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how to say no

#560: It’s *your* party, so why would you invite people who put you on edge?

Dear Captain Awkward, I’m organising a house party for my 21st birthday, but I’ve run into a dilemma which I don’t know how to resolve. Backstory is, I was dating this woman, let’s call her X, for over half a year. We split up before January. It was my first real relationship and the breakup […]

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#552: Crossing Paths with Darth-of-Old

Hello, nice people of the internet! I took your generous Pledge Drive donations and finally bought myself a reliable, working computer. I CAN WRITE AGAIN! February is over and my 2-week sinus-infection-shitbeast-respiratory-thing-from-hell seems to be lifting. I CAN WRITE AGAIN! HI IT IS NICE TO SEE YOU ALL I MISSED YOU AND HOPE YOU ARE […]

It Came from the Search Terms, 14 for 2014

These are edited slightly for punctuation, but otherwise unchanged. Find out how people find this blog! 1. “Do I tell my son’s teacher he has a crush on her?” No. What possible good could come of this? 2. “How to react when your cousin brother loses his mom.” Tell him you are very sorry for […]

#531: When a parent wants you to be their marriage counselor.

Dear Captain Awkward, So, I’m having trouble with my mom and I’m not sure if it’s a me-problem or a her-problem or a “no one did anything wrong but it’s just uncomfortable” problem. When I started college (and became an adult-ish) my mom has opened up to me about a lot of things that she […]

#529: (un)Fun with tenses: You HAD an abuser. You HAVE a stalker.

This post is behind a cut due to intense discussion of sexual violence and stalking behavior.

It Came From the Search Terms

Now and then it’s interesting to see the search terms that bring people here, and, since they are in the form of a question, give some short answers. I’ve added punctuation but otherwise left the texts unaltered. “Pushing someone to accept something they aren’t ready to.” Is doomed. You can maybe get someone to say […]

#527 Creepers d’Un Certain Age, Business Edition.

Hi Captain, I could really use your help with a situation I’ve been dealing with at work. My job is at a small marketing firm, and I have a lot of daily contact with our customers, both over the phone and by email (not in person). One of our customers, whom I’ll call Jim, has […]

#525: Discouraging The Too-Friendly Neighbor

Dear Captain, I recently moved to a new flat and am having trouble with my next-door neighbour. I’d like to be on casual friendly terms with my neighbours – smile and nod and maybe wave when we see one another outside – but nothing more. I have a social anxiety disorder & agoraphobia, and have […]

Your friend isn’t “a batshit harpie,” she’s sad and handling it very badly.

Jezebel has an advice column about friendship, which I wish was not called “Friendzone.” The first and third responses in last week’s post were pretty spot on, but the second letter, here, about the expat leaving town and the friend getting suddenly clingy, is unsettling and the response is also unsettling. Real talk: Refusing to […]

#504: Replying to The Council of Unsolicited Advisors

Hi! I have a dog. I estimate the number of strangers who come up to me in public and give me unsolicited advice about my dog at about 25%. Yes, seriously, 1 in 4 strangers. An informal unscientific poll of my friends shows that not even parents of small children get that much advice! I […]


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