About these ads


Monthly Archives: December 2012

Greetings! I have a question about Team You. Mainly, how does obtain such a wondrous thing?

I am in a situation where I am the primary caretaker for an elderly parent with serious health issues. She requires a great deal of time and energy- mental more than physical.

The rest of my family is basically useless. They have straight up said that she is ‘mine’ to handle. They don’t call when she’s in the hospital, etc., etc. I’ve basically written them off as horrible people and being around them stresses me out. I’m pressured to ‘keep the peace’ and not tell them off for basically abandoning dear old mom (while still claiming they love her ever so much.)

I’m naturally introverted with a strong need for ‘me’ time (that often goes unfilled because of my mom.) My one very good friend just moved to another state and neither of us is good about talking online.

So basically I am without without Team Me. There’s just- me. I don’t have time to join any kind of social group. I’m really mostly okay with being alone (I’m not lonely by any means.) I’d just like someone who would pop by once in awhile and drag me out to a movie. Someone’s whose company would break up the cycle of ‘take mom to this doctor’ then ‘to this other doctor’ then ‘argue with mom about what the doctors actually said.’

I was also laid off earlier this year. I worked mainly from home (because of mom), but it did help break things up a bit when I had to go into the office two or three times a week. I don’t know how I’m ever find a job that allows me that much leeway again (they were SUPER good about letting me control my schedule.) So I’m frustrated and frightened that I’m using up my savings and again could really use a Team Me pressure valve.

So how does one put together Team Me when you’re starting absolutely from scratch?

As a bonus question, I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to tell off my siblings at mom’s eventual funeral. I even have the eulogy all planned out. It won’t be a big scene, just a little stinger at the end about having no regrets but that they should. It isn’t worth the upset to her confronting them while she’s alive. But once she’s gone- it’s mean and nasty and bitter, but I really want to get that jab in before cutting off all relations. Or maybe write them a letter expressing my anger. Would that come under closure, or just cruelty for the sake of it?

Wow. Taking care of an ailing loved one with no support from the rest of your family, no local friend-network to hang out with for relief, and not even the outlet of working outside the home to give you a change of scenery and company – I don’t care how introverted and emotionally self-sufficient you are by nature, that’s tough. Yes, you do need to beef up Team You!

The first person I think you need to get more squarely on Team You is you, though. Yes, I know you’re trying! But your mother only has so much time left in this world, and she is miserable, or in pain, or scared, or all of the above, so I’m guessing it feels selfish to rank anything you might want or need above anything she might want or need. Which would explain why you feel you “can’t” take time to yourself or join any kind of social group. Even though she actually would be ok for the couple of hours you were gone. Even if taking it would make the difference between miserable vs ok for you, and no discernible difference for her.

Read More

About these ads

Dear Captain Awkward:

How do you give closure to someone you barely know? IOW, worm can opened, now what?

A few years ago I got to know a woman over a few hours of casual recreational activities. We clicked at first, and discovered through our sharing that we both had experienced several important life milestones, such as ana/bulimia and languishing artistic careers.

Problem is, the more I got to know her the less I liked her, and although we had not negotiated a friendship or even had a tacit relationship of any kind, she began to reach out to me in emotionally-charged ways that made me uncomfortable. 

So I dropped her. Just stopped returning her calls.

Not something I felt good about then or now, but something that I felt was the easiest and healthiest thing for me at the time. 

However, I saw her on the street recently and she had a very strong body/face reaction to seeing me, which is bringing up my guilt for just fading away. Now she wants to get together and talk about it.

Full disclosure: The main reason I just dropped her without saying anything was because, among other things she had started calling me at odd hours saying things like, “I just broke up with XX friend – I told him/her that s/he was unhealthy for me, I was unhappy and I never wanted any more contact. TELL ME I DID THE RIGHT THING. Just say it. Tell me I did the right thing, SAY IT.” It felt both creepy and unbearably ironic to do to her what she’d just done with like 4 people in her own life over the course of a month. 

It was a big breakthrough for me to realise that I could start out liking someone and after a few meetings change my mind, and that just because I was the one choosing not to continue, it didn’t mean that I had to make everything OK for both of us.

But now that I’ve seen how deeply she’s still affected by this years later, I feel like the right thing to do would be to give her closure.

Any suggestions?

This is a truly awkward situation.

Read More

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

About 55,000 tourists visit Liechtenstein every year. This blog was viewed about 4,800,000 times in 2012. If it were Liechtenstein, it would take about 87 years for that many people to see it. Your blog had more visits than a small country in Europe!

Click here to see the complete report.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by in 2012!

Do not go to anyone who works from a booth. (Photo by Kevin Dooley; click for Flickr original.)

Do not go to anyone who works from a booth. (Photo by Kevin Dooley; click for Flickr original.)

Hello Captain Awkward and Awkward Army,

I have been in and out of therapy off and on for the last decade or so. I don’t want to give my entire life history, but I will summarize by saying that I have clinical depression, and have anxiety that hasn’t been formally diagnosed yet but which has been plaguing me for years now, and my siblings and I were raised in a one mostly normal parent and one parent with unacknowledged Borderline Personality Disorder household.

In the past, I’ve had some relatively good-for-me therapists, and some less-good-for-me therapists. I am trying to figure out what makes a good therapist overall, and how to tell sooner than several sessions in whether or not they will work well with me. My mostly normal parent has agreed to help me pay for said therapy for the foreseeable future, so I don’t necessarily have to stick with whoever my (crappy) insurance will allow. I’m VERY good at subconsciously and consciously steering away from uncomfortable topics, so a big important thing for me in therapy is a therapist who will help me not get off track, and who will ask me questions.

Read More


Doug wins at relationships.

Hi Captain and Awkwardeers! I have a problem that may or may not be an actual problem and is probably easy to solve, but asking friends for answers gave me nothing but contradictory answers, so I thought maybe you could help.

I’m young (in college) and just started dating one of my friends. It’s great. I’ve known him for a long time, we share interests, we’re comfortable together, butterflies are in full effect, et cetera. The only problem is, I have no idea what I’m doing! I’ve never dated anyone before (I’m twenty-one) I don’t really have any girlfriends I could ask/am not comfortable asking my mom, so I’m essentially fumbling my way through the dark without a flashlight or roadmap. When do you move in for a kiss? What are the milestones? What does and doesn’t constitute PDA? What about gift-giving, is there ettiquette for that? Will our shared group of friends be uncomfortable about our dating? How do I get over feeling shy about asking him this stuff? How SHOULD I feel about this guy, anyway? I have experience with crushes, but not with what a mutual adult relationship actually feels like. The cumulative effect of all this is that whi le I really enjoy spending time with him, I spend the time we’re NOT together panicking about what I might be doing right or wrong. Is there any kind of Relationships for Dummies guide for people like me?


Confused in Canada Read More

Hey Captain!

My question is on the ‘he’s not that into you’ theme, and in particular about how to respond appropriately.

I recently decided to try to reconnect with an old friend. We used to be flirty and have some pants and head feelings for each other, but I wasn’t ready for a relationship so nothing ever happened. As far as I know there was no animosity, but inevitably we lost touch, saw other people, blah, blah, blah. Several years on I thought it would be nice to see how he was doing and dropped him an email. Our few brief initial exchanges were very light-hearted and friendly – smileys and everything – and he suggested meeting to catch up. However, his emails about arranging a date suddenly became very abrupt and infrequent and lost any markers of enthusiasm. Going by your awesome maxim that people that are into you (both friends and dates) are easy to arrange things with, I figure he’s changed his mind and doesn’t want to meet up after all. No biggie – I’m happy to leave him be! And yet he’s still going through the motions of trying to arrange it, thus leaving an y actual decisions and responsibility about whether or not we do meet up firmly in my court.

Now if he does want to meet then I think it would be nice to catch up, but I certainly don’t want to sit through an awkward evening of small talk with someone who doesn’t want to be there but can’t admit it. 

Is there a script I can use to ask him to use his words? Or even to bow out gracefully without looking like a trifler? Is ‘Actually, you don’t sound like you want to meet up’ too weird or pressurizing of an email to receive from someone you barely know any more?

Thank you!

Read More

A woolly mammoth frozen in ice.

Sometimes the elephant in the room is really cold.

Dear Captain Awkward:

I was hoping for some advice on dealing with my sister-in-law. Who hates me.

She’s a bit rude/rough around the edges most of the time, to most people, that I’ve seen – but she is really not a fan of mine. She doesn’t return simple greetings “Hi, SIL, how are you?” and looks right through me if I happen to be in the same room as her.

I don’t want to sound like I’m All That, but I get along well with the rest of the family – lots of cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. – this is all her. Other family members have noticed and mentioned (to me) her chilliness toward me over the 10+ years we’ve known each other.

I have no idea if it was something I said or did – and if it was I’m sure I would apologize for it! She’s never said. She and her brother (my husband) aren’t close at all, it could be auto-antipathy because they don’t get along? I don’t know.

And – here’s the awkward part? Although we have a lot in common, and it would be nice if we could be friendly, I have no real interest in talking to her, or in overcoming the barriers, tearing down the wall, or whatever. 

I’d really just like some ideas for coping strategies for being flat-out ignored when I’m sitting there making conversation or having dinner with a group of people, one of whom refuses to acknowledge my existence on the planet, let alone in the room.

Any thoughts on how to deal with her as the future aunt of any possible spawn would be great, too.

Thanks so much,
The Silent Treatment Makes Me Uncomfortable

Read More

Pumpkin & Lemon Chess pie slices on a plate.

Photo by AlyssssylA on Flickr, used courtesy of a Creative Commons license. (Recipes at link!)

Good morning. I hope everyone had a nice December 25th. I spent the day playing computer games and hanging out with the Gentleman Caller, trying to shake this disgusting sinus infection that’s laid me low for the past two weeks. A phlegm haiku to start your day off right:

lung-butter sculptures

land in the porcelain bowl

morning-time splendor

I’d love to hear from people about their holidays so far. Any awkward encounters? Tales of boundary enforcement/subject changes/shutting down of bullies? Really thoughtful or really unthoughtful gifts? Highs, lows, mehs? See any good movies this week? Thoughts on the Dr. Who Christmas special?*

Ooh, also, check out this piece by Sady at Rookie: Fight Like A Girl, recommended by awesome blog reader Megan M. So much great stuff in here about how being direct and using your words is better than suffering in silence or becoming passive-aggressive.

Read More

Agnes in Tokyo would like to eat pastries with you:

Hello Awkwardeers! The Captain says she has a few readers in Japan, so I thought that now I’m a little settled into my English-teaching job I’d see if we can do a meetup in Tokyo.
I want to meet at Gontran Cherrier, home of the best pastries of all time (OF ALL TIME), on Wednesday January 2nd, 2013- can you believe how much we’re living in the future these days?- starting at noon. I can promise I’ll stay for at least an hour if you can only show up late, but I’ll probably stay there longer.

Gontran Cherrier is at 1-14-11 Shibuya, Shibuya-Ku, Tokyo. If you take the Hachiko exit from Shibuya station and turn right on the street, it will be catty-corner to you at the next intersection. There’s a BIC Camera across the street on one side and a Resona Bank on the other. Gontran Cherrier is about as accessible as the rest of Tokyo, which is to say, not particularly as far as I’ve noticed.

How will you know I’m me? Well, other than the facetious answer that I’ll be THE gaijin, I’ll have a red coat with me and I’ll be wearing a feather-and-button barrette. My name is Agnes. I’ll try to get a seat in the back of the first floor, facing out.

I hope to see some of you fabulous Awkwardudes and Awkwardettes there!

So cool! I hope it’s a great time.

Dear Captain Awkward:

Last year, I got divorced. At the time of my divorce, I was offered the legal choice to go back to my maiden name, or to keep my married name. I decided to choose a whole new last name, which was something I had always wanted to do. My new last name is a bit unusual. People comment on it positively, but it’s definitely odd. I like it, so that’s all that matters really. However:

This year, I’m in graduate school. I’m also applying for jobs in my chosen field. I have some previous experience in that field, in addition to my in-progress degree, so I’m hoping to find a position that will give me more current experience. 

My previous experience is from five years ago or earlier, and the jobs I’ve held in the interim have been phantom jobs — there’s almost no point in including them on a resume for the positions I’m seeking now. Consequently, the professional references I need to put on my resume are also five years old, although I’ve been in minimal contact with most of the people from time to time, but they’re not people I felt I had to update on my life developments such as divorce or a new last name.

Now we get to the awkward. Practically speaking, if any potential employer contacts my references, they are going to refer to me by name. What is the best, most adult and professional way to tell these people from my past, who only knew me in a work context, that my new last name is [X]? How much information do I give them? Do I need to include mention of the divorce, or just a legal name change? 

I’m a pretty private person, and not naturally forthcoming with personal information. The thought of writing to these former employers and explaining my recent life changes makes my introvert skin crawl with misery. What do I do? 

Congratulations on your new name!

This is very easy to answer, because if you are using someone as a reference, it is polite to get in touch with them first even if you hadn’t changed your name. Script for an email:

Read More


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,926 other followers