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Monthly Archives: October 2012

I just fished these out of my inbox. Neat. Unfortunately, I will not (seriously) be checking email until after Nov. 7, so hold off on scheduling meetups until after then, or use Twitter, or semaphore.


Hello, Captain!

This is infrequent commenter / regular lurker Manuscriptgeek. Two other readers and I would like to announce an Awkward Philadelphia Meetup. We’ll meet for delicious gelato on Monday, October 29, at 7 PM, at the 13th St. Capogiro (http://capogirogelato.com/flavors.php?c=n), 119 S. 13th Street (and Sansom), Philadelphia, PA. It’s about four blocks away from Market East Station (depending on what exit you take from the station) so is easily reachable by public transit. On the other hand, parking spaces are rather harder to find.

I’m 5’2″, have brown hair and glasses, and can be reached at my pseudonymous email account rymenhild at yah00. (Without zeros, of course.) I’ll bring a beanbag Super Grover to identify the table, and whatever random nerdy group entertainment/simple craft project I can find in my basement. More entertainment ideas, and conversation cards, are always welcome. If you can get to downtown Philly, we’d love to see you. Hurrah for awkwardness!


And here’s Western Mass:

Dear Captain Awkward -

I’ve been so delighted to read of the various meet-ups of the Awkward Army that I’d like to try one in Western Massachusetts.

We are a smallish state, but the divide between Boston and here is … large. So! In Northampton, at Woodstar Cafe, on Saturday November 10, around 2:30 – I shall be inhabiting a table with a coloring book, and a sign. I hope there are some of the Awkward Army local or willing to travel. I very much look forward to an afternoon in Woodstar, regardless. The Cafe is accessible, there are many coffee things, tasty sandwiches, some salad, and a plethora of truly fabulous baked goods. If the weather is smiling upon us, we can be outside, otherwise we’ll be cozy inside.

Dancing Crow
Northampton, MA

Lee AT dancingcrowdesigns DOT com

A pug dressed in a pug costume.

Photo courtesy of DaPuglet on Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

Hello! I have a backlog of something like 300 unanswered questions in my inbox. I also have some travel, work deadlines, and life stuff that mean I will not be posting here or checking blog-related email until early November. I will try to clean out the spam filter every other day or so, but I’m not even planning to read comments all that closely. Be nice.

Someone requested an open thread to talk about the next 6 months of holidays, from Halloween roughly through Valentine’s Day, and the collection of family stuff, travel, stress, and anxiety that crops up around this time of year. Let this be that open thread. The question below is extremely related.

Hello Captain Awkward!

My question is relatively simple, I suppose.  Can you (or the CA Community) help me come up with some scripts for well-meaning friends & family who are guilt-tripping me about my Chosen Profession?

Every one always speaks very highly of Nurses as a group, but it turns out when you are one, your (or at least, my) friends and loved ones can be easily divided into two camps.  Those who Understand that This is What Being in the Medical Field Entails, and Those That Do Not.  Specifically as it pertains to my work schedule.  My job is not a 9-5 Monday to Friday position.  I do not get weekends or holidays off, because people still need medical care on those days.  I have an amazing bio family that I adore spending the holidays with, but every year I catch flak because if I’m assigned to work one of those shifts (we are REQUIRED to work AT LEAST one, in the interest of fairness to my fellow nurses) I don’t try to get someone else to cover my assigned holiday shift.  Even my close friends will make comments like “I hate your schedule, I never get to see you!” if it’s my month to work weekends.  I love my job and yes, there are parts of it that are annoying, just like every other job I’ve ever had.  But I’ve stopped venting those little annoyances to my non-nursing friends because I’m sick of hearing “You could always look for a normal job, with normal hours.  Then we’d get to see you more and you wouldn’t have to do such gross things!”

I don’t WANT another job, I love being a nurse!  I just want them to stop trying to make me feel guilty about my non-traditional schedule, and the differences in work culture that dictate if I’m scheduled to work Christmas Day, it is TACKY AS HELL to try and get someone else to work it for me.

They told me nursing was a difficult profession in school.  They just didn’t mention that Team Me might need some kind of Rosetta Stone for Nursing afterwards.

Thank you!

In feminist spaces we talk a lot about sexual coercion, but we don’t talk about the kind of smaller, social coercion that goes on all the time.

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Dear Captain Awkward,

I have decided to end my 4-year relationship with my boyfriend. Throughout the last 4 years, despite my best efforts to convince myself, I have never been truly passionate and enthusiastic about this relationship, though we’ve definitely had some good moments. He on the other hand has been extremely invested in it. I have also recently had the opportunity to work abroad for a year, and had the chance to become independent and learn about myself and what I want for my life.

This, coupled with a long distance relationship that gave me the space to think, led to the realisation that, what I always felt to be a niggling sense of something being wrong, was that this relationship is not what I am looking for. I feel bored, unstimulated emotionally and intellectually, burdened, as well as extremely guilty and feeling like I am the worst girlfriend on earth. I feel that I have outgrown this relationship.

This is the first real relationship we’ve both had, and I know that it will not go down well with him at all. In fact he will probably fight tooth and nail to keep it going. This has happened before, on a previous occasion I tried to break up on. What happens is that he tries to convince me that I am in fact wrong about why I want to break up, and the issues I raise are things that “can be solved” and “we just have to work together”. If I were to tell him that, for example, the future I envision for myself is very different from his, he would counter with, “Oh that is not a problem, I can always change myself to suit you.” or “How would you know if you have not tried?”

The last time we went through this rigmarole, his arguments got me so upset and confused that I was unable to stand my ground and became a melting puddle of strong irrational emotions. I also felt compelled to say cruel things that are not really true, such as, “No I never loved you really, I was just convincing myself I did.” in order to not give him the ammunition to counter me with. All that made me so upset and miserable I went right back to him the next day.

So, Captain and Team Awkward, I need some advice on the following fronts:

1) How do I clarify my reasons for wanting to break up to myself, so that I am able to stand my ground and not melt into a puddle of emotions when he tries to counter me with his arguments?
2) Do you have suggestions on how I can get him to stop arguing about why I am wrong and he is right and we should not break up?
3) How can I tell him that sustaining a relationship is mutual, and you cannot just force someone to “work together” with you when they want out?

Please Let Me Go

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Hey Captain Awkward…

So! I used to be BFF with this guy. I eventually ended things after it took a turn for the weird – he became incredibly demanding of my time and attention and started telling me things that, frankly, freaked me out. Our friendship ended after we took a trip together, during which I became increasingly uncomfortable with how dependent he was. I needed space, and I took it. And I guess he was pretty pissed. When I came to my hometown for the summer, he started showing up at my house, calling all the time, that kind of thing. I got a letter and several emails demanding that we ‘talk about this.’ I was freaked out and resolved to avoid him for, oh, the rest of my life.

Anyway, the rest of my life lasted… awhile. Eventually, we began talking again (I don’t really remember how this came about, but we’re from a small town so, you know… you run into people) and I thought everything was cool? We talked. He seemed to be in a better place. We were never close again, but we were friendly enough and hung out a few times without any weirdness. He remained friends with some of my friends and became quite close with a couple of them. I haven’t spoken to him in awhile, but, before recently, I would have said we were at least on friendly terms.

Cut to the present day, when I finally learn his version of what happened between us. Namely, that I threw myself at him, was
rejected, and (I guess) was too humiliated to face him again. I know some people believe his version of events. He is a skilled liar when he wants to be. Honestly, this is the second time I’ve found out way after the fact that someone lied about me and everyone took it as truth and just didn’t tell me. But at least the other time, the person said we had sex – so I could pretend it was at least a little bit flattering.

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Count Rugen from The Princess Bride looking saturnine.

We are men of action, and lies like “It just happened!” do not become us.

Dear Team Awwkard,

Ok so here it is: I’m back at university after having to take time out due to depression and a very bad reaction to meds last year. I have a feeling that the depression was in a large part due to the relationship I was in at the time where my partner had Major Depression and Other Issues which meant I spent a lot of time trying to manage his crises, get him to seek help etc and deal with the emotional abuse that he threw at me when he had an ‘episode’. That relationship ended in February and I am much happier now, breaking up with him was a bit like stopping banging my head against a wall. I made the decision that since this is my last year of university and I am going to be thinking about jobs/a career/relocating that a serious relationship isn’t something I am looking for, because I want my decisions to be focused on what I want.  My family have been wonderful and supportive throughout everything and I am happy to be back at university although I still worry about things like work habits and slipping back into how I was behaving this time last year.

Over the summer I got a job at a pub to try to pay off my overdraft and met J. J, who has a girlfriend, worked in the kitchen and as most of the staff who worked at the pub tended to socialise after work together, we became friends, then good friends. He has just started university and I went to visit him during his freshers week because we enjoy going out together and he is fun to hang out with. Well the first night he explained that him and his girlfriend had decided that they were allowed to sleep with other people that they thought might be good relationship material. Their relationship is iffy, something I see as a combination of going off to university, the two year itch and probably other factors as well although we don’t tend to discuss it very often. Long story short, we wound up getting drunk that night and having sex. Very good sex. That happened again the next night and the morning after too.

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Hi Captain Awkward,

So here’s my situation (long, apologies): I have one younger sister who I see pretty infrequently, as I live on the East Coast and she attends school in the Midwest (our hometown is also in the Midwest). We bickered quite a bit growing up and are fairly different people to this day, but as we’ve gotten older (and started living in separate homes) we’ve managed to get along better and like each other more. We talk on the phone fairly regularly (once or twice a week) and when we are in the same place we’ll do coffee, shopping, drinks, etc.

Since we see each other so infrequently (Thanksgiving, winter holidays and usually sometime during the summer) I’ve expressed to her that it would be awesome if she could come and visit me. I live in a major city with lots of free, fun things to do. Flights from our hometown aren’t super cheap, but they aren’t prohibitively expensive either. A summer or two ago I offered to chip in for a flight but we weren’t able to work it out.

I’ve been here 6 years and she’s come to visit all of one time, two years ago (pretty sure our parents purchased the ticket). This bums me out and I’ve told her so (sometimes in a relatively mature way, other times a bit passive aggressively). The main reasons for her inability to visit have boiled down to 1) finances, 2) work schedule and 3) long distance relationship.

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Dear Captain Awkward,

So, this friend is someone I’ve known for nearly a decade. We went to college together, we were roommates during and after college together, we’ve collaborated on work together, we hang out weekly, we have certain holidays we spend with each other . . . that sort of thing. We’ve had our ups and downs, but arguably our relationship with each other is the best it’s ever been.

Problem is this: friend is very unhappy about her dating life. She has never had a significant other in all the time I’ve known her and has barely gone on dates — not for lack of interest in having either, but from a seeming dearth of potential partners. This is inexplicable to me, as she’s not a bad catch in many departments and can be a very likable, funny, cool person with undeniable talent, but the fact remains that she has been unhappily single in all the time I’ve known her. And yes, “unhappily single” are her own words, not mine.

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