It’s July, so time for the monthly “let’s answer the stuff people typed into search engines” post. It is, as always, a very mixed bag of topics.
1. “Is my partner’s family using my family for money? Help!”
I feel like there is a lot of backstory and context here that would be valuable to know, but one suggestion is to revisit and renegotiate current arrangements around money, and see what happens. It sounds like that you (or your family) are already uncomfortable with something about the financial arrangements that are taking place or requests that are being made, and that’s a good enough reason to pull on one of the threads and see where it goes. Do you feel like you are allowed to say “no, we can’t help with that, sorry?” Does it change how your partner’s family treats you?
2. “Should I be upset with a coworker who didn’t donate to a fundraiser in my name?”
Feel however you want, but I don’t think addressing it with the coworker, complaining to other people, or changing the way you interact with them at work is a good idea at all. Be grateful to the people who did donate, and assume the coworker who didn’t had completely understandable reasons that aren’t really your business. Let this one go.
I don’t feel shame about asking for donations here periodically, or for boosting charity stuff or crowd-funding campaigns for friends or causes I’m close to, and I don’t mind at all when people in my life ask me for help with their stuff, but that only works as long as everyone understands that a request is not an order and that gifts are voluntary. For real, the quickest way to make everyone you know go “fuck you and your cause” is to act like they are obligated to give. I also think, personally, that bosses should never ask their employees for charitable donations. Get some friends, boss. Get some friends.
3. “If someone with depression apologises for something they did, do u tell them its not their fault?”
Well, maybe it is their fault. Depression dulls and blunts a person’s ability to function within relationships sometimes, but it’s not an excuse for mean behavior, and we are still ultimately responsible for how we treat other people. If you want to say something comforting in response to the apology, howabout “Apology accepted, thank you.”
4. “How to hide your shyness on a first date.”
Sometimes from questions and comments I read here, I get the sense that people who are really leery of dating think that it’s an activity that is a) extremely performative and b) involves doing stuff that you wouldn’t normally enjoy in order to impress the other person, like it only “counts” if it’s somehow far outside your comfort zone and resembles what people in movies do on dates.
On a date, you should try to wear clean clothes that fit you. You should have cleaned yourself recently. You should not unload all the problems and stresses of your life on this new person as if you were in a therapy session, but neither should you be a robot. “I’m happy to be here, but I’m feeling a little shy” is good information for the other person to have. And remember, you can’t make other people like you, so focus on your own reactions. When the person finds out that you are feeling shy, do they react in a way that makes you more or less comfortable to be around them?
Here are some fun, low-cost first date (or friend-date!) activities that might help a shy person relax and give you something to talk about and/or do with your hands:
- Gamers, what happens if you each bring your favorite 2-player game to a cafe and play for a while? Or go to an arcade? It doesn’t matter if you or the other person is “good at” whatever game it is. This is about having fun, learning a new game, and seeing if your styles mesh.
- It’s summer in the northern hemisphere, so that means 10,000 free exhibits, concerts, festivals, and events. Sack lunch + free show = low pressure. You can talk about the performance or the exhibit, and if the thing sucks you wander away from it and do something else.
- We’re past this year’s Free Comic Book Day, but I once had a date on Free Comic Book Day and it was awesome. Meet at comics shop. Browse comics. Pick out comic for each other. Go to park with comics and read them. Commander Logic did this with bookshops that were also coffee shops (not free, but, fun). See also Record Store Day, World Book Night.
- Taco walk! My old neighborhood had a lot of taquerias, so a fun thing to do is to each get 1 taco at each place and compare. If you aren’t having fun on the date, get super “full” after Taco #2 and get out of there. If you are having fun, find local bar or cafe and stay up late talking and then eat more tacos or tamales or whatever. If you live in a city, a taco walk could easily be a dumpling walk or scone walk or a tour of food trucks. Or gelato! Mmmmm gelato.
- Is there a museum of science or a planetarium near you? Go look at science!
Do only stuff that sounds fun and interesting and appetizing to you. Do stuff that you would do with a friend, even if it wasn’t a DATE sort of date. Do stuff that gives you something to look or do. Fancy sit-down restaurants are great, when you are date-ING someone and already know that you won’t run out of stuff to talk about, but it’s all too much the first time you go out with someone. I realize I live in a major city with a lot of options, but people in smaller towns also do casual stuff for fun in their free time, and somewhere there is a park/book shop/ice cream stand/free concert/odd history exam/roadside attraction/place outside your house to spend a little time at. You are trying to find someone who has fun with you, who makes things fun for you, and who enjoys doing at least some of the stuff you like. The right person for you won’t mock your shyness and will help you feel relaxed.
5. “Shy guy now ignoring me.”
If this was someone you were attempting to get with, he’s giving you some “nope!” signs, so believe them and steer clear.
6. “How to convince your parents that you need to go to the hospital for suicidal thoughts.”
Say “Mom, Dad, I need you to drive me to the hospital, because I am having suicidal thoughts and I need immediate help and treatment.” Also, if you search for “suicide hotline” wherever you are, you might be able to talk with someone fairly immediately. Here’s what you can expect when you call a hotline. You could ask the volunteer for help in speaking with your parents.
When it comes down to it, if your parents won’t believe you or won’t take you and you feel like you are in danger, please call emergency services where you live and ask them to come collect you. You being alive is worth making your parents mad. In fact, it’s worth ANY amount of money or fuss or trouble.
7. “How to seduce a girl to do sex chat…”
This site will offer you much guidance, young Padawan learner, mostly of the cautionary tale variety.
8. “GF left me when I needed her the most mental illness.”
Oof. Okay. I’ve been sitting on a lot of letters from the opposite side of this story. The Letter Writer is unhappy for many reasons (like the ones in this recent post) and wants to leave but feels guilty because the partner has severe depression or other mental illness going on and they don’t want to make it worse by leaving (but they also don’t want to stay). So, Your Worst Fear, meet Their Worst Fear! It sets up a really perverse kind of waiting game, where “I want to leave her but I can’t until she gets better, so I hope she gets better (so I can finally leave her), so for now I guess I’ll just stay (and hate it, and grow to resent her even more than I do already).” Yaaaaaaaaay! None of these people are looking for reasons to leave or doing it lightly, but they have come to the end of their own desire to fight to stay.
My question for you is, if your girlfriend was unhappy in the relationship, if she didn’t see the relationship going anywhere that she wanted to be, would you want her to still stay under those conditions? Because you needed her? Out of guilt? To fill your need rather than her own desires? Was your relationship 100% happy and great aside from the mental illness stuff, or was that just the most readily identifiable reason or the straw that broke the camel’s back? It sucks beyond the telling of it to be dealing with a breakup on top of dealing with a mental health crisis, and you have my entire sympathy. Grieve for what you lost. Get angry if you need to, be as sad as you need to be, and when some time has gone by see if you can try to reframe it. “My girlfriend was unhappy with the relationship, so she left.”
9. “Poem about reasons why am no longer interested in dating u?”
Howabout a bad haiku? No reasons necessary.
“We had a good run/
But I have come to the end/
Please have a good life”
10. “I have been fucking my best friends wife with his consent and his wife stopped it why?”
She didn’t want to fuck you anymore, is my guess. Her consent is the trump card of consents here, so go with that. Maybe hang out with different friends for a bit until you can go back to some kind of normal with these folks?
11. “How to make a guy jealous on Skype.”
Please, for the sake of everyone, when you start to feel like this is a thing you might do, log off of Skype and go do something else with your time. Go learn to paint or some shit.
12. “What to say to a guy to make him feel sorry for you.”
Why, why, why would you do this. why
13. “Will my crush come back to me if I refuse her friendzone option?”
If you were actually her friend, you wouldn’t be thinking of it as a “friendzone option,” so I think you should go ahead with that refusal and let the outcome be whatever it is. Probably she will not come back, but that’s cool, because you will get over her with a little time and space rather than torturing yourself and weirding her out with constant hopeful proximity.
14. “The guy I am dating always lectures me & turns every single conversation into a lecture.”
I hope you found one of the many “how to break up” posts on the site for Tedious Dude. But if you’re not quite there yet, what happens when you tell him that you don’t like this? “I don’t want to be lectured right now, let’s change the subject.” “Did you realize that you’re lecturing me? I don’t like it.” (Probably what happens is a lecture on why interrupting is rude and how he wasn’t lecturing you in the first place is what.) Someone who does this is immune to hints, so if you’re going to stick around, don’t be afraid to be very, very blunt and direct.
15. “She likes my Facebook pictures but doesn’t respond to my messages.”
Stop messaging her and see if she messages you, but don’t fixate on her and what she does online.