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I write screenplays and direct movies.  I read advice columns.

Advice columns are full of conflict.

Good screenplays are full of conflict.

People who write to advice columnists are usually looking for help in having a difficult conversation.   Most advice-column advice comes down to “Have you tried telling that person what you just told me?”

Movie characters are all direct and brave and articulate the way that we almost never get to be in real life. They get to have those difficult conversations and make them sound awesome.   That’s not because screenwriters are life experts.  We are not.  You should probably not be taking life advice from a woman whose plan for paying back $100K in grad school debt is “be an indie filmmaker.”

I can’t tell you what to do.  But I can try to tell you what to say, or lend you some courage in saying it.

If you have a question, submit it here. I will give you honest answers and try to make you sound awesome.

It's a drawing of Captain Awkward wearing a crown! Made by a friend of the blog who wishes to remain anonymous.

An awesome friend/blog reader made me a thing.

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101 comments
  1. And but so I do not even remember how I found your fine embloggenation because I have been too busy reading and enjoying it to give somebody credit, sorry, but thank you (and mystery source of finding your blog, whoever that may be)! Keep up the fantabulousness!

  2. 50+and still learning said:

    I had to share that reading your archives, including the amazing comments, has been the best way to spend two days home sick in bed. Your advice is thoughtful, sensible, truthful and respectful. I’m a 50 something woman, and I’m learning so much from you and your readers. This blog is a wonderful use of the Interwebs. Thank you!

    • ….50+… I think I’m coming down with something– yay!!

  3. smartalek1 said:

    Kudos, props (mad ones, even), and all that.
    Very kewl.
    (found my way here from a link in a comment on a thread at pandagon, if that’s interesting or useful to you)
    SHOCKED to see an indication on this page suggesting (cannot really be right, can it?) that the site has, as yet, no “likes” on facebook. Briefly considered finally breaking down and joining fb just so I could confer one. Apologies — I can’t so quickly break my vow never to give in to that particular potential addiction.
    But I wish you every success with this, and your other endeavors.
    Cheers,
    smartalek

    • JenniferP said:

      We have a mutual admiration society.

      • klix said:

        Right. The two blogs I read :)

        • NessieMonster said:

          I don’t know which one I started reading first, or how I got here, but both the Capt’ and Cliff rock the awesomesauce.

  4. banananadackry said:

    Dear Cap’n,

    Now that you have over 300 questions, it’s getting hard to find things. Would you consider making an index of posts? Just a simple list of titles would be a help, though title plus tags would be even awesomer.

    Thank you
    B.Dackry

    • JenniferP said:

      I’ll be honest, I do not know when or if I will ever get around to this. Categories + archives + search bar are going to be it for a while, unless some volunteer wants to take this on or someone knows a WordPress widget that does this easily.

  5. alphakitty said:

    I think it’d be awesome, but I’m not sure why the task should be dumped on Captain Awkward (who seems to have an absurdly full plate herself), when “many hands make light work” and all that, and surely there are 21 of us in the Awkward community who would pitch in?

    So anyway, I did January 2011 — grab a month!

    January 2011
    Live Advice from a Screenwriter?
    How to say STFU when the FU is silent
    All that crying is killing my boner
    Midwestern Manners: “I cannot eat the last cookie unless I offer it to you first.”
    The power of vulnerability
    First reader question: Friends with Money
    This week’s Dear Prudence – “My boyfriend is pressuring me to have sex I don’t like.”
    The State Religion is Constant Self-Improvement
    #2: Asking for vacation time from the boss who won’t plan ahead
    #3: A shy guy caught my eye
    #4: My friend is dating someone terrible, or, Secrets of the Darth Vader Boyfriend
    #5: How do I deal with a clingy friend who tries to make over my life? (The African Violet of Broken Friendship)
    #6: I’m worried about my sister. She is still very close to our abusive parents.
    #7: “Thanks for trying to build bridges for me where you work! I think I will set them on fire.”
    #8, #9, #10, and #11: Short Answer Friday. (Includes Runaway Bride?, Strangely Avoidant Boss)
    #12: How do I deal with my boyfriend’s ex-from-hell?
    The King is Dead. Open Thread
    #13: Don’t Stand So Close To Me
    Links!
    The Year of Living Awkwardly
    #14: Spiritual abuse, maybe. How is a church like a high school Dungeons & Dragons game?

    • JenniferP said:

      Thanks a million.

  6. alphakitty said:
  7. alphakitty said:
  8. sometimeswhy said:
    • JenniferP said:

      Much appreciated!

  9. sometimeswhy said:
  10. caryatid said:

    thank you alphakitty, for keeping me from getting anything done today :)

  11. I have been inspired by alphakitty’s shining example to begin putting together an Awkward Lexicon. Suggestions on what to include would be most welcome. So far, in no particular order, I’ve got:

    African Violet
    Evil bees
    Darth Vader
    Firthing
    Ill-fitting pants/pants of joy
    Missing stair

    And I know I’m forgetting a kajillion things. What else do y’all think should go in there?

      • True — everyone knows they’re socially unacceptable, but not everyone realizes that they’re not really a price of admission.

        I also thought I might throw in a few off-site things. Schrodinger’s Rapist and The Terrible Bargain were the two that came to mind.

    • alphakitty said:

      Firthing

      • alphakitty said:

        Oops. You had that. How about FEELINGSmail, FEELINGSart, and now the wonderful FEELINGS-ectomy!

        • sometimeswhy said:

          I was just thinking about FEELINGSPEE. It was recent so time will tell but I do think it (with or without the associated FEELINGSCOFFEE) will probably turn into a commonly-used expression.

    • atma said:

      Rageasaurus!
      Jedi hugs

  12. alphakitty said:
  13. alphakitty said:
    • I can’t figure out how to reply to the ‘I want to eat lunch by myself’ post itself (maybe you can’t after a certain amount of time has passed?) anyways reading that post reminded me of this comic I saw (the women in my ex’s family are absolutely convinced that Being An Introvert Is Wrong and Unhealthy and Rude, and back when I was with him at one point he sent me this link half in sympathy)

      http://www.savagechickens.com/2009/06/extravert-introvert.html

      • JenniferP said:

        Comments are closed after 30 days, because there cannot be 440 active conversation threads at one time. Nice comic!

  14. sometimeswhy said:

    August 2011

    #83: Do we have to do everything with my boyfriend’s friend?
    #84: Sailor with a Past
    #85: You can just stop being friends with people who annoy the shit out of you. Seriously. Really. Truly.
    #86: Tips for dating brilliant badass women?
    #87: How do I talk about a molesting grandparent?
    #88: Strategies for dealing with an unwanted houseguest.
    #89: Jewishness and Language
    #90: The Sexy Thesaurus
    #91: Moving vs. Staying. Instructions for finding Your People and Your Place.
    #92: I get sucked into conversations with men that I don’t want to talk to, and then give them fake numbers. How do I stop?
    #93: I want to move away. My boyfriend is holding me back. What do I do?
    #94: How do I get my ex-friend to get her #$%! stuff out of my house and out of my life?
    #95: How do I get face-time with my boss so I can get the transfer and promotion I want?
    #96: My boyfriend’s former crush is moving away, and he won’t shut up about it.
    #97: Bizarre Love Polygon
    Saturday Links
    #98 (Defining Feminism) + Guest-blogging at Feministe + Admin
    #99: How do I stop letting my terrible self-esteem sabotage my relationships?
    #100: The Case of the Mocked Meows
    #101: Guest post: “My attractive married friend is unloading on me about the state of her troubled marriage. Maybe I will sleep with her?”
    #102: Can I ask my horrible mean houseguest to GTFO already?”
    #103: I have forbidden internet knowledge about my boyfriend’s past and what I think are his “real” feelings.
    #104: His wife died. Does that mean I have to be his constant comforter?
    #105: “I would like to be GGG for my new chap, but we’re taking it reallllllllllly slow.”

  15. sometimeswhy said:
  16. sometimeswhy said:
  17. sometimeswhy said:
    • alphakitty said:

      Awesome! Nice having other people pitch in!

      • JenniferP said:

        You guys are all awesome for doing this. Thank you!

    • JenniferP said:

      Thanks so much.

    • You are the shiniest and loveliest star in the cosmos, missy. Here’s your hug by the way *hugs*

  18. jnakabb said:
  19. jnakabb said:
  20. jnakabb said:
  21. jnakabb said:

    July 2012 :

    #283: “How do I tell my parents I’m not moving back home with them after graduation?”
    #284: “My partner is controlling about my appearance.”
    #285: Is it bad if my relationship has an expiration date?
    Blanket Statement Monday: On Late Bloomers
    The Gollum of Heartbreak, Or, How to Stop Worrying About Which Feelings to Feel
    #286: I think the words you are looking for are “I am breaking up with you.”
    #287: If you don’t want people to find out you are a ‘sex pest’, don’t pester them for sex.
    #288: Guest Post: Advice from Sea Captain Awkward
    #289 & #290 Friends with Significant Others
    #291: How do I know if I’m trans*?
    #292: Wealth (& massive insecurity) is messing up my love life.
    #293: Love! Movies! Adventure!
    Summer Pledge Drive: Give me a dollar and I’ll give you a movie.
    #294: My daughter is in a dysfunctional relationship, how do I help her?
    #295: When failure moves into your house to stay.
    #296: How do I start to date? A counter-intuitive primer.
    Captain Awkward’s Home for Wayward Really Insecure Dudes
    #297: Help: My brother is a teenaged misogynist!
    #298: I’m bisexual! Right? Maybe? Yes?
    #299: My family likes to play a game where they competitively insult me until I cry. Is this a legitimate problem?
    #300: My relationship is awesome y/n
    #301: “Help me process my weird week of feelings.”
    #302: The Marriage of Facepalm & WTF?
    #303: “I was recently diagnosed with Asperger’s and I’m kind of freaking out about it.”
    #304: Good problems!
    #305: “Quit helping so much! I’m not going to fall in love with you.”
    #306 Secrets, Lies, and Stephanie
    #307: Chemistry!
    #308: I feel like I don’t deserve my partner’s support of my artistic dreams.
    #309 & #310: The Broken Record
    #311: My wife freaks out whenever I’m away from her.
    #312: Aftermath
    #313 & 314: Broken Friendships
    #315: The boundary-crossing neighbor
    #316: Reaching out to an ex

  22. jnakabb said:

    August 2012 :

    #317: This crush is really distracting me from my sexless relationship.
    #318: Death and people you don’t like.
    #319: Captain Awkward Writes Your Casual Encounters Ad
    Links of Friday Linkiness
    #320: Dubious Breakup Methods
    #321: Artistic Discouragement
    #322 & #323 “My friend group has a case of the Creepy Dude. How do we clear that up?”
    #324: “My friend, the rapist.”
    #325: Reminder. Not everyone has to like you.
    Good evening! It will be a good evening.
    #326: Our relationship and communication skills are awesome… too awesome?
    The C-Word
    Updated Site Policies + Boston Area Meet-up
    #327: My friend’s wife has forbidden us to communicate.
    #328: When something’s none of your beeswax, make it none of your beeswax!
    #329: My partner won’t set boundaries with his horrible family.
    #330: Life blows. How can I be nice to myself again?
    Movie Madness
    #331: Creepy-by-association?
    Pure joy.
    I wish my husband would spend less time gaming and more with his family
    What do you do about chronic complaining?
    #332: Wanting to make new friends and feeling like your filter is off-kilter.
    #333 & #334: Friendships, breakups, poetry, and WTF?
    #335: How do I set a boundary with my friend without hurting her feelings?
    Yay, Boston!
    #336: Gracefully exiting from conversations.
    #337: I want her. She wants me. What do I do?
    #338: Keeping in touch with professors after graduation.
    #339: My mom gives me the silent treatment.
    Seattle Meetup: Thursday, September 20th
    #340: How do you say “I don’t love you?”

  23. Serin said:

    Like the new look! May I suggest, when someone gets around to it, adding a Read Comments link to the end of a post, as well as at the top?

  24. jnakabb said:
  25. Dear Captain Awkward, You are the most amazing writer and give REALLY great, thoughtful and DIFFERENT advise than the hum-drum, same old. I have a talent-crush on you and I am a straight woman! Please write a book. Write many!

    • JenniferP said:

      You are so nice to say so! Thanks so much.

  26. sometimeswhy said:
  27. Jimmy James said:

    I want to make a clarification here. I was being cheeky about saying you were a troublemaker. You are a troublemaker in a good one. Anyone who makes people think, get out of their comfort zone and gives them food for thought is a good thing.

  28. Myrin said:
  29. firsttimeeverything said:

    What is an “LW”?

  30. Myrin said:

    So here we have January 2013 (hopefully without any unintentional coding mistakes – please feel free to correct things!):

    #417: How do I let mutual friends know about my imminent breakup and move?
    #418: My mom wants me to prioritize caring for my sister over caring for myself. What do I do?
    #419: My friend’s jokes are The Worst. Also, why do we talk about ending friendships forever so much on this blog?
    #420: Did that date go well? I can’t tell.
    #421: If he wanted to be your boyfriend, he’d be your boyfriend.
    #423 & #424: Relationships aren’t transitive.
    #422: Setting expectations about frequency of communication.
    Seattle & Toronto Awkward Meetups
    #425: Baby, it’s freezing in here.
    #426 & #427: E-blasts from the past.
    #428: My crush told everyone about my crush.
    #429 & #430: When depression is contagious.
    Open Thread: Crushes
    #431 : I want to have sex for all the wrong reasons.
    #432: I’m pregnant, I hate small talk, UGH: A Compendium
    #433: What if my past as a sex worker hurts my current employment chances?
    #434: Just me and my shadow, trying to network.
    London Meetup, Northwestern Talk, and Kink-Friendly Advice
    #435: Getting the silent treatment for an honest mistake.
    #436: What can I do to get to know my coworkers better?
    #437: Out of the frying pan, into the adjacent teakettle of badness.
    #437: Adulthood Is A Scary Horse
    Can men and women be friends? An essay and a website launch.
    #438: You get to choose your own happiness.
    #439: The dynamic duo of mansplainers

    • You are so awesome for making it all linky, too! I’ve converted some of the old ones, and I mean to convert more, but it’s time-consuming and tedious, so it’ll be a while.

      • Myrin said:

        Oh man, they’re all done now! “a while” certainly wasn’t long. You’re also awesome!

  31. Elle said:

    Hi Captain

    I just wanted to say thank you. I’ve never written to you for advice but I read your blog regularly. Recently I needed to have a really difficult conversation with my ex – we had been living together before we broke up and had agreed that I would keep the place while he moved out, but he was taking his own sweet time about doing it.

    I remembered all the advice you and the Awkward Army have given. I used my words. I set a deadline and told him what would happen if he broke it. He signed the lease on a new flat yesterday.

    Thank you so much for all the awesome advice you’ve given. You help more people than you can possibly know.

    E

  32. Myrin said:
    • JenniferP said:

      Thank you so much!

  33. Myrin said:
    • JenniferP said:

      Thank you so much!

  34. Dear Captain Awkward…

    So I read the first letter you ever responded to, and you linked to this other blog you have, about food and soups. Being a bit of a collector of recipes (growing up in an Irish/Italian/Jewish household meant learning to cook/bake/fry/grill/mix/freeze/sautee/… was mandatory, and I have fun with it), I was very excited to find it.

    Still am. Amazing stuff.

    I was just wondering if you were gonna post there again in the future…

  35. Thank you for sharing that Janelle Monae video – she rules the freaking world and I had no idea a new album was coming out.

    So – for your bank of happy things to share with the Awkwardteers…and as always, thanks for your blog and all you do!

    Best,
    Karina cinerina

  36. Anti said:

    I just need to say thanks to the Captain and Commander and commenters and everyone else here. I had a really creepy experience this last weekend, and in the past I would have sat there and taken it (because maybe he doesn’t mean to be creepy! maybe I’m overreacting!) up to and beyond the point of danger. This time, I kept “no is a complete sentence” in my head, and got out as soon as I could. Yeah, I still second-guess myself (but maybe he reeeeeeeeeaaly didn’t mean it!), but not nearly as much as I would have a year ago. So thanks, everyone.

  37. Thom said:
  38. Thom said:
    • JenniferP said:

      Thanks so much for doing these!

      • Thom said:

        You’re welcome!

  39. Thom said:
  40. Thom said:
  41. hobbitqueen said:

    Maybe not the place for this but I couldn’t find a link to send this by email. I was reading the post about Predator Prevention and this isn’t strictly on topic but might be of interest to people here.

    Two women started the site linked below as a part of their women’s studies class because they didn’t feel safe taking public transit. They’re collecting stories of harassment on public transit (specifically sexual/gender based) and posting them in order to demonstrate publicly just how widespread the problem is in our city.

    http://translinkharassment.wordpress.com/

    “Acknowledging the reality of the commuter gauntlet: A collection of experiences of sexual or gender-based harassment on TransLink transit vehicles/property in Greater Vancouver.”

    Feel free to take this down/trash it if it’s completely inappropriate or in the wrong place but it seemed like the kind of project that those who read and write for this site would appreciate.

  42. Hayley said:

    Hi,

    I wanted to give you a heads up that DatingAdvice.com has named you as one of the year’s “10 Best Blogs for Dating Questions.” The rankings were published this morning, and we’ll be promoting it on-site and through other social media channels over the coming days:

    http://www.datingadvice.com/for-men/10-best-blogs-for-dating-questions

    You have the bragging rights, so feel free to share the news on your blog and with your followers! Let me know if I can be of any help in promoting the news.

    Have a great day,
    Hayley

    • JenniferP said:

      Thanks for the nice compliment, Hayley.

      • Hayley said:

        Hi,

        We’ve been amazed at how the “10 Best Blogs for Dating Questions” article has taken off. I hope you’re seeing great response from it on your end.

        We got a request to create “10 Best” badges for bloggers to display on their sites, so our design team came up with some great designs. If you’re interested, I can send them to you. Please email me if you’d like a badge.

        Thanks again!
        Hayley

        • JenniferP said:

          I’m good, thanks Hayley.

  43. Hi
    Please email me at industry@flickerfest.com.au we would like to invite you to submit your film The Wardrobe to our Children’s program. We will need to get your film ASAP for consideration so please email me as soon as possible.

  44. Cadie said:
  45. Cadie said:
    • JenniferP said:

      Thank you so much for this!

  46. k3ilyn said:

    Ahoy captain! A few months ago, I started up my own blog (http://notacasualobserver.wordpress.com/), and there have already been a couple times I’ve thought about linking to you, but I wanted to check with you first to see if that would be ok!

    • JenniferP said:

      Please do and good luck. The only place I really don’t like my work being used is The Good Men Project, so link away.

  47. Cadie said:

    January 2014:
    #536: My face is a blushing traitor, and creepy older dudes have definitely noticed.
    #537: How Can I Suggest Ways for People to Actually Be Supportive?
    #538: Forgiving a Friend’s Darth Vader
    #539 “Old New Friends”
    London Meetup, February First
    #540: My sister is making my visits home a nightmare.
    #541: What kind of financial “help” do I “owe” my uncle?
    #542: The Butt Dial of Jealousy and Specious Accusations
    Single, horny people looking to survive this freezing hellscape…
    #543: I can’t sleep because my first prospect for a “real” relationship might secretly be a furry.

    February 2014:
    #545: My old friend was great when we lived close, but has gotten very mean from a distance.
    #546: Counter-Intuitive Friendship Fixing Advice: The Be Nice To Yourself Project
    #547: “Is it my anxiety or is my relationship dodgy?” Spoiler: Holy fuckshit, IT’S THE DODGIEST
    PSA for the shy, sexually inexperienced, maybe-queer, maybe-bi, maybe-asexual ladies who send me letters about finding someone to snuggle and/or date:
    Bristol, UK Meetup March 15
    Twin Cities and Melbourne Meetups, February 16
    #548: I met a cool person to flirt with and I’m scared of what to do next.
    #549: I was promoted above my peers and now they are punishing me and #550: Do I need to tell my boss I’m looking around at other opportunities?
    #551: What does it mean when a dating partner is “worried that they might be using me?”
    March 1 London Meetup

    March 2014:
    #552: Crossing Paths with Darth-of-Old
    #553 I’m following my heart, so why won’t my friends root for me?
    #554: The Mirror of Confusion
    It Came From The Search Terms: SMARCH
    Victoria, BC Meetup March 22
    #555: Carts, Horses, and the Order of Operations
    ## 556: What’s the difference between “can’t” and “I’m scared, don’t wanna?”
    #557: That’s just one dude’s opinion/Annual reminder that “why did you break up with me?” is not a question you actually want answered.
    #558: Help I’m boring

  48. Julia said:

    I’d like to share a super-simple way to create an archives page in WordPress, should you ever want to have a dedicated one:

    Create a new page, call it “archives”, and leave it blank except for the short code [archives] and publish it. That’s it, but there are ways to customize it here: http://en.support.wordpress.com/archives-shortcode/.

    It’s amazing that everyone took the time to share the posts here, too!

    • JenniferP said:

      Thank you gonna try right now

  49. Hey Captain Awkward and/or fans! I just read this article about a thoroughly disgusting predator who is like the culmination of all the “Danger – Get out!” creeper behaviors I’ve read about here. The molester used isolation and boundary-pushing over time to victimize these girls.

    And when they were testifying, the girls talked about feeling like they couldn’t say “Stop,” or do anything because they couldn’t objectively prove that what was going on was creepy. It made me think of all the great advice here about belonging to yourself and having every right to say “No,” without justifying it or worrying that the person wasn’t really being creepy and you’re going to insult them, etc. I wish for their sake someone had mentioned such things to these girls.

    Here’s the link, which, be warned, includes nasty details about sexual assault and gross mind-fuck manipulation. http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/70575174/how-chad-curtis-went-from-hero-to-convict-for-sexual-misconduct?partnerId=as_mlb_20140403_21230434#!KdjDO

  50. Eumenides said:

    Just wanted to say, I really appreciate your awesome wisdom. It is nice to have it reinforced that it is not wrong to save/stand up for for yourself.

  51. Rowan said:

    Dear Captain Awkward – I want to say thank you. Last weekend, I finally stood up to a Darth Vader friend. It was a thoroughly unhealthy situation that had been chipping away at my limited confidence for ages, but I was doing the classic “he’s a good person deep down, he’s just having a hard time” thing. Reading articles and advice on here made me realise that I didn’t deserve this but also I wasn’t being weak or stupid to be in the situation. At last, I have said all of the things to him that needed to be said. It was incredibly cathartic – like I didn’t even realise I was carrying some enormous weight around until I put it down. So many thanks to you and the commenters here. xx

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