming urge to give them your wifi code.

10. There are more strips of adorable photobooth pictures in your purse than actual cards or money.

11. Every meme they tag you in actually makes you laugh, not just like to be polite.

12. You have Instagram notifications turned on for them, even if they’re a six-nearly-identical-blurry-selfies-at-once person. Even then.

13. They are the very first person you WhatsApp “SNOW!!!!! ❄️☃️❄️☃️” to when it snows.

14. And sad faces to when it turns to rain three minutes later.

15. You know their exact Starbucks order, and recite it faithfully even when it’s embarrassingly long.

16. You look at them the way everyone looks at Beyoncé.

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: Getty

Ahh jealousy: the green-eyed monster – the “ulcer of the soul” according to Socrates, a philosopher, poet and all-round ancient wise guy.

The fact that Socrates was born in circa 470 BC in Athens gives you some idea of just how old and stubborn this monster is. It is universal. And when our old pal William Shakespeare first coined the phrase ‘the green-eyed monster’ in Othello, he added “it mocks the meat it feeds on” – that is: you. Ouch.

Basically, there are no winners in jealousy; nothing to be gained. The object of your envy continues to ace life/love/work/the whole shebang, while you just flail around and feel bad about yourself. 

So is there way to prevent it? Or, when that queasy green feeling hits the pit of your stomach, make it disappear? Well, one thing that’s really important to remember when it comes to envy is that you are not alone: we’ve all felt it, and lots of us have even lost friends over it. But, from the best of my experience and those whose brains I have picked, here’s my best advice for keeping the monster at bay.

Say your congrats immediately 

Celebrate with them, whatever it is you’re obsessing over. As with any task in life, the longer you leave it the harder it is. You’ll start to look bitter, then you’ll feel more bitter, fearing that people might think that you’re bitter – and so on and so on into a green hole of ill feeling and pain.

Go the extra mile

If you can bear to meet the new boyfriend/girlfriend you’re so jealous of, then do it – they might make a great mate. They might have great mates. Likewise, if a celebration’s in order, be the one to send a card, or organise a surprise party. You’ll feel good about yourself, and they’ll love you for it. You know that saying, fake it ’til you make it? It’s the same with emotions. Act like you’re thrilled for them and have no jealousy whatsoever and pretty soon you’ll start to feel that way, too.

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em… 

One of the bestselling self-help books of all time is The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. It does exactly what it says on the cover, looking at everything from time management to ambition to healthy eating habits, and gives advice on how we can do them ourselves. Look beyond the success of the person you envy to the habits they have instead – and steal those habits. Maybe they’re early risers. Maybe they keep a to-do list. Look, listen and copy. Success rarely happens by chance. 

…or don’t join em. At all. 

Climb your own mountain! Whatever the object of your envy is doing – be it a sport, an instrument or an essay title – do something else. If it’s their wardrobe you’re loving so much, find your own style instead; open your eyes to other potential crushes; play a new tune. You won’t have time to worry about their victories if you’re working towards your ones, and your friendship will be stronger for it. Not everyone can be Serena and Venus Williams, so quit trying. 

Count your achievements

Actually don’t just count them – write them down, and reflect on each one. Yep, this is a bit immodest, but hey – no one’s looking, and the main source of jealousy is insecurity about your own worth. As any genuine interview with any celebrity will ever tell you, we all feel insecure now and again. If quietly listing your own successes is a way to fight that, then go for it: it’s only arrogance if you go trumpeting that list in people’s faces. Look at the list every morning until the envy is gone – and if you need to, listen to I Am What I Am while you do it and channel the fierceness of a five drag queens.

There you go. Better now?

@finney_clare 

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

We know there are loads of reasons why you might feel a little stressed. Whether you forgot your maths homework, your period started and made you feel really grumpy or you’ve woken up with a bunch of spots and have a party to go to at the weekend. Or all of them. At the same time. Sigh.

There’s that saying your nan comes out with sometimes: “When it rains, it pours.” Really does seem to be true sometimes, doesn’t it? And often that feeling that there’s just so much going on can make the best of us feel stressed out. Some people get snappy, some find their chest feels a bit tight and it’s difficult to breathe properly and others just feel really, really sad.

Well, unfortunately we can’t do your homework for you, stop your period from showing up or magically make your pimples disappear (we really wish we could too). But what we can do is share some of our top tips for dealing with things a little better when life gets OTT.

And it all starts with a technique called mindfulness.

You might have heard the word before, when people talk about meditating. But don’t worry. You don’t have to get out incense and a yoga mat and start chanting. There are way more doable (and not to mention way more fun) ways to help you chill the hell out.

What mindfulness means, simply, is that you pay close attention to what’s going on. Whether that’s thoughts, sounds or just what you’re doing. Sounds simple, right? Here are five ways to use mindfulness as a secret superpower to combat your stress:

1. Breathe. More. And deeply.

Sure, it sounds like silly advice to breathe more. Everyone breathes, right? But often when you’re feeling sad or like you have too much on your mind, you tend to either breathe too quickly or even hold your breath. You know what this does? It causes your body to freak out. It thinks something bad is happening and makes you feel light-headed, your palms sweat and everything feels way less manageable.

But we all have control over our breath. Even when it feels like we don’t.

A good place to start is breathing in for five seconds. Holding your breath for three seconds. Then breathing out for five seconds. It sounds so simple. But just by counting your breath you’re shifting focus from feeling sad to breathing deeply, so your body doesn’t go into panic mode. Let’s call it the 5-3-5 trick.

2. Get back to nature (or whatever’s outside)

You probably already know that taking a walk outside when you’re feeling stressed can help you. It takes you out of whatever irritating situation you’re in and gets you moving. But next time you go for a walk, really pay attention to what’s around you, as well as how your feet feel.

Yep, that sounds funny but if you can notice ten things about your walk and name them, like ‘rusty red leaves’ or ‘black cat’ you’ll find yourself focusing on that and not feeling as stressed. We’ll call this one… walking for 10. For 10 minutes. Finding 10 things. We bet that’ll be all it takes for you to get your thinking back on track.

3. Think with your feet

The same goes for how your feet feel. Ever thought about how your feet feel when you walk? [Bear with us…] Feeling the way they touch the ground. Paying attention to the heaviness of your feet and even counting your steps is a great practice in mindfulness too. Taking you out of your own head and doing something else with that awesome little brain of yours, rather than worry. Feel those heavy feet. Really, f e e l them.

4. Do something really, really slowly

You don’t need to space out to relax. Or to take a walk. Or even to breathe (although we recommend you always do keep breathing, please). You can just get on with your normal daily routine, but pick one or two things to really focus on.

Whether you’re making tea or eating a chocolate button, next time you do it don’t just do it automatically or in a daze. Take a deep breath and do it slowly. If you’re making tea, watch the water pour out carefully. Count how long it takes to pour it. If you’re holding a chocolate button, feel it in your hand first and even smell it. Try and notice ten things about what you’re doing instead of letting your mind race. Do things slow. Reeeeal slow.

5. Listen to your favourite song

Music can have such a powerful affect on us all. A jolly track can send us into a happy, bouncy state. But a sad song can make us feel a bit mopey and weepy. Whatever music you choose to listen to, we recommend being really mindful about it.

Put your favourite song on and pay attention to it. Simple. Think you already pay attention to it? Think again. Notice all of the lyrics, the beats, the rhythm, the different instruments. Imagine you’re in a music class and you need to pull out all of the different bits of the song. It’ll keep your mind nice and focused. Pull that song apart. 

Dance to it, if you fancy. Stress? What stress?

@BeccaCaddy

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: Getty

Change is good. Change is natural. Change is a part of life.

Even Taylor Swift wrote a song about change.

Fine, it’s possible she’s not singing about changing your tampon, but someone really should. Without being able to see what’s going on or feel what’s happening, it can be hard to know exactly when you need to change it.

So here are some guidelines to help you learn the ropes (or strings).

How long are we going to be hanging out for?

Generally you should change your tampon every 4-8 hours. Even if you forget everything else in this article, remember the golden rule for tampons:

THOU SHALT NOT LEAVE A TAMPON IN FOR MORE THAN EIGHT HOURS.

If you leave it in for any longer than that, you could put yourself at risk of developing Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS), so always keep an eye on the time.

TL;DR? Here's the important stuff:
  • Never leave a tampon in for more than eight hours.Your tampon should be easy to remove. If it feels dry or ‘stuck’ it probably means it hasn’t been in for long enough or you need a lower absorbency.If you go to the loo and find that the tampon string is wet with menstrual fluid, you’re definitely ready for a change. If this happens a lot, try a higher absorbency tampon

Your tampon should be easy to remove. If it feels dry or ‘stuck’ it probably means it hasn’t been in for long enough and you can wait a bit longer before removing it. If you find that you’ve had it in for eight hours and this is still happening, you might want to try a lower absorbency tampon – particularly towards the end of your period when things tend to lighten up.

However, if you go to the loo and find that the tampon string is wet with delightful menstrual fluid, you’re definitely ready for a change. If you find that this keeps happening after only having your tampon in for a few hours, you might want to try a higher absorbency tampon.

Um… why am I leaking?

There are a few reasons you might still be experiencing leakage, even with a tampon in. Your tampon may have absorbed as much fluid as it can and is unable to carry any more menstrual blood. If this is happening frequently, you might want to try a more absorbent tampon.

Another option is that you haven’t inserted your tampon quite right. The technique can be tricky to get right when you first start using tampons (and on the odd occasion later in life too, tbh) – but don’t worry, you’ll be a pro in no time. Generally, if a tampon is inserted correctly, you shouldn’t be able to feel it. If you feel any discomfort, it’s possible the angles are a bit wrong, so pull it out gently and insert a new tampon. Voila!

Everyone’s vagina is a different size and shape, so it’s possible that tampons won’t be able to absorb 100% of your period. If this is the case, you might want to wear a pantyliner as well, in order to save your knickers from pesky stains.

Basically, there is one golden rule when it comes to tampons. Repeat after us:

THOU SHALT NOT LEAVE A TAMPON IN FOR MORE THAN EIGHT HOURS.

It’s like T.Swift says:

(At least three times).

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Picture the scene. You’ve woken up, looked in the mirror, and suddenly there’s a whole other head on your head. A power pimple. A zit that won’t quit.

In a perfect world, you would take a deep, calming breath and leave it alone to do its thing. “You be you, little spot!” you might say, then go off to keep those twitching fingers busy by doing something wholesome – your homework, maybe, or learning the clarinet. You would tell yourself what we all know: that squeezing a spot can just make it worse, and that you risk transferring bacteria from your fingers to your face every time you go in for a pop or a pick. In a perfect world, you would leave. It. Alone.

But this isn’t a perfect world, and in this world you’re obviously going to want to squeeze that spot silly.

So what are the rules? How can you tell if a pimple is ripe for the popping, or if you’re going to end up with a nasty old scar? When should you probably not squeeze and when should you definitely absolutely 100% not squeeze, for fear of going to school with a scab on your forehead so big that your teacher will stop in the middle of the register to ask if you’ve been in an accident*?

*True story.

Here are your golden rules.

Rule 1: colour

Look at the spot. Look harder. Can you see a light, yellowish head in the centre, or is the whole thing red and angry? If it’s the latter, fingers off. Red means inflammation, and inflammation means that your poor spot is grumpy enough without someone jabbing at it. Let it brew for a while longer – if it’s a seriously deep cyst, it might go away without ever becoming squeezable.

‘Whiteheads’, however, are the happiest poppers of the bunch, especially once the yellow or white patch is larger than the redness round the edge. They don’t make teeny tiny rulers to measure this though, so you’ll just have to judge it by eye. 

Rule 2: texture

If your spot looks stretched and shiny, like Bruce Willis’ head, then it probably isn’t ready for squeezing yet. Ideally you’re looking for a proper bulge, as though it might just burst of its own accord. And we know, we know – waiting for this stage takes the patience of a saint, not to mention walking round with a blossoming zit on your face. But as a wise person once said, good things come to those who wait. And squeezing that bad boy is going to be so good. 

Rule 3: equipment

You might think that fingers are the best (and only) tools for the job – after all, if we weren’t supposed to squeeze spots then why did we even evolve to have fingers? But your fingers have plenty of other jobs to keep them occupied and gather germs, whereas there are actually helpful implements designed just for pimple-popping, like this blackhead remover (£4) from The Body Shop. And if you’re sticking with the tools nature gave you, always wash your hands and/or wrap tissue round your fingers before going in. You’re not an animal.

Rule 4: method

Sure, you’re excited. And also you want to get it over with quick in case somebody walks into the loo, or the spot police leap out and arrest you. But before you and your eager digits leap right in there, stop to think about technique.

Be gentle and press down either side of the spot’s centre – down, not inwards – because this motion is best for forcing the pus up, up and away. Another reminder: be gentle. If it doesn’t swiftly erupt like a party popper then STEP AWAY. Occupy your hands. Go find a puppy to stroke. Play MarioKart. Knit a scarf.

Rule 5: aftercare

You might think your job is done and you and your newly hollow pore can skip off into the sunset, but nope – there’s homework. Firstly, stop squeezing as soon as all the white is out. DO NOT be tempted to keep digging for gold. Like that time you ruined your Dad’s prize begonias looking for pirate treasure as a kid, you won’t strike gold but you will end up with a big ol’ mess.

Secondly, once your session has finished, dab a little toner or antibacterial gel on the area (it might sting, brace yourself) and then smooth a bit of Vaseline, Sudocrem or another soothing balm or cream over it to help the healing process. Then, and only then, can you sit back and relive the memories of that glorious squeeze. Mmm.

Mmm.

If spots or acne are making life hard, get the full lowdown from the NHS here.

I always felt like a bit of a chameleon when I was growing up.

I had lots of different groups of friends and I felt really happy moving between them. I could be arty and into speaking about paints and new projects with one group. I could talk about music and boys and shopping and clothes with another. I could talk about dyeing my hair and getting a nose piercing and listening to lots of loud music with some others. And my friends who loved poetry and losing themselves in the library made me feel calm when the whirlwind of first crushes, so much homework and a changing body made me feel quite scared.

But when we hit 14 things began to change. It didn’t seem so easy to move from one group to another. I was listening to rock music and wanted to wear baggy clothes, but one group called me names. I decided I really wanted to fit in, so I dressed more like them. I listened to the music they listened to. And I spent a lot of time talking about boys, parties and clothes. I wasn’t part of lots of groups anymore. I was part of one.

At first, it felt good to be part of one group. We were all very close, they invited me everywhere and we did everything together. I didn’t speak to my other friends much anymore.

But soon I realised that I didn’t really fit into this group as much as I thought I did. I was hiding the music I listened to at home. I was getting all my homework done when they weren’t. I still wanted to audition for the school play and they wanted to go sit in the park on a night instead.

One day they told me I couldn’t come to lunch with them anymore. “…Why?” I asked, assuming it was some kind of joke. “Because if you love homework so much, you have all of ours to do as well,” one of them answered.

So, I did. I sat all lunch time doing six different sets of history homework. I didn’t have my other groups of friends. I didn’t have this group anymore. And I’d never felt so alone.

That weekend they invited me to a house party. I’d never been to a house party before. I felt scared, but also excited. And happy that they’d invited me to something. Maybe I wouldn’t have to do their homework for them again?

I arrived at the party and met my friends outside. They didn’t seem to want me there, but I followed them in anyway. We sat in the front room of the house, loads of boys that were much older than us sat around us. I felt really uncomfortable. Suddenly my friends got up and ran out. “You stay here,” they said. I waited a few minutes and then decided I just had to get out of there. I tried to move and knocked a lamp over. Everyone in the room laughed.

I ran outside to see my friends talking to a bunch of older boys. They were all smoking. “Oh here she is, Little Miss Geek,” one of them said. “Little Miss Goody Two Shoes Goth!” said the other. I looked at them both and turned away to walk back home. I felt sad. I felt lonely.

But I also felt free.

The next day, I went to audition for the latest school play. I thought I might have missed the last chance, but my favourite drama teacher let me give it a go. A lot of my old friends were there and I felt shy around them. Luckily, they invited me over when they could see I was on my own. We all auditioned and I felt happy to stand on stage. To speak loudly. To do something I loved and to see people who didn’t need me to be someone I wasn’t.

Over the next few weeks I spent a lot of time with the drama group. We all got brilliant parts in the play. We all bonded over old, sticky stage makeup and big, billowing costumes and dancing about behind-the-scenes before rehearsals. I didn’t feel scared about being part of a group this time, because I knew this group appreciated a big bit of me.

And I never had to do anyone else’s homework ever again.

@BeccaCaddy

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: Hailey Hamilton

Guys, we have to get something off our chests.

Yep, we’re talkin’ about boobs.

CoppaFeel has launched its brilliant #GetItoffYourChest campaign, to educate young women and men about the signs and symptoms of breast cancer. Which, despite what many people believe, doesn’t always mean a lump. Leaky nip? Weird rash? Puckered skin? It’s probably NBD, but it’s a good idea to pop into your GP and have a chat just to check everything is A-ok.

Featuring Fearne Cotton, Fleur De Force, Tom and Giovanna Fletcher, Nick Grimshaw and a parade of other famouses, the video explains why it’s important to really get to know your chesticles. Make friends, take them out for milkshakes, write them a haiku.

That way, if anything ever goes tits-up, you’ll be the first to know.

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome.