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Friendship

Dear Captain,

My straight friends will not stop talking about boys. Specifically, if they have boyfriends: How awful their boyfriends and sex lives are (in excruciating detail). If they don’t have boyfriends, it’s all stuff like the latest japanese dating sim they’ve found, and how hot the (disturbingly, rapey) plot lines are and dick in general, to me, a Lesbian.

With the boyfriend thing, it’s always about how condescending/annoying/lazy/useless their boyfriends are, or how horrible they are in bed, how much vaginal sex hurts/is boring, and when I say: Then why don’t you break up with him? They gasp and clutch their pearls and subject me to another tirade about how he is really a Nice Guy and he’s been getting SO much better since they told him all his problems and he folded one whole shirt this week! Without being asked! So I’m being cruel/judgmental/I don’t know what I’m talking about, telling them to break up with him. Yet, next week, they’ll have the same complaints and no matter how much I try and change the subject, I have to hear about how she is allergic to his semen and also, can’t walk right for days after they do it because it’s so excruciatingly painful (but it’s okay, she really wants it! Not having a horribly painful experience/vaginal sex, isn’t an option because she wants that /connection/ with him).

My straight friends that don’t have boyfriends make dick jokes constantly, talk about how hot guys are, try and show me nude pictures of dudes they’ve drawn, etc. In one-on-one conversations with me! A lesbian! Who has said many times, I do not care about that stuff or the entire, 20 minute plot description of the anime episode you just watched, where it’s really cute/funny when main male character sneaks up behind female characters and grabs their boobs. Not only am I disgusted, I am bored out of my mind, and feel extremely alienated.

The few lesbians I’ve talked to about this online, say this is exactly the reason why they do not hang out/are no longer close friends with straight woman, because stuff like this always happens eventually, and no matter how often you tell them that you don’t want to hear about their disturbing heterosexual shenanigans, they will not listen to you. But I love so many of these crazy woman dearly, and I find I can hardly accept not-being-friends with any straight woman, ever again, because most woman are straight woman! Do you have any advice how to handle this without starting a whole new social group from scratch? And excluding myself from caring about the majority of woman in this country?

Sincerely,
Confused And Grossed Out

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Dear Captain:

During the past couple of years, I have been growing apart from “Joy,” one of my best friends for more than two decades now. I’m godmother to her children (whom I love deeply), we share many mutual friends, and we have a lot of the same interests. But she really, horribly failed me about two years ago, and it seems like I cannot get over it.

What happened: After about three years of expensive, emotionally grueling fertility treatments, I went in for one final “hail mary” attempt. I’d tried hard not to vent all over everyone about the psychological ups and downs of this, but I had definitely told Joy that this was the last try, that I was pretty scared about it, etc. She was supportive, though not on a very close level–which at the time I wrote off to her being really busy with work concerns, and not trying to “get my hopes up” or something like that.

Well, the final treatment failed too. That night, I texted her to tell her the bad news, and said something like, “I’m feeling really blue and would appreciate it if we could spend some time together tonight.” Her response — and I am not making this up — was “Oh, poop.” Then she said she’d helped her son fix some stuff in his room and was kind of tired, so she didn’t want to get together that night.

Probably I should’ve been angry at the time. But I was so miserable that it hardly even registered. I spent the night alone, crying.

A fairly significant depressive episode followed, but through therapy, drugs and plain old making peace with never having kids, I’ve pulled myself together again. As I’ve done so, though, Joy’s total failure to reach out to me that night or at any point thereafter has loomed larger and larger in my mind as being Not Okay At All. I try to rationalize it–like, I know I’m not the best at asking for emotional support, etc. — but dammit, that was one of the times I actually did it right! And how emotionally numb do you have to be not to get that the last fertility treatment’s failure would be devastating?

What makes it worse is that I had been a person she called on during past significant troubles in her life. After her husband left her, I sometimes spent an hour a day on the phone with her, for a couple of months, letting her vent. When she miscarried a baby years ago, while her then-husband was out of the country on business, I was the one who picked her up at the hospital, took her home and settled her in. What I’m saying is, I showed up for Joy when it was really rough, a lot of times, and the one time I needed that from her, I got “oh, poop.”

I’m not the best at dealing with conflict ever, but I’m okay generally. In this case, I was so devastated by the fertility failure that I didn’t even have the emotional energy to focus on this until so long after the fact. Now I’m really resentful of it–and I know Joy has sensed my greater distance and displeasure. But only last week–where we were at a girls’ lunch and she blithely started talking about how she thinks would-be single moms are “all crazy”, that I realized she didn’t even remember that I’d tried to have a baby on my own. I mean, the information is in her brain, but apparently she had so completely disregarded my experiences that she saw no reason whatsoever not to spout off. (She’s not a deliberately hurtful person, generally — I think.) Whatever reason she thinks I’ve backed off–well, I have no idea what it is, but she obviously hasn’t recognized the truth.

So now I’m like, do I say something this long after the fact? Is that going to wreck the friendship? Because I don’t think this is like an issue where we “work it out” — I mean, I think she just totally fucked up and would need to apologize and try to do better. And I don’t know that I trust her to do that any more. The worst part is–you know, I love her kids. I’ve been a babysitter/chaperone/adult friend to both of them throughout their lives, and we are all three very close. If I confront Joy about this and she pulls back, do I lose them too? (They are no longer small, but also not quite old enough for me to feel sure we’d continue our own independent relationships.) I feel like I haven’t spoken up for so long that the scar tissue can never really heal, and maybe I should just … accept that she’s a hang-out friend, not a truly deep friend any longer. But am I wrong about that? Can you bring up something so long after the fact and work on it constructively?

I’m trying so hard to learn how to talk more about what I need, but this one has me depressed and confused. Any thoughts?

Not-Mom

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The Captain's cat, Beadie, on her desk with a fat tail and anime eyes.

“HAI, I HAVE INVITED MYSELF TO YOUR DESK!” – this morning in my house.

Dear Captain Awkward,

I was recently called out for inviting myself over to my friend’s home to show off my new bike. It didn’t occur to me that that was what I was doing, I was just excited, don’t get to see her much, and the bike shop is close to her home.

I have routinely over the last year asked if she were free for me to drop in for a hug when fetching mail (I receive mail in the same building as her office) and that’s seemed fine. The only difference I can tell between this and the bike incident is that it was about a bike and it would be me dropping by her home rather than office.

I already add a fair number of caveats to my speech, my precise meaning often misunderstood. For example, I often add ‘in the (near) future’, when asking if someone would like to get together as a number of people thought I meant right now. I can’t tell if this is a serious enough thing that I should consider a caveat for this type of thing too.

I’m not sure if it’s germane to this issue, but I considered her until about a year ago my best friend. Even before then she’s become increasingly distant and I’ve been getting the impression that if I’m not in her life in a certain way, she doesn’t have space for me.

Regardless, I’m wondering how big a transgression this is- another blog said that inviting your self over to someone’s home is viewed as rude and presumptuous and should only be done seldom with a very, very close friend. Is this something I should be policing in my speech? I used to, when my father called called me on inviting myself over to a classmate’s home for her next birthday (I said let’s do x instead of y next year) when I was 7 or 8. Moreover, I don’t quite understand what I said wrong (I wish I could remember the exact words I used)

I’d appreciate any words of wisdom you can share.

Thanks,

Moderately Confused

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Oh my Captain!

I’m working at a temp data entry job, where I scan and index files prepared by another team. When I started this project, the supervisor told me to go to her if I had any questions, or noticed anything unusual. I’ve been doing that, and I’ve been catching a fair few errors. After about a month of this, the supervisor decided to point a couple of the more common errors out to the prep team, so they can avoid them.

When this was pointed out to them, they seemed wounded, said they were shocked to find out there had been mistakes, and said I should bring questions to them first, so they can correct them.

I’ve been trying that for the past few days, but it’s been going… weirdly…  Here’s an example.

I have three files, one each for Alice, Bob, and Carol. They put all three under Bob’s name. When I point this out, the prep team said that all three shared Bob’s ID number. This is incorrect. I know they know it’s incorrect, because they use the correct ID numbers elsewhere in the file.
I’m inclined to go back to just asking my supervisor, but I’m worried that the prep team will take offense again. If they wanted to, they could make my job really difficult. I feel like they don’t take anything I catch seriously, possibly because I’m considerably younger, female, and a temp.

Thanks for looking this over,

Not Trying to Make Trouble

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Hey there Captain-

My roommate-BFF has heard me have sex. Multiple times (to clarify: we have separate bedrooms in an apartment). I enjoy sex that sometimes involves some/copious spanking, slapping, or flogging, so I’m especially sensitive to the fact that some people just Don’t Want To Hear It. My two previous girlfriends were super aware of her disinterest in overhearing us, and the dudes I currently sleep with have been informed, and everybody kind of agrees, “well, yeah”. We (the sex havers) basically do one of three things: we have super quiet, no spanking/slapping/flogging sex; we wait till roommate goes to sleep; we do not have sex and/or go somewhere else (if an option, I’m usually at a partner’s place 50% of the sextime).

I could handle doing all three of these things in combo, but- the quiet sex sometimes doesn’t work, apparently, because my roommate will come tell me as I’m headed to the bathroom after a super quiet whispery sex session that she heard us. Which has resulted in me crying to my partner, who assures me I was very quiet indeed, and it feels silly writing it, but I’m crying because it’s just frustrating, to think you’re trying your best but you’re clearly not, cause sex noises. It’s also frustrating because we usually tend to try some quiet sex after waiting around for a bit to see if my roommate will go to bed.

Which is the other issue- I don’t think she sleeps? She has a very weird schedule of waking up/sleeping, and just finished school and doesn’t work, so is free to nap during the day. She finally saw a doctor and therapist in the past year, and is now on anxiety meds. Yay for her! I am really happy she is taking control of that stuff and doing good work towards getting better (having been hospitalized multiple times for depression/suicide and BPD, I empathize deeply). But her sleep schedule is still fucked. And as a result, I’m not getting fucked. It’s exhausting waiting around to see if she’ll fall asleep, deciding not to do the sex, and waking up to pee at 4am and seeing her sitting at her desk wide awake.

To be honest, writing it out makes me feel like this is such a silly problem. But it’s impacting a part of my intimate relations with people, which is a part I enjoy very much. The inverse of this problem has never happened in two years cohabiting – I go to bed between 11-11:30, take sleep meds that conk me out good, and use a sound machine. I’m tired (literally) of waiting up past my bedtime to see if my roommate maybe will fall asleep soonish and my partner and I can get down to business.

My question: am I way out of bounds to sit her down and say, “listen, I love you, but after 12am, any sex noises you hear from my room are not be reported on. After 12am is sex time. You can sex up your awesome boyfriend, I can sex up my partner du jour, whatever, but if you overhear something, you don’t gotta say something. Also please talk to your doctor about your wonky sleep schedule if it is not working for you.”? Or is this the worst idea?

-Sex (Not) Having Lady

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Hi Captain!

This isn’t anything serious but I thought you would have some great advice or direction.

My ex and I are seeing each other again. We dated for 4 years, 2 of which were living together. We were in our early twenties and the living together was much less a mutual choice and more so charity/kindness on his part as my student loans made it impossible to live on my own and living with family was not a healthy option. I think between us both being young, in a stressful almost depressing point in our lives (job issues), not having the best communication skills, and my moving into his (not our) place waaay too soon were all reasons for the breakup rather than a we’re not good for each other sort of way. After breaking up, we took about 6 weeks off but then started talking again. This time around, we’re going slowly (we’re doing things casually, not being exclusive, going at our own pace), being clear about our expectations with regular check-ins to make sure we’re both on the same page, and communicating like professionals; we’ve both grown and matured astronomically. Overall everything is exactly where I want it to be. I’ve never been happier with him or in my life and all past issues seem like a bad dream. If things continue as they are, I can see us eventually trying again with potential for it becoming really serious.

However, in the back of my head I’m worried about getting hurt. My friends, who are more like siblings, were around for the most of the relationship are skeptical and concerned. They want me to be happy and wish only the best for me. When I give them updates on my romantic life, I sometimes get comments like “make sure he’s not using you” and “I don’t think you guys are right for each other, but I hope I’m wrong.” I know that my friends have an outside view of my situation so they might see flags that I’m blind to, but also that they come with their own expectations for relationships and separate past experiences that don’t apply. My gut rarely fails me, but I am also scared that my gut may be too optimistic and might ignore sage, heart saving advice. How do I know when to trust their input to guide some choices, when to take it as an idea to mull over, or just thank them and ignore it?

Thank you much!

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Dear Captain Awkward,

My husband and I are newlyweds. He is currently unemployed and job searching. We are living on my income and it isn’t much. However, I place my health at a high priority because I’ve had high healthcare costs in the past. We eat well, but we make up for it by almost never dining out. We budget carefully for when we do dine out and for our discretionary funds and we’re financially responsible.

We’re not exactly poor, but we do watch our budget. However, many of our friends don’t seem to understand this. When we arrange hangouts, we try actively to schedule something that doesn’t cost money or costs little. We even prefer having a single person over to going out to dinner with that person, because it is literally cheaper to cook for 3 than to pay for 2 at a sit down place in our area.

Our friends don’t seem to understand that we’re not poor, and that we don’t want to be treated to dinner. Everyone wants to go out, and when we ask about how much the place they want to go is, they offer to pay. This is not what we want. We just want to pay for our food or ask to hang out somewhere a little more affordable. We are hoping to have a family in the next 5 years so I’m saving very carefully.

We would say something like:

“I’d love to hang out, but we’re on a tight budget and we’re trying to eat home more. Would you like to come over for brunch instead of going out? I can make an amazing gingerbread waffle and some bacon and eggs, and Husband makes amazing pour-over coffee.”

And get this:

“No don’t worry, my treat!”

I know some of these friends are in financial difficulty too and their money is tight. I can’t tell if it’s cultural, because many of them are from my culture (Chinese) and we really love to treat others to food. That’s how we show love! I think it’s great, but how can I tell them that we can’t keep going out on their treat and enforce it lovingly but firmly?

Regards,
Trying to Adult

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