What search terms are leading people to Captain Awkward? Let’s add punctuation and answer them like questions.
1. “What’s wrong with me? My boyfriend wants to be with me all the time but I don’t.”
Nothing is wrong with you, it just seems like you want different stuff. If this is about the amount of time each of you wants to spend together, try renegotiating a schedule that works for both of you. If this is about differing levels of affection and commitment to the relationship, maybe take it as a sign that it’s time to move on, or at least seriously rebalance expectations.
2. “Am I a Nice Guy tm”
Depends. Do you think The Friend Zone is a real place, and that you unfairly live there?
Do you lament that your female friends always date jerks when they could be dating you?
When you talk about how nice you are, does it actually sound really angry?
Is every female friend you have someone you have a crush on?
Prescription: Read lots of books and watch lots of movies and look at lots of art and listen to lots of music made by women. It will be fun, educational, and get you into all kinds of cool conversations because you have great stuff to recommend. And it will help you see women as protagonists in their own stories rather than the Female Romantic Lead in yours.
3. “How do I tell him he’s cute without it being awkward?”
Try complimenting a specific thing or make it specific to today. “I think you’re really cute” is harder to pull off for amateurs than “You look great today, that shirt really suits you!“
Complimenting people – not just people you want to bone, but people who are all around you – is a nice habit to get into. It builds confidence and makes people feel good. To do it well, keep it focused on stuff they chose, like shoes/clothing/taste in books/jewelry, rather than body parts. “I like your bag, it looks really sturdy” is good; “I like your ass, it looks very grabbable” is creepy.
4. “My married ex is always calling me and texting me to say hello. Does it mean he’s missing me?”
The fact that you call him your ex and not a friend is what we call a telling detail. You could ask him “What’s up with all the texting, dude?” but the chances that this is a bored dude looking for validation and flirtation in familiar territory are high. Do you want him to be missing you, is the better question. Do you want to be dealing with this at all?
5. “Masturbation support hotline.”
If you’re looking for information instead of, you know, fodder, get thee to Scarleteen.
6. “Can espresso make you horny?”
I am not a scientist, so I don’t know. Maybe you could do a controlled experiment, where you get a group of people to not drink espresso and look at sexy images, and another group to drink espresso and look at images of birds or cats or dining room furniture, and see who is hornier? I’m not a scientist, so I’m probably not good at designing experiments, either.
It’s probably not the coffee, tho.
7. “What to do in a situation where a coworker is really trying to be your friend and psychotically won’t leave you alone?”
Keep conversations to just work. Refuse all invitations to do stuff outside of work. Do the get up and walk thing when they linger by you work area.
If they refer to you as friends or ask you to be friends, be blunt. “We’re not friends. We work together, and I’d like that to be a pleasant, easy experience for both of us, but I don’t want to be friends.“
Then be consistent about it. I just got a letter from the other perspective, where sometimes the coworker was super-friendly, wanted to have lunch all the time, etc. but other times just completely froze the letter writer out, like, not even “good morning” or whatever. Don’t do that. Pick a lane and then be professional.
Since you use the word “psychotically” maybe we’re past all that. If they do harassing stuff, invade your space, keep pushing the issue, etc. tell a supervisor or HR.
8. “What is a song from a girl to a man saying she loves him but the long distance isn’t working?”
I don’t have anything that perfectly fits the bill. This, from the year of my birth, comes to mind:
And it looks like there is a Tumblr devoted to exactly this. Other suggestions, readers?
9. “What does it mean when a guy likes you and then ignores you?”
Could mean a lot of things, from he changed his mind to he’s nursing hurt feelings from a rejection or perceived rejection to he’s really young and still figuring out how to feelings. Do you want his attention, is the question? What happens if you ask him to spend time together?
10. “What does it mean when a friend with benefits tells you they love you when drunk?”
Probably your first step is to figure out how you feel about what they said. Was this a welcome, hoped-for declaration, or “oh crap, now it’s ruined” kind of news or more of a “Huh, hadn’t thought about it” thing?
You could just wait and see if they say it again, while sober or outside the throes of, um, benefiting. If it’s not something you are also feeling, and it never comes up again, you could chalk it up to Extremely Good Benefits/Booze and not really worry about it either way. Or you could say “you said A Thing the other night, and I have been thinking about it ever since” and see what happens.
11. “How to reject people politely on Match.”
Rejection doesn’t feel good, no matter how politely it’s delivered. Reactions vary from “Ok, good luck” (good) to silence (good) to “I spend all this time crafting a cool message and never get any responses! Why can’t people at least respond and tell me they don’t like me?” or “Why write back at all if it’s only to reject me?” or “Why don’t you like me, exactly?” being among them.
You don’t know (just like you don’t know if someone will respond positively to a message). This was my personal rule:
No one is obligated to reply, so if the message or profile was creepy in any way, I didn’t answer at all.
If it was HILARIOUSLY, APPALLINGLY creepy I reported it to the Annals of Online Dating.
If the message was thoughtful and the person seemed basically cool, I answered the way I would want to be answered: “Thank you for the thoughtful message. I don’t think you and I would be a good match, but I hope you meet someone great.” Most people I encountered sent something very polite in return. “You too, thanks for acknowledging my message.” Anyone replying with any shade of “whyyyyyyyy” got blocked for their own good and mine.
12. “How do I write a letter to my husband telling him that I’m pregnant by someone?”
Wow. Okay. Do you want to keep a) the baby b) the husband c) both d) neither? Because there is an order of operations here. Like, “I’m leaving you for ______” is maybe news that can stand on its own, and the “and _____ and I are having a baby!” can come later, like, when a baby comes out of you after you’ve left your husband.
Whatever you write, keep it short and, not sweet exactly, but 1) clear about what you want and 2) focused on giving your husband information that would help him make a good decision about what to do next. “Dear Husband, I am pregnant. This would be incredibly happy news, but because of (shenanigans), I am not sure about paternity. I realize that this is a lot to take in, and that we have some serious thinking and talking to do. I love you and hope we can work through all of this together, please think about it and come talk to me when you are ready.“
What the shenanigans (cheating vs. I went to the fertility clinic without you vs. my poly partner and I had a little condom oopsie, etc.) were controls how much “I’m sorry” is in the letter, but a good rule for apologies is to own your part in what happened without trying to make the other person feel sorry for you.
A letter has the advantage of giving the recipient time to react. Write it, send it, let go, and hope.
13. “How do I leave a social group without hurting their feelings?”
If you want or need to leave the group, do you have to make it known that’s what’s happening, or will unsubscribing from a Meetup or Facebook group or just not coming to events anymore get it done? If you need to actually make it clear, tell the organizer what’s up. “Can you take me off the invite list for x events for the next little bit? I’m feeling over-scheduled right now. I’ll let you know if that changes.“
You don’t have to give reasons, though the organizers might ask why. This isn’t bad, it’s because they LIKE you and want you to be welcome/comfortable. You can decide what you want to tell them, anything from “It’s just not fitting in my schedule right now” to “X Person behaves inappropriately and I’ve decided not to be around them for a bit.“
They are going to feel what they are going to feel. You can’t control that, so take care of yourself, be as polite and sincere as you feel you can be, and do what you need to do.
14. “Pull my finger princess.”