Let’s play the game where we answer the questions people typed into search engines to find this place. Punctuation added. Wording unchanged.
1. “My bf won’t choose me over his brothers that are rude to me.“
I don’t know what the nature of this choice is, like, probably your boyfriend won’t ever cut off or stop talking to his brothers on your behalf, but your boyfriend should definitely stick up for you when and if people in his family are rude to you.
2. “When he says he doesn’t have time or focus for a relationship.”
Time and focus may in fact be factors, but also, “he” doesn’t want to be in a relationship with you. I’m sorry, that sucks to hear. Move on from this prospect, is my advice.
3. “How to turn down a friend down politely convincing her you love but can’t engage in a relationship right now.”
This is the wrong way to go about it. If you don’t want to be in a relationship, just tell her “I don’t want to be in a romantic relationship with you, I’m so sorry, but I value you very much as a friend.” Let her heal for a bit and then you can most likely be friends again. If you use the “not right now” excuse you leave her hanging and hoping, and it’s going to be so much worse.
4. “What it means when a girl say she does not think it will work out.” /”What did she mean by saying we can’t cope with each other?”
Most likely translations: “I don’t want to be in a romantic relationship with you, but I’m using neutral language like ‘it won’t’ work’ to try to spare your feelings.”
5. “How to respond to a compliment on your looks.”
From an acquaintance, not delivered with a leer, like, “You look really nice today?” a good answer is “Thank you.” It’s what people expect to hear and will complete the conversational circuit with maximum efficiency.
Yelled at you from a moving car? It’s not a compliment at that point.
6. “I was mean to my dad earlier and I feel bad about it.”
“Dad, I’m sorry for what I said earlier.”
7. “Coworker bothering you on job about non job related things fast food.”
“I am not comfortable discussing that with you, especially since we are at work.”
“Let’s only talk about work at work.”
“Please stop bringing up that topic, I do not want to discuss it with you.”
Document (write down) each time you tell the person and then if you can bring the subject to your manager. “Manager, I have asked Coworker 3 times to stop bringing up personal topics at work, but they won’t stop. Can you have a chat with them about it?”
If it IS your manager, I am so sorry. Keep changing that subject.
8. “How to show my teacher I love him.” “How to tell my professor that I love him.”
It must be back to school time, there were many variations on this one.
My advice is: Do your work, never speak of it, wait for it to pass. If you are both adults, and you still feel this way when you’re done with the class or with school, I guess you could ask him out and see what he says. But right now, even if he did love you back, it would be horrendously creepy, abusive, and very bad for his career for him to show it in any way. And if you’re not both adults, it would be ILLEGAL. Crushes happen. They don’t all have to be acted on. This is a time to not use your words.
Someday, long after the class is over, maybe, tell them how much you appreciated their teaching or write a poem.
9. “How to treat a guy who doesn’t accept apologies.”
Gingerly, like a rabid raccoon that you want to stay very far away from.
10. “My boyfriend hasn’t cleaned his dishes in a week.”
If you live together, it’s okay to just say “Hey, can you do the dishes? They’re piling up.” It doesn’t have to be a big talk. In fact, a direct simple request sooner rather than later is 10,000 times more effective and less stressful for the person who is not doing their dishes than a big awkward talk about feelings.
Since you say “his” dishes and not “the dishes,” it sounds like they are at his place, which, sure, tread gently. Is he cooking for you, like, are some of those also your dishes? You don’t want to become the regular caretaker/cleaner at your boyfriend’s place, but “want some help with the dishes?” is a nice thing to offer if you stay at someone’s place regularly, and the line between guest and roommate starts to blur.
11. “Houseguest feelings hurt when I limit length of stay.”
I know this is a tricky thing culturally, especially where family is involved. But my gut says that this is one of those “your houseguest needs to deal with those feelings on their own and not make them your problem” moments. Letting someone stay with you is a favor. You are allowed to set boundaries around that favor. In fact, it’s good for everyone to have clear boundaries about favors like that, and even in families where extended stays are the norm there are some rules (written or unwritten) about how people behave.
12. “What can a person say to a lonely, sad 18yrs old boy to make him happy?”
“I made you this list of books and films by women?” has been my default lately. 🙂
You can’t make someone happy, but you can try to be his friend and spend time with him. “Want to come by and play video games for a while?”
What a vivid word-picture.
14. “7 instructions and households chores to give to your brother.”
When I was a kid, with a little brother who followed me everywhere, this list of seven instructions would have looked like:
- Go away.
- Away from my room.
- Leave me alone.
- Go away and leave me alone.
- Stop looking at me.
- Stop breathing on me.
- Leave me ALONE.
15. “Warning signs of a possessive boyfriend.”
Scarleteen has a GREAT article/excerpt from Heather Corinna’s book here that talks about different kinds of abuse and how to recognize controlling and abusive behaviors in romantic relationships. The most important thing is, how are you feeling about the relationship? Do you feel stressed out and anxious about the relationship? Do you feel tense all the time? If so, then whatever it is that’s making you feel that way is “bad enough” or “important enough” to discuss (or to break up over, if that’s what you decide to do). Additionally:
- Do you feel like your friends and family are taking a back seat to the relationship, like you are losing touch with them or feeling less close to them since you’ve been in the relationship?
- If you hang out with other people, especially other men in your life, do you feel anxious about what your partner will say? Do you find yourself over-explaining or over-justifying conversations with men and boys you know to your partner? Do you find yourself being defensive even when there is nothing to defend, or coming up with explanations for where you were/who that is before the question is even asked because you know it will be? (He’s just a friend. That was my dad. He’s a coworker. It’s not like that.)
- Does your boyfriend seem hyper-vigilant about your interactions with other men and boys? Does he often attribute sexual motives to them that you don’t? “He was staring at you.” “He just wants to sleep with you.” “Guys like that only want one thing,” etc. This is insidious because he is co-opting your own feelings and reactions to other men with his own creepy projections, and trying to get you to mistrust your own instincts about the people in your life while he sets himself up as the one true arbiter/protector.
- Are your grades, work, schoolwork, other interests suffering because you’re spending all your time with or focused on your partner?
- If you put your cell phone down or left your computer on and your social media/email accounts up in a room where your partner was and left to go to the bathroom, do you feel like he would look through your stuff while you were gone? Does he always seem to be looking at/interested in/wanting to know what’s on your phone? What would happen if you said “Please don’t scroll through my phone, I don’t like it”? Would it result in a massive argument where you get accused of all kinds of things?
- Is he vigilant about your time? Stuff like: he knows your schedule as well as or better than you do, he’s always on you to call him as soon as you get home, you have to text and check in with him a certain number of times and if you’re running late for some reason he gets worried, not a little worried, but REALLY worried,* he sulks if you make plans that don’t include him, he picks fights or wants to have big emotional relationship discussions when you’re on your way out the door to somewhere else or keeps you up late talking the night before you have to do something important.
- Is he overly vigilant about your clothing, especially as it relates to how it displays skin/how tight/loose it is/how men “might” see it?
- Do you always feel like he expects you to apologize/do you always find yourself apologizing even though, when you step back and look at it, you really haven’t done anything wrong?
- Does he mention being cheated on in the past by other partners a lot? As in, “I know you wouldn’t do anything like that, and I trust you, but I’ve been hurt before so it’s really hard for me to not think about it.” Or “I trust you, I just don’t trust other guys, and I’ve been hurt so much by cheating before.” Bonus question: When you describe his wack behavior to a friend, do you use his past experience being cheated on when you make excuses for him? “He doesn’t mean to be like that, but he’s been hurt so badly before.”
I hope whatever made you search for this resolves itself soon. Maybe take a few days or a week off from hanging out with this dude and get your bearings?
16. “How to apologize for stalking a guy.”
The best possible apology you could offer is most likely “silence” and “staying away from him, forever.”
There’s stalking behavior and there’s Stalking. I know commenters have expressed dismay and displeasure here when the kind that is a deliberate attempt to terrify and control someone through explicit threats of violence is treated the same as the kind where a heartbroken and seemingly clueless person keeps reaching out and reaching out with unwanted contact and won’t seem get the hint to leave someone alone. I suspect the person who typed this into a search engine is more like the second kind, but (and I say this as someone who has tried to hold on WAY too hard after a breakup in my younger days and who has sent many unwise verbose teary emails to dudes who were too nice to say “Jennifer. Stop it. Stop it now.”): Stalking and stalking behaviors exist on a continuum, and when you’re on the receiving end you can’t always tell the difference or how it might escalate. If someone won’t hear your “no” when you say “no I don’t want to go out with you” or “please stop emailing me,” or “I didn’t invite you to this party, why are you here?”, or “Let’s NOT be friends,” what the fuck else are they capable of? The deliberately dangerous people play themselves off as the clueless, heartsick ones, and the clueless, heartsick ones are capable of creating as much anxiety and dread as the dangerous ones, and one of the safest (not safe, there isn’t any safe or feeling safe when you’re being stalked) routes for a victim is to cut off contact and not respond to any communications. The heartsick person will eventually slink away. The dangerous person might hopefully please please please go away.
If you’re wanting to apologize to someone for behavior you self-describe as “stalking,” if you’re cringing at the way you behaved and wanting to make it right, that’s a good step in terms of your own self-awareness and development. But one crucial step in developing that self-awareness is to a) realize that this person’s good opinion of you is likely gone forever, and to b) let go completely of needing their good opinion or attention. 99% of the time, the right answer is: Leave them the fuck alone. Forever. Completely. If you share a common leisure activity, like you are both in the same ballroom dance class, find a different class. Do it without comment or making it about them. Just go to a different class from now on. Give them the gift of not running into you around every fucking corner. Recognize what you did was wrong, get right with yourself, forgive yourself, and then stalk no more. Whatever resolution or closure is possible, it has to come from you, from within you, and be resolved by you, without them having to do a single iota of emotional work on your behalf. The less you make them think about you, the better.
1% of the time, we’re talking about the milder form of stalker-ish behavior, and we’re talking about someone who is in you still have to run into, and it’s a situation where they haven’t fully cut-off contact but they are mildly sort of tolerating you for the sake of mutual friends/a dearly loved hobby/work/the hope that it will go away. I think the answer in that case is ALSO for you to leave them alone and not bring it up, ever, and not ever address them unless they talk to you first. (And maybe for you to find a different class or job or whatever it is ASAP). But if they talk to you, for the sake of clearing the air, a brief “I am very sorry about how I behaved, that was wrong and it won’t happen again” might not go amiss, as long as you snap right back into leaving them alone. This is really a “show, don’t tell” scenario.
17. “I asked my crush to hang out but he’s too shy.”
Good job asking out your crush! I’m sorry it didn’t go your way, but that was brave and cool of you. I think your best bet now is to assume that it’s not shyness, it’s that he doesn’t like you That Way. If he makes a move to ask you out, you’ll know differently, but until then, back off for now and try to focus on other things in your life.
18. “My ex girlfriend thinks i’m an asshole for not wanting to be friends.”
Let her. You’re not doing anything wrong.
Thank you for your Pledge Drive Summer 2014 donations so far, and the kind words.
*If you’ve read IT, by Stephen King, you’ll know that the phrase “I worry about you. I worry about you a lot” is not a loving phrase.