Ten. 10. TEN.

Hello and Happy New Year!

CaptainAwkward.com is ten years old today. That is 1 bajillion years old in blog years.

Who would have guessed it would last this long? Not me! But you all kept reading, and trusting me with questions, and working out our differences, and supporting the work with money and kind words, and now here we are in the world where my fun side project is my real actual work, thanks to all of you.

Image: Animated glasses clinking in a toast, with the text “This blog is ten years old.”

I’ll be revisiting some of the earliest posts and some of the greatest hits all month to see how they’ve aged. Today, if you feel like sharing, and if you remember, I’d be curious to know: What was the post that first brought you here?

223 thoughts on “Ten. 10. TEN.

  1. I’m pretty sure someone posted a link to the blog on social media, and I followed it, and was HOOKED. Scripts for dealing with difficult social situations? MY BRAIN NEEDS THIS! Naming things gaslighting and abuse when that’s what they are? NOVEL AND VERY NEEDED! Empathetic, detailed, incisive responses to AITA inquiries that Personally Call Me Out sometimes? GIBE PLZ

    Seriously, I credit this blog with at least 50% of my ability to recognize and reject abuse, as well as counsel friends on same. Long Live the Awkward!

  2. Congrats on 10 years!!! I don’t actually remember the first post that brought me here but it was a link from ask.metafilter.com which is filled with wonderful people not dissimilar to the community here. I do remember the sad cat post #149 as one of the first ones I read. Even though I have no pets, I still read it several times to try to learn from it. I’ve learned so much from your posts over the years – thank you for your excellent, tireless work 🙂

  3. Honestly, I don’t remember. But I do want to thank you from the bottom of my soul. I devoured your blog and found myself ghoulishly interested in the posts about abuse. Plot twist! that’s be cause I was in an abusive relationship and I didn’t realize it because it felt so much like my birth family and upbringing. But you got me to therapy and you taught me what to say. I remember asking my now ex ” when you do that thing, what response are you hoping to get?” He went off on me (quelle surprise). when I finally understood that I was being abused, I knew within 2 days that I had to divorce my ex and leave my 24 year marriage. I knew I had to assemble a team me, I knew I could call the domestic abuse shelter, I had a backlog of knowledge that I could apply. It has taken me 7 years to get back on my feet (though I am still a bit wobbly from 47 years of abuse). I have a steady job, I just moved our of my best friends house and into my own home. And honestly, you are a huge part of the reason I could get out and stay out. I cannot thank you enough

    1. Seconded! This blog is THE thing that helped me to recognize I was in an abusive relationship, learn to stop doing work on problems I was not causing, and safely GTFO. It was more helpful even than therapy. Thank you so much, Captain, for the tools you provide with your work on this blog, and for sharing your life lessons experiences so beautifully. Your writing about difficult family relationships and your evolving relationship with your mom has also been enormously helpful and compelling over the years. I’d also like to add that while your writing on this site has always been wonderful, I noticed over 2019 and 2020 that your writing has reached a new level of awesome. Your posts are so sharp now! This blog and the community you’ve fostered here is a national treasure. Thank you, Captain!

      1. Same same. A friend sent me to #1218 and #ThisFuckingGuy in general, and as I read and saw myself, and became increasingly horrorstruck, I had an epiphany: it’s not me, it’s him. I made a plan, I told friends and relatives, I changed my whole life around. I might have gotten there eventually, but you helped. Thank you.

  4. I followed you here from the shorter-lived recipe blog! (If I’m remembering correctly.) “the Kwizatz Haderach golden retriever of love” is where I was hooked though.

  5. My friend told me about you back about 6 or 7 years ago and I have been hooked ever since. Congratulations on keeping going for a whole decade! Happy New 2021, and Happy anniversary!

  6. I honestly have no idea how I ended up here, but I’m so thankful that I did. I was at a bad time in life where a relationship had exploded due to a catastrophic lack of boundaries on all sides, and the idea that I could just say no to people without the world ending was revelatory to me. Never had it occurred to me that if someone leaves because you have boundaries, that might be a good thing. I read the entire (circa 2015) backlog like holy writ over the course of about two weeks and it was Magic. Thank you for everything, Cap.

  7. Congratulations on ten years! My therapist proposed this blog to me last winter and the first post I read was #1253, “Beloved, you are not ‘torn,'” which was absolutely spot on in my life and so validating as I worked my way through a divorce from my own “Torn.” I have your response printed out and left handy near my dresser so that I can refer to it often.

  8. Happy Birthday! And thank you for all the goodness and sanity you have brought to the world!!!

    My introduction was the “friend group has a case of the creepy dude” post #322 & #323, which came up in working on issues of boundaries and safety in contra dance and other social dance communities.

    1. This was the post that got me, too. As a socially awkward 26 year old guy in 2012, this was exactly what I needed (can’t remember how I found it). This blog made me into a feminist, just seeing the words (paraphrased) “1 in 6 women experience sexual assault”, my brain was like “……… “, and everything I have learned since has only made that stance stronger.

      Congrats on 10 years, it is so well deserved!

    2. My first was from a Nicole Cliffe Twitter (I miss those days!) post linking to the lady who kept trying to get her coworker to be her outside of work friend even though he had PTSD from the death of friend in the war. Spent an entire weekend reading the archives and feeling like I finally had language for all kinds of friend and family weirdness I’d never been able to work out. Sincerely grateful for all of the work you do!

    3. Me too! My friend group had a case of the creepy dude, and I found a link to this post on Tumblr that perfectly captured an awful lot of friend group dynamics. Said friend group has since fractured and I never, ever have to see Creepy Dude again.

    4. I strongly suspect this was my first post as well. Then I started reading more posts and was like ….this explains a lot about my former relationship and family upbringing.

      Then I discovered the magic of escalating boundaries until they’re actually enforced, rather than kind of hinting and then feeling sad and helpless that some people ignored them.

      Most recently I was interested in a dude for the first time in a long while and it was the Captain’s advice to a) ask him out, b) explicitly using the word “date” ringing in my ears that got me into a relationship that was basically the only good thing about 2020.

    5. I think #322 & #323 were my first posts as well, although I took the somewhat unusual step of entering via the comments section (via a link from Ana Mardoll’s blog)!

      1. This was my introduction also.

        I appreciate all that you’ve done and all that you are!

  9. I no longer remember how I found the blog, but probably, one way or another, via Shakesville. A fair number of the regular commenters also comment(ed) here.

    I am very glad to have found CA, and congratulations on ten years!

  10. Happy anniversary, Captain Awkward! Thank you for all the wisdom and humor you’ve injected into my daily internet scroll.

    I have been here… a long time (under a different name, Tanglethis, at first). I can’t remember the first post that brought me here, but I believe it was in the “Saying No at Work” family of posts. At the time I was very new to the professional world after saying “no” to academia (how can *that* be ten years ago? trauma still feels fresh) and I truly needed some perspective on setting boundaries. But over the years I have sent more people to this website for scripts and insight on setting boundaries with parents and relatives than for any other reason (although I have sent links for break-up advice to a smattering of friends as well).

    When I meet other Awkward Army cadets in the wild–which happened often when the Shapely Prose and Toast communities were active on their respective websites, as there is a lot of overlap–I love to brag that I introduced the concept of jedi hugs to the commentariat, courtesy of a 5-year-old I knew. (He is now, inevitably, a teenager.) But it’s the Awkward commentariat that appended “if you want them” to the offer of jedi hugs–and I love that about this community, how important it is to connect in ways that are comfortable for both parties.

    I hug you all with my mind, if you are open to that.

    1. I almost certainly made my way here by way of Shakesville (unless it was Shapely Prose), somewhere around this time as well.

  11. I do not remember the exact letter number but I do remember the letter writer was a cisman asking an insurance saleswoman to coffee without explicitly saying it was a date. The advice given of “she’s not into you dude, move on” was what sealed the deal for me. I wanted to read more advice on setting boundaries with clear communication and how to call others on their bullshit.

    Perhaps the most helpful letter was #114 (which I bookmarked) because the situation was similar to what my brother and sister-in-law started to do shortly after they got engaged.

  12. I think I was googling ‘advice columns’ in 2015(?) and came across your site. And then I read ‘The Sandwich Means I Love You’ and cried a little. So I went back and read all the posts you had. And now I have gotten to know myself and let me be whoever I actually am instead of who everyone else expects. And yay therapy and improving my relationships! There aren’t words to express my unending gratitude for this site, and for Captain Awkward.

  13. I think I was brought here by searching for some boundary violation issue that I did not realize was a boundary violation – until I found this! And was validated. Man did I find validation on Captain Awkward. No wonder it’s my favorite blog!

  14. I came here from tumblr when a post in the 300s went viral- “my friend group has a case of the creepy dude” I think. Loved the advice, devoured the archives, never left.

    1. This is my answer, too. And right after I resolved my own creepy dude situation, I met my now-husband, and having read all of the Awkward archives helped me set boundaries and use my words about what I needed as this relationship got started.

  15. Hi! Congrats on 10 years, and thank you, from the bottom of everything. I apply so much of what I read here to my everyday actions and thought processes. I want to especially mention all the hard (probably gross) work you do to make sure there are no troll comments, it’s appreciated. The blog I found you through sadly doesn’t exist anymore (I just did some googling because I couldn’t remember the name), it was called ifrymineinbutter. I also can’t remember which post I landed on, but it was early days and I remember spending a 4th of July holed up in my apt, reading all the way back to the beginning.

    You’ve built an amazing place. Celebrate good times!

  16. Ten years! Mazaltov, Captain.

    I honestly don’t remember the first post I read, but the one that properly hooked me was the double letter answer about creepy men. it just articulated so many things I sort of knew but hadn’t quite put together.

  17. I can’t remember how I found you! I’m pretty sure I discovered you and Ask a Manager at the same time because one or the other of you recommended the other in one of the first posts I read. I’m so, so grateful for you and this blog. I’ve always struggled with social interactions and with setting and maintaining healthy boundaries. I remember getting to a point where I could imagine myself writing to you for advice, and could predict how you might respond to me based on your advice to others. Getting to that point really helped me process and respond to situations that would have flummoxed me in the past. Thank you not only for the invaluable advice, but for sharing some of your personal journeys, as well.

    1. me too. Regular reader since then. Definitely this blog has massively influenced how I communicate with others, especially around boundaries but more generally too.

  18. I haven’t been a reader for quite the entire 10 years, but close to it. I think I found my way here from a blog that existed somewhere near the intersection of emerging online atheist and feminist activism in the early 2010s, and I liked it because it didn’t overdetermine gender in social dynamics – while still recognizing the profound impact of gender as a social system on interpersonal interactions and power dynamics – and didn’t fall victim to the Illusion of Transparency problem* that did (and still does, sadly) pervade a lot of feminist and other social justice spaces.

    The emergent theme of dysfunctional and abusive family dynamics – and actionable coping strategies for dealing with them – was also of particular interest to me, and this remains one of the best resources on that count. CA is one of the underappreciated gems of the English-language internet, an excellent and entertaining educational tool for fostering pro-social social interaction (I put Scarleteen in the same category, and I’m sure many would include Ask a Manager, though that one hasn’t been as relevant to me personally).

    *This is typically manifested as an insistance that other people should automagically (thanks to this blog for the word), without stating them, know and conform to one’s own social norms despite having been socialized differently, or be able to read one’s mind about personal preferences and boundaries without needing to state them. I’ll note that there IS a kyriarchial element to this, in that the norms of dominant groups ARE often expected/assumed, with material consequences for violating them, but this was one of the few blogs with a social justice bent that seemed to recognize that demanding people magically being different/better, without even specifying what “be better” actually means, is not an effective strategy for changing how other people think or behave. Black Lives Matter is a good example of a movement with a more effective approach than, “Be better; how DARE you ask me what that means, you should already know!” with demands like “law enforcement agents must stop murdering unarmed Black people” and “shift public funding away from policing and toward useful public support programs” as specific, actionable, material behavior changes, in addition to the more general, abstract insistance that other people – and especially White people – see Black people AS people, with the same dignity and value as anyone else.

  19. I think my sister sent me your blog back around 2014, when my husband and i were having issues with his parents.

    I still find that this blog has the best depictions and examples of what boundaries are and how to kindly express them, and when that doesn’t work what to do next.

  20. Not sure I’ve commented more than a time or two but I’ve been reading for long enough that I am not sure when I began (long before my now-5-year-old was born). It was definitely some geek social fallacy post that brought me here, and I really appreciated learning the concept of the missing stair through you referencing it. It gave me the tools to click a few problematic incidents and people into place, some at the time and some just in hindsight understanding why I felt uncomfortable.

    I have also taken your advice and permission to not make everyone happy when setting healthy boundaries with family and in-laws. THANK YOU for your time and work for the countless people who you’ve helped. Congrats on 10 years!

  21. ‘The art of no’, which remains a solid-gold classic (amongst many others on this site). Thank you a million times for this blog Cap, and for having kept it open & running all these years, truly.

  22. It would have been 2013-2015 or so, and I was at work and unable to deal with all the relationship dysfunction at home and at work, and blindly googling different phrasings of my questions hoping something useful would come up to get me out of the active panic attack that took up most of my day every day.

    Luckily I managed to phrase something cleverly enough to match your witty ways of saying things, and I too arrived and read through the entire backlog as quickly as I was able. This blog has been a go-to for self soothing ever since 🙂

    Incidentally, it was through the commenting community that I discovered one could be neither male nor female, and sparked my coming out as nonbinary and eventually transitioning. So you’ve inadvertently changed my life for the better in a handful of ways!

    Thanks Cap 🙂

  23. Happy Blog 10th Anniversary!

    I have been reading for probably about 5 years (how?!) now. I’m not sure of the first post that brought me here but I almost immediately read all of the archives. It has made me a better, more considerate person and I only wish I had known about you during my sisters brief but abusive first marriage. Not only did I allow the fuckwit to come between us but when my mum kept demanding that I apologise and play happy families I lacked the language to explain why this was so wrong. Thankfully she left him, the whole family is happy and relationships are repaired. If this were to happen again (whatever deity forbid!) I could handle it much better.

    However there are also many smaller things I have learnt and integrated into daily life, such as pronouns, ask vs guess culture and saying what a picture is for people using an audio reader.

    Thank you for the last decade of posts, I hope you continue as long as you wish to do so. I will continue to read, laugh, rage and learn.

  24. Mine was one you and Ask A Manager both answered and Alison linked to your response. It was a letter from a person whose boss was going out with the LWers Dad and they were trying to make her go to couples therapy with them.

    1. I hope this isn’t too stalker-ish, but I was never so thrilled to read an AAM update as I was to see yours. I hope your life has continued on the upswing path you described in your update!

  25. Happy Blog Birthday! I can’t remember when I first read your blog but it was probably a link from someone’s newsletter.
    As an OLD I’ve learned a lot through the years about setting boundaries. Boundaries are the best thing we can learn in our life. And you are golden in helping people understand and more importantly do this. I love your scripts—concrete examples are the best way to learn. I’ve often thought “how would Capt Awkward say this? And your writing is so accessible and kind.
    Thank you for all you do and I wish you many more years of blogging!

  26. Happy Anniversary! I don’t remember the exact post, but I’m pretty sure I got here through Ask A Manager and boy howdy am I damn sure glad I did. Keep up the great work – my life is better with your words in it.

  27. I’ve been reading this blog for about 7 years now (since 2013), when I was a junior in college. Looking through my email archives reveals that I emailed myself #370 and #308 from my internship email to my personal email. Casting my memory back to this time, probably came across you when i was looking for resources about job hunting. Not just practical advice, but help understanding + validating the complicated and weird emotions around the whole process. Of course, I subsequently read the entire backlog

    Looking through my email archives also reveals that in 2017, I wrote a passionate email to the Dear Sugars podcast saying that you should be a guest on the show. I closed the email by saying ” I have been reading her blog since I was in college (about 5 years) and I can honestly say that I am a healthier, more kickass person for it.” Which is extremely true.

  28. I think I found the blog around or soon after the first Ill-Fitting Pants post. At the time I was increasingly unhappy in a long term relationship with someone who was great but not great-for-me, and flailing around looking for enough reason/motivation to end it. The Ill-Fitting Pants (and Dear Sugar’s “Wanting to leave is enough” both helped give me the language I needed to end that relationship, and over the years your blog has been a tremendous help in navigating subsequent relationships and recognizing abuse dynamics in other parts of my life. Thank you.

  29. Pretty sure I got linked to this blog from AskAManager, which I read a Lot of during my search for my first real grownup job back in college. This blog helped me navigate supporting my best friend while she left an abusive relationship, for which I will always be grateful.

  30. The post that brought me was the creeper post. The one where the person recognized himself and talked a lot in the comments. I was instantly hooked and promptly went back to the beginning and read through everything. I have learned so much about boundaries and how to use my words. This site is MAGIC.

  31. My first post was also “This Sandwich Means ‘I Love You'”. Don’t remember how I got there, I was probably link-hopping. My depression at the time was so bad that I sat there crying and saying “But I don’t DESERVE a sandwich!” But! I worked through it and am in the (eternal) process of kicking depression’s ass, and have made my share of sandwiches.

  32. Cannot remember how or where I ran across you. I do remember, very clearly, going to your site…hitting archives..and literally howling with joy when I saw how much there was to dive into. Lol it was fucking awesome. The awesome has never ever failed. This blog is a lifer. Always, all ways, grateful to you and for you. O Captain, our Captain. Fuck. Yeah. Xxxooo

  33. Happy Blog Birthday!

    It must’ve been in 2013 or 2014 that I first read the blog. I don’t remember the post though.

    Thank you for a wonderful column.

  34. Holy crow! I forgot to say CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!! Here’s to the next ten! 🤙👑🥂🍾

  35. Happy 10 year anniversary! I was on a different forum & someone linked to “my dad constantly talks to me in baby talk” and from then on I was hooked!

  36. I don’t remember the first post that brought me here– I just remember stumbling across the blog a long time ago, thinking “this seems awesome but these posts are all WAY too long for my brain right now”… and then coming back a few years later and reading through the entire archive. I’ve always kept up since then.
    Many of your concepts have been instrumental for me, but I do want to share the specific nugget that stuck out the very most: “Everyone says relationships are hard work, but they should be hard work like climbing a mountain together, not like you’re pushing a boulder endlessly up a muddy hill.” (Paraphrased; I don’t remember which column it was from so I can’t look it up for maximum fidelity.) I had a LOT of trouble making that distinction up until I read that, and I’m happy to say that asking myself “am I Junco Tabei or Sisyphus right now” has helped me both put down the boulders *and* not give up on the mountains, not just in relationships but in everything, and it really did change my life.
    I’m a better person, a better partner, a better family member, a better colleague, and a better friend from reading your blog. Multiply this by the however many zillions of readers you have– you have truly done good for the world with this and you should be very, VERY proud of what you’ve accomplished!

  37. Congratulations! I was a regular Shapely Prose reader, and you also answered a question from a friend of mine about a dude who was doing poly all wrong (you likened it to pants that just don’t fit and had all kinds of amazing images of the worst pants). Thank you for all the words, kindness, and sandwiches.

    1. Oh, yeah, the Ill-Fitting Pants! That’s such a memorable post, I refer to its advice at least once every couple months (though, luckily, mostly to clear out my closet of clothes that don’t fit me anymore 🙂 ).

  38. I think I came here from ask a manager with all the cool kids. I do know that if it wasn’t for you and Alison I would still be married and still blaming myself for everything that was wrong with our marriage. I would also still be letting my mum far too much into my business.

    Honestly, my life is eleventy billion times better for your lovely blog ❤

  39. I could not possibly remember the post that brought me here, but the most indelible one, the one I will remember on my deathbed, was the Extremely Rationalist Boyfriend Who Refused To Clean Up Broken Glass On The Floor

    Captain (and commenters), THANK YOU for a decade of helpful and hilarious advice. Reading this site has made me a better human.

    1. Broken Glass and Won’t Let Me Pee both haunt my memories. I really hope both LWs are doing better.

      1. I think there was an update from the Captain about Won’t Let Me Pee awhile after the letter that she got out but never ever wanted to talk about that time in her life again, and Broken Glass is at least a semi-regular commenter who mentioned a few times to be glad to have gotten out. The happiest ending of all updates ever was the contraception letter from the Catholic with NFP and too many kids, the one letter that prompted not one but two other posts on the same topic because random dudes showed up and disagreed mightily. I’m not gonna spoil that one, it’s in the FOCA forums. Yes, I’m celebrating updates and also comments where people talk about how certain advice has changed their life. (By the way, does anyone know if there ever was an update about the guy who was secretly filming his fiancee’s friends on a weekend trip?)

  40. I posted and saw the patreon link and you know what, today is the day I sign up. Because you have made my life better and I’ve not done anything practical to support you and you totally deserve it. Thanks for all you do!

  41. I don’t remember what brought me here. Shakesville or Feministe, would be my guess. I was in an emotionally-abusive relationship then, high-key in the “if I just love a little harder and turn myself into the shape of the Perfect Girlfriend, I can Fix It!” state of mind. I recognized some things in some of the abuse questions I wasn’t comfortable recognizing. I read your gentle and kind responses, and lurked and read some more, and eventually started to internalize that maybe even I, too, deserved some gentle kindness.
    Captain, you and the commentariat have helped me through some truly dark places. You’ve given me wonderful advice, and feelings of being perhaps not so alone. I’ve been able to help some of my friends, too. (I am maybe starting to cry.) Since then, I got free of the relationship I was in, went to and finished grad school, found someone I love a whole lot who loves me right back, and started a new career. I’ve started to come to terms with my own anxiety and depression, and how they affect the rest of my life.
    From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Congratulations on ten years! I can never express enough how much you’ve helped me. Please keep on doing you! I’ll be here, cheering and learning and laughing alongside.

      1. She really is. Thanks for the jedi hug and the tissue! It was just a little sniffle of gratitude. I get a little overwhelmed by intensely nice things, of late. The comments on this post are a steady stream of just that.

        1. You are very welcome! I’m loving the comments too; this site is a balm in general, but it has been an oasis in 2020.

  42. I can’t remember how I got here—maybe link hopping from The Toast? Or AAM? All I know is that someone awesome recommended CA many years ago and I’ve been a devoted reader ever since. Your blog was where I first learned about so many things that have made my life so much better—boundaries and saying no come to mind! It was the gateway drug to so much learning for me.

    I started out feeling like I was just here for interesting stories and kind ideas, no personal connection or need here, thanks very much. I remember having a lightbulb moment several years ago where I was like… oh… I guess… I’m so drawn to these stories because they’re relevant to ME. You and the commenters have helped show me a path out of an abusive romantics relationship and into movement towards healthier family relationships. (Along with therapy and other work!) I resonate with the person above—I have written letters to you in my head and know (roughly 🙂 how you would answer, and that been a really clarifying exercise in some tough situations. Thank you, thank you, thank you for ten years of beautiful work. May the next ten bring you joys just as unexpected as the last.

  43. Congratulations on ten years of awesomeness!
    I came here first four or five years ago via the drnerdlove blog, where several regular commenters mentioned that you give excellent advise. Can’t remember which post I read first, but I sure do remember the archive binge that followed – lots of your strategies help me deal with the brain weasles. Thank you!

  44. Happy ten years! I’m not sure if the creepy dude post was first or something around that era, but the one I’m fondest of rereading is 506/507, “It is 2fucking0fucking1fucking3, so why is it so hard to divide up household chores?”. My fiance is generally good about this, but it’s been a good mindset balancer about how to think of mutual effort and how time adds up over years.

    “Unless you are doing SELFISH ASSHOLE MATH with IMAGINARY NUMBERS I find this equation to be unbalanced.”
    ^Balm to my whole entire soul. Love you, love the Patreon, here’s to another ten years.

  45. I started reading in 2016! I have no idea what post brought me here but one of the most important ones for me was #118, “How do I break up with someone?” When I started reading, I was one year into my first serious relationship, and my partner was very manipulative. It was through this blog that I learned a lot about boundaries, and how expecting your partner to not be sexist/racist/etc. was not unreasonable, and that you don’t need a reason to leave someone–basically, that people can be incompatible and that’s okay! I spent the next two years of that relationship trying to break up and somehow getting reeled back in each time. Reading about red flags and manipulation/abuse on here seriously made such a huge difference in learning how to leave. I read #118 over and over; it helped so much to have a “script” to refer to, when I really had no idea how to even SAY that I wanted to break up when my partner kept convincing me I was being irrational and that we just hadn’t “talked enough” about our problems. (spoiler alert, turns out I was being super rational!)

    I am now 2.5 years out from that relationship with no contact, and in a much better place–I even have a really awesome, kind, nerdy, feminist partner who understands how to support me through the trauma reactions I still have to certain stuff. Thank you so much, Captain, and thank you to everyone else in this community that has added to the wisdom!!! Y’all had a huge impact on my life.

  46. Back in 2009 I lived in a college dormitory that, for better or for worse, was the de facto nerdy kids dorm. Naturally, we had a large wiki that we wrote ourselves. It was through this that I learned of the Geek Social Fallacies. It was literally life-changing seeing them written out so clearly! The GSF got me through grad school and eventually one of my GSF Google searches brought me to your glorious blog. For years, in fact, I assumed that you had created the GSF list, so well do they fit in the style of this blog’s naming and deconstructing of unspoken, well-intended, yet highly deleterious things we do.

  47. I remember very clearly. My friend, A–, was looking at her phone and said “Oh, a Captain Awkward thread is blowing up and it’s like it was written for ME!” (I dimly remember that it was that dude who was being really defensive and snarly in the comments to all the women trying offer help and declaring he was being ATTACKED!). I’d never heard of CA and she was like “YOU HAVE TO READ THIS!”

    Years later, I have workable boundaries with my mom, a great therapist and a better marriage. Thank you Captain!

  48. Happy ten years! I’m not sure if the creepy dude post was first or something around that era, but the one I’m fondest of rereading is 506/507, “It is 2fucking0fucking1fucking3, so why is it so hard to divide up household chores?”. My fiance is generally good about this, but it’s been a good mindset balancer about how to think of mutual effort and how time adds up over years.

    “Unless you are doing SELFISH ASSHOLE MATH with IMAGINARY NUMBERS I find this equation to be unbalanced.”
    ^Balm to my whole entire soul. Love you, love the Patreon, here’s to another ten years.

  49. My mom sent me a link to breaking the low mood cycle. I ignored it for like a year and then worked my way through your entire archives. It’s been helpful in a lot of situations, most recently trying to safely meet people and make friends in the middle of a pandemic. Happy birthday!


    Well, it wasn’t a specific post, it was a recommendation (something like, “you should read this, it’s got stuff there that’s both similar to good advice you have given that I like(d), and also it has good advice that your personal — and all too fallibly human — blind spots prevent you from grokking and then applying to yourself”) from a dear old friend.

    I started at Post #1 and read straight through until I caught up. That was somewhere in the 500 or 600s, I think? Now I make a point to recommend “CA.com” to folks who might benefit and I check in every so often to see what’s new. 🙂

  51. CONGRATULATIONS. With all my heart, congratulations.

    I became an avid reader and commenter early in 2012. It’s hard not to feel embarrassed or sad about the trail of comments I left over the next few years, cataloguing my emotional breakdown during grad school and the slow process of remaking my life after. And after that — the community established by this blog has led me to meet new people on two continents, some of whom I’ve lived with or worked for, others of whom I’ve been able to support and be supported by in some pretty dire moments.

    I’m not sure any other writer has had a greater impact on my relationships, both with myself and others; my communication style; my ability to be inside a body living in the world.

    Congratulations, Captain.

  52. Came here via the “Han and Matt Explain It All” podcast, as they raved about your blog!

  53. I’ve only been a reader a for a year or so, and I can’t recall the series of links that led me here, but I’m so happy I found this place! I think I started with a random one, then worked my way up chronologically.

    By reading through the posts, even if it’s not a particular problem I’ve experienced, I can better understand and articulate issues I’ve been having and set boundaries like I never have before. I’ve let go of some guilt of a few past relationships and gleefully shut the doors on others. You have a way of explaining horrible, uncomfortable things clearly and with sensitive humor, and your empathy shines.

  54. I still remember what brought me here, but you answered a question of mine and just. Helped. With figuring out who I was, how I needed to improve myself to be better to other people and myself. You made me understand that it’s ok to not want to go out with people, and that let me be genuine when I did meet someone I wanted to be with.

    (He’s great, by the way. Doesn’t put me down, does listen to me talk about hobbies he isn’t interested in, is open and clear when he needs space and respectful of my need for it too.)

  55. Ten years! It’s hard to compare the magnitude of the feat!

    I got here by searching for “best advice columns” in the fall of 2016, since the short newspaper style columns weren’t meaty enough. Well, I found a lot to chew on here! I binged every single post in the archives, including the comments, and it was like mining for gold. So much insight and wisdom.

    I was trying to recover from a lot of years of sadness, struggle and trauma, and had no clue what I needed. Commiseration with so many others going through their own struggles made me feel as though I was a part of humanity, instead of a fringe character that was some kind of a development error.

    I have a file saved with many jewels of wisdom, from both Jennifer’s writing and experienced commentators and have absorbed so much that has manifested in skillfully managing my personal and professional interactions. I know I look a lot smarter now than I did then. And I know where to look if I need to articulate why you can actually have a boundary, why the problem with rapists is that they want to be a rapist not anything else, and that abuse is so much more than physical.

    I can say with absolute certainty, you’ve changed my life! Thanks for everything, Captain Awkward!

    1. I came here because someone mentioned you in a Carolyn Hax column. Different to what other posters have mentioned, I am often surprised by how you tackle a question. Sometimes I have no earthly idea how to respond. You are very patient and kind and generous. I’ve learned that we have to be honest within ourselves to move authentically through the world. Trying to convince ourselves to be comfortable when we’re not causes so much grief. I learned that it’s important to ask what I want out of a situation, is it to be right, to be understood, to be validated, to get some peace and quiet? Being realistic about what people can expect in troubling relationships is your gift to me. Congratulations

      1. “ I learned that it’s important to ask what I want out of a situation, is it to be right, to be understood, to be validated, to get some peace and quiet?”

        This is brilliant! Can I use this?

        1. Yes of course but it is distilled from CA. Sometimes she tells people with a lot of tact that what they’re hoping and wishing for and what they’re likely to get are quite far apart.

  56. Wow ten years! I’m pretty sure I’ve been here long enough that I first subscribed with Google Reader. The post I remember most vividly from then was the one with Evil Bees, but I don’t recall how I actually found the blog. I’m forever linking your posts to friends that need help and there’s a version of you that lives rent-free in my head based on years of reading that I often turn to when I can’t find a specific answer here. Thank you so much for all your work, empathy and compassion.

  57. Fall of 2011, through Feministe, I think. My life is definitely better because of this place!

  58. Honestly don’t remember how I got here, but your posts on narcissistic behavior and screwed-up families helped me untangle a lot of mess.

    Still not self-sufficient yet, but at least out of a poisonous house!

  59. I think I was linked here from Ask A Manager, sometime in 2018. I think the context might have been a commenter telling a LW their workplace was full of evil bees, and someone linked to the glossary here by way of explanation.

    This blog has been an amazing resource, as someone who doesn’t intuitively know How To People, in learning How To People. The Geek Social (and Sexual) Fallacies especially illuminated a lot of things. Keep up the great work, Captain! Ten more years! (Or, you know, for however much longer you want to do this, you’re a free person.)

  60. Congrats!! I first landed here thanks to a former roommate recommending CA to me, probably c. 2012 or ’13. It took me a while to admit to myself that so many of the posts directly applied to me (I wasn’t a special exception!), whether it was friendships, crushes, or one particularly gaslight-y pseudo-relationship, but it’s been so helpful over the years. I’m convinced at least 50% of everything I know about setting boundaries and recognizing manipulation/abuse comes from CA. So, thank you, thank you, thank you!

  61. No way I can remember how I got to this blog, but I think it was around 2014. Maybe. Don’t remember what topic brought me here, either. But I stayed for the Evil Bees, African Violets, and Darth Vader Boyfriends. Happy 10th anniversary!

  62. Congratulations! I’m pretty sure the first thing I read here was the Darth Vader boyfriend post that was linked from another blog in the comments (maybe We Hunted the Mammoth, but I’m not sure). Thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you do. I especially want to thank you for the recommendation to Dr. Karyl McBride’s book, “Will I Ever Be Good Enough.” It was extremely helpful explaining my relationship with my mom, and sent me down the path of dealing with the rest of my dysfunctional family in a healthy way. ❤

  63. I feel like I saw something you’d posted retweeted and wandered over. I found your advice insightful, empathetic, and straightforward. The post that 100% sealed my love for this space was: https://captainawkward.com/2011/10/18/question-122-should-i-move-away-from-my-abusive-family/

    That line about the “small, quiet room”? Shattered my heart and gave me so much courage. I grew up in an abusive household, so I empathized incredibly with the LW… and I was coming to realize that I was an a differently abusive marriage. I held on to that whole paragraph with tightly grasping hands to steady me through getting out safely, with my then-3-year-old. Thank you, so, so much, for your grace and kindness and good humor, for teaching me incredible things about boundary-setting, and for helping me to believe that I *deserve* to be treated kindly. ❤ ❤ ❤

    1. #122 for me too. It really helped with the intermittent rewards, “It’s only that bad sometimes” abuse dynamic with my parents.

  64. My friend quoted this blog to me once when we were talking about a friend who kept going back to an ex over and over again with the excuse of ‘just wanting to know what happened.” Which, as fans of the blog already know, is the great chestnut ‘Closure is a gift you give yourself.” I thought it was such a smart way of thinking about it and immediately went to the blog and read as much as I could.

  65. Happy birthday slash anniversary!! Your posts have meant so much to me over the years – I recommend you to anyone and everyone, and your scripts and reassurances around family boundary issues have directly helped me with my own difficult parents. THANK YOU.

  66. Don’t recall first post that brought me here, but came after a friend (also an avid advice columnist reader) recommended you after finding out that I read Dear Sugar, Ask A Manager & Dear Prudence. That being said, your sage words of wisdom about dealing with manipulative “loved ones” are the ones that really got me sticking around (as well as employing some of those strategies for the low-level gaslighting I encounter in my current & former social circles).

  67. Happy anniversary! I found this blog recently and actually spent the last week reading through the archives. I mentioned The Missing Stair on another site and got a response of “oh fellow CA reader?” I kept reading because I’ve found the consistent message of “use your words even though it can be very scary” to be a good reminder.

    The Mayor post was a personal favorite for the deep dive into comments, and I recently recommended #296 to someone who lamented that their life was awful and their (many serious) issues could only be fixed with a girlfriend. I liked the response that asked “well what if that never happens? Why not make an awesome life now?”

  68. I remember it was 2012 or 2013 because I was struggling in college. I think someone linked to the post on a DeviantArt forum I frequented.

    It might’ve been “The Sandwich Means I Love You,” but it might’ve been one about, like, how to deal with depression or mental illness if you can’t get treatment right away, like you’re on a waiting list or something.

    I remember I was actively searching for advice along those lines.

  69. I don’t remember the first post I read, but it was 2012, I was single for the first time since the internet was invented, and I really wanted advice on How To Online Date. I feel VERY fortunate that some internet search led me here. Came for online dating advice, stayed for everything else too! Also, I teach junior high and high school health classes and much of what you’ve said has helped me clarify communication and boundary things so much better to my students. I recommend you to all my friends. Thank you so much for your work.

  70. I know exactly what post it was. I had just broken up with my partner of 13 years and I was heartbroken even though it needed to be done. It was 2016. I googled something like “Help getting over a breakup” and it led me to The Golden Retriever/Kwisatz Haderach of Love. I have a weird relationship with Dune in that I love it and hate it in equal measure and by the time I made it to “Arrakis teaches the attitude of the knife — chopping off what’s incomplete and saying: “Now it’s complete because it’s ended here” I was openly sobbing. In fact, that post makes me cry NO MATTER HOW MANY TIMES I READ IT. I’ve read it dozens of times. I’ve linked it to many friends. When I finally became secure in my income I started giving to you on Patreon because you have seriously made my life better. Thanks for all your work over 10 years.

    1. I feel it is also important to note that it doesn’t matter how many times I read the “You have enough ballrooms in you to dance with everyone you’ve ever loved” poem I also openly weep.

  71. I’m not sure which post brought me here, but I remember a few friends linking to Creepy Dude. The one I bookmarked AND saved to my computer when it was new was “When you find out that someone you care about is mean” (#511) in the summer of 2013, because Very Relevant, both then and now.

    I’ve been feeling bad for not contributing financially to this blog given how much I’ve gotten out of it. I’ve also referred several others over here. Anyway, I’m finally out of debt and going to preorder the heck out of the book!

  72. Happy Blogiversary! I don’t remember the specific post for sure. I think I got here from Ask a Manager, although it’s possible it was the other way around. Most likely one of the posts about Missing Stairs. (I’ve got a Missing Stair in my professional life right now so it’s probably time for another re-read.)

  73. I came here sometime in…. 2018, I think, through a viral post. I then read through your back catalogue. You’ve helped me confirm that the relationship that ended in 2015 was a Darth Vader boyfriend, some scripts and ways of dealing with faaaamily situations, and lots of boundary work. I recommend your work to my friends now.

  74. I followed a link from Feministe in 2012 and have been here ever since. Happy blog anniversary, and THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for everything you’ve written and the community you’ve built. Reading your archives helped me break up with a partner of 6 years when I was completely consumed by guilt for leaving AND helped me realize it was ok to say yes to my relationship with my now-husband. Also, you gave me advice about how to handle my dissertation defense, which took place 3 days after my beloved cat died, and your suggestions helped me get through the defense without crying my eyes out. I recommend your blog constantly. Thank you so much, for everything.

  75. Thank you so much! I don’t have as dramatic a story as many others here, but I’ve been reading every post here since 2012, and grown up a lot along the way.

  76. I came in somewhere in the <200's, because I remember discovering it (how? livejournal? no idea) and immediately reading the entire backlog. Everything I know about being a good friend and setting healthy boundaries I learned from this blog! It's done wonders for my relationship with my mother (pretty good) and letting go of the one with my father (good riddance). I also have recently come to realize (at 38) that I most likely have ADHD and am going to work on getting a diagnosis. Your discussion of how that looks in adult women was a huge part of that, so thank you.

  77. The title of this post makes me think of the ten commandments! What would The Ten Commandments of CaptainAwkward be?

    1. 1. Be kind
      2. Do less work
      3. Use your words
      4. Know what you want (or clarify for yourself)
      5. Enforce your boundaries: It’s okay to just walk away
      6. No is a complete sentence
      7. Be kind to yourself, too
      8. It doesn’t need to be capital-A Abuse to be bad
      9. Wanting to leave is enough

      1. #10 — You can’t do someone else’s caring for them. Remove shame, emphasize agency.

  78. Congratulations on ten years, that is major!!! This blog (and your wise perspective) has been such a life-changer for me, thank you, thank you, thank you! I think the post that brought me here was “The Art of ‘No'” but really, so much has resonated over the years. So. Freaking. Much. I am the Playdate of Thrones LW from way back in 2013, I think? And this blog has helped me with boundaries in my personal life with that dilemma, another dilemma eerily like it that came up a few years later, and also in setting boundaries with my family of origin. Captain Awkward, you are a treasure.

  79. I think the first post that brought me here was the woman whose boyfriend had been refusing her the bathroom for hours/days at a time.

  80. I can’t remember the year (2016 or 2017, maybe?), but I am pretty sure it was a reference I read somewhere to “Darth Vader boyfriend.” I have been married for, like, a zillion years and therefore it wasn’t my own personal romantic situation that made that resonate with me, but that phrase was just so…perfect. I’ve been a regular reader ever since.

  81. Congrats on the blogaversary! I’ve been here since 2012 and I don’t remember which post it was that led me to you, but I thiiiink it was via Cleolinda.

  82. Someone mentioned Captain Awkward on Tomato Nation when the blog was still relatively young. I checked it out, then backread every post.

    While I haven’t made any life changes because of CA, it has occasionally prompted me to ask for what I want or need in words instead of hinting around.

    1. I can’t remember exactly when but I’m sure I must have been a Tomatonation tourist at first as well – TN was the only ‘column’ I read for yearsandyears, and I can’t think how else I would have got here!

  83. Darth Vader Boyfriend. That was the post that brought me here. Perfect beyond words.
    “We had to be rescued by Ewoks. It was embarrassing.”
    Here’s to ten more!

  84. Happy blogiversary, and congratulations on ten years.

    I don’t remember where I found out about this blog (might have been through Shapely Prose, which I think was running at about that time), but I do remember getting hooked and enjoying your generous helpings of sympathy, empathy, common sense, and clear instructions for “how to human successfully”. Your blog entries are highlights of my day whenever they crop up, and I’m planning to keep following for as long as you keep going.

    Here’s to many more successful years, and the best of life and luck to you.

  85. Congratulations on 10 years! That is very impressive.

    The two posts that hooked me in were the Darth Vader boyfriend and the post where you describe Mr. Darcy and “firthing”.

    The one that had the most impact on my life and relationships though is the post you did on high anxiety parents and constant contact. I search the website for “constant contact“ a lot in order to review that post and remind myself how to manage my relationship with my parents. Comments on that post really help to and I often go through them.

  86. Cannot remember when I started reading, but I do want to issue a heartfelt “happy blogiversary” and thank you very much for ensuring the full archive is available, because it helped a lot during my recent divorce.

    The line that sticks with me about that is actually elsewhere, in the Buzzfeed (I think?) piece with you and Alison Green and another advice columnist — it’s the one about “literally a HOUSEPLANT would give you more pleasure, BREAK UP WITH HIM” and wow, did it ever strike home.

  87. Many happy returns! Here’s to another ten years of Captain Awkward, and many many decades of happiness for you and yours. Thank you for all your work and for all the good you’ve built with your words: you’ve changed my life, and so many others, for the better. Thank you ♡

    I don’t remember what was the first post of yours I read, but a webcomic by Tab Kimpton directed me to Pervocracy’s blog around 2011-2012, and from there I got directed here and never looked back. The first posts that I remember really resonated with me were The Golden Retriever of Love and the ones about mentally complimenting people to build up your asertivity 🙂 I also remember very fondly the post about your friend giving you a Yoda figurine that you kept in your pocket until it got lost in Berlin.

  88. I’m not sure how I ended up here, but it was mid 2012s, I think. There’s so much here that gave me excellent working models for things in my head, and that I’ve shared with other people. The idea that’s sticking out the most for me at the moment, though, is permission to return the awkward to sender when someone else is making things weird. Thanks for everything through the years!

  89. I don’t even remember which post it was that brought me here. I think I started reading before I got married, so some time in 2011 or 2012. (I didn’t realize the blog was only 10 years old. I actually thought it had been around since like… 2007 or something).
    You taught me how to have boundaries.
    Like, yes, knowing where I start and others have to stop.
    But also knowing where others start and I have to stop.
    Thank you so very, very much for everything you do. ❤

  90. I also discovered you via Cliff Pervocracy’s blog around 2012! (I didn’t realize Cliff was credited with coining the term “missing stair” — just saw that on Wikipedia.) I think it was one of the geek social fallacies posts that was one of my first (maybe this one, guest posted by Commander Logic: https://captainawkward.com/2012/04/16/geek-relationship-fallacies/). In any case, I was hooked from day 1 (though I think this may only be my second time commenting). Congrats on 10 years of blogging and thank you so much for all that you do. 🙂

    1. Cliff is the best. I got to go to the Field Museum with him years ago on a visit to Chicago, and he is just the best.

  91. Happiest of returns! Thank you for your guidance, kindness, wisdom and humor! I could not say which percentage of my growth I could attribute to having read your words, but I can say that it was one of the first online spaces where I felt so much less alone and helped me so much in accepting the weird and wonderful parts of myself that I know and love today.

  92. Wow, ten years! I’ve been reading a long time, I think since I was post college in 2012 (I distinctly remember the comment thread that spawned the House of Evil Bees), but my first comment was in 2014 (and appropriately enough, on a post about a woman who was being infantilized at work). This blog (along with therapy!) helped point me in the direction of my amazing partner, now fiance. And as someone who works professionally with emerging adults, I send your articles around all the time. The Sandwich Means I Love You has made it into at least one sermon. Your posts about missing stairs and how to deal with sexual predators in your friend groups have been shared with young women not yet ready to report the gross and creepy men in their orbits. You say so many things I find useful to share, and usually more eloquently than I could.

  93. Two years since I followed a link from arghink.com. I’ve read much more than 2 years worth since. So helpful. And you say beautifully things which I feel but have struggled to articulate. Thank you

    I’ve sent links to at least 20% of the people I email these days. I particularly like, send, the one about all (parents, esp) deserving time to create even if the process involves what appears to be staring into space while in a bubble bath(though I think I added in the bath part)

  94. I don’t remember the first post I read! It was seven or eight years ago because I was 13 or 14 when I started reading em, and I fully credit the blog for teaching me a basic level of social skills and human decency that I was not going to learn as a deeply isolated homeschooled kid raised by pretty much literal wolves. Captain Awkward was my socialization curriculum!

    The post that I think about most often was the one – I don’t remember the number, but the title was “my dad hit me” and as an angry teen desperately wishing my dad would hit me so it would count as abuse and I would be allowed to ask for help, the answer made me absolutely sob. (don’t worry – I’m 21 now and I’m out, I’ve changed my name and my gender and got an incredibly calm and loving and supportive partner and an incredibly clingy cat and a little quiet room with a door that locks, 2000 miles away from my family of origin.)

    Thanks so much for all you do!

  95. I have no memory of what brought me here, somewhere around 2012-13, but I sure am glad I did. I’ve learned so much here about being a better human and communicating with others more kindly and clearly.

    Since I can’t recall the specifics, instead I’ll mention the Worry Wyvern, which is a post I return to and recommend a lot. Also very fond of #190!


  96. I can’t remember if it was the first post I read, but soon after I discovered Captain Awkward, I remember discovering #247: “Marrying into a family with awful boundary issues, or, secrets of dealing with Highly Difficult People.” I have some “Alices” in my life, and that advice helped me learn how to handle them.

    I hope it’s okay to add this, but I’ve gone back to read #643: “The stinking pile of word poop that is ‘I’m not going to choose a side” more times than I can count. It helped me when some ex-friends tried to get me to “be the bigger person” about someone who abused me. A particular line from #1194 has also been more of a comfort to me than I can say: “If you’re out there reading this from inside the un-safety of the Mold-O-Rama because all the other options are even less safe, I see you, friend and I need you to know that your choice to try to preserve an unfair and difficult relationship doesn’t make them right about you.” You weren’t talking to me, but it boy, did I ever need to hear that from my own sad Mold-O-Rama.

    Thank you, Captain, for a decade of empathetic, wise, often hilarious advice!

  97. It was one of those two how to say no articles when the letter numbers still had two digits.
    So yes, I’ve had a lot of time to hone my interpersonal skills thanks to this blog and have been entertained as well. Thanks for the great work!

  98. Congratulations on ten years of awesomeness!
    I don’t remember how I got here (I like to think that a friend recommended you to me), but I’m so happy I did. When I started reading, I had just begun my PhD, was quite unhappy all around, and lacked the words to describe why some family and some friends were squicky. Since then, I’ve learned about the wonderful magic of boundaries (thank you so much for letting me find the words to set and maintain them kindly!), went to therapy, finished my PhD (and will soon be starting my dream job at my dream university!), met a wonderful and kind partner, and came out as bisexual.
    So, thanks for giving me the skills to navigate my life and relationships!

  99. I’ve no idea how I came across you but I’ve been reading at least 4 years I think? I check everyday for new pieces.

    I am a equality and diversity practitioner in the UK and genuinely, your pieces about workplace conflict and so on have really evolved my thinking about my work. You are a fab pair with Ask a Manager.

    The themes you return to so often have made me clearer in my mind about many aspects of my relationships and how I view myself. Boundaries, man. And perspective.

    I’ve shared so many of the pieces for different situations.

    I’ve also been nudged to start my own blog (perfume reviews).

    For she’s a jolly good fellow, and so say all of us!

  100. For me, it was a post on Jezebel about post #583. The Bayeux fields of no f*cks given got me in , then I read the secrets of dealing with Highly Difficult People, and I never left.
    Congratulations, and here’s to ten more years!

  101. I think it was one of the geek social fallacy posts, but oh so long ago now! Linked from Shakesville. I found Ask A Manager from this blog and love both so much 🙂 I too like many others read through the archives after finding it and then had to impatiently wait for new posts. Congrats on your anniversary and we’ll be here reading as long as you are writing!

  102. Congratulations on 10 years!!

    I came to the blog because a friend mentioned that CA had the best moderated comments section on the Internet AND CA is advice – 2 things that I LOVE! I don’t remember when this was, but it was many years ago and I stayed after I read that most current column and then read the archives.

    I think the posts that helped me the most were ones about looking for red flags AND green flags in relationships. I’ve saved the green flag column – and a few others.

    Captain Awkward – you are so insightful and wise. I’m always impressed with how you can break down relationships/interactions so clearly. I love your writing and your advice. Thanks for your service; I’m hoping for many more years!

    1. Congratulations on the 10 year mark!
      I first read this blog for post 247, dealing with highly difficult people. This was advice I really needed as I began interacting more with my now-mother-in-law. I’ve stuck around for the combination of good advice and entertainment!

  103. I can’t remember exactly what it was that first brought me to this blog, but on reading the comments someone mentioned research on narcissitic families and – yep that was probably it. I’d just gone to college and was just about starting to realise my relatives were not great people actually, hence yknow, that LW number in my name here. It was beyond validating to read the Captain’s response and all the comments that said yeah no, this was fucked up, and I’m beyond grateful to have had that outside perspective.

  104. A huge congratulations for reaching 10 years! You’re one of my favourite content creators and I’m very grateful for the advice you give. I share it regularly with people and recommend you often. I’m very excited about forthcoming book!

    As for my first, I don’t know which post, but I know I got to it via Shakesville. I popped in and out for a few years, but I started following properly about three years ago.

  105. I can’t remember the specific post that brought me here; I think I was reading Ask A Manager or Dear Prudence 3 or 4 years ago, and a commenter there referenced this website. I pored through all of the CA archives, and (a little painfully) recognized some of the geek social fallacy behaviors that I exhibited when I was in my early 20’s. I was hooked. I’m a WASP cis middle-aged man with generally center-of-the-road political beliefs, and Captain Awkward has helped me broaden my views and demonstrate more kindness towards others that I may have otherwise ignored. (Unless you are dedicated Trumper; sorry, but not so sorry…..)

  106. Omg, I suppose it has really been 10 years! Congratulations!!!

    My first question that was answered was #91 so I have been here nearly from the start. Absolutely no idea now which question drew me in but I know I devoured the archives in short order and have followed along ever since.

    Things I wish I’d known when I submitted that question: 1) I was really severely majorly depressed the entire 1st year of my PhD (and all the years that followed) and 2) I really didn’t fit in because of #1 and also (discovered 1 year ago) that I am autistic.

    Captain, your advice over the years has helped me so much and filled in a lot of gaps in my social understanding, so thank you from the very bottom of my heart xoxo

  107. I was looking for a new advice column to read (I am addicted to them) in 2015 when I discovered Captain Awkward. I eagerly looked forward to each new entry, while devouring the backlog. The Sad Cat one stuck out to me, ’cause that was such a Saga! And the Alice relative one as well. I enjoyed reading comments as well. (why is that one article locked?)

    Armed with the good Captain’s advice, I got out of my abusive marriage in 2016, after enough secretive planning to rival WWII’s D-Day. It was my own D-Day. Five years later I am doing very well, and try to implement the Captain’s good advice to help myself and others. Spreading the good.

    Thank you so much Captain. You have no idea how many of us you have saved. ❤

  108. I don’t exactly remember, but I think it was a link from Ask A Manager? It’s either that or The Toast. And I’ve been here for about 8 years!

    1. Replying to my own comment, because I just remembered – it was the post on missing stairs that brought me here!

  109. I don’t remember what post I first read, but it was probably around 2013 or so? I ended up here after Ragen Chastain mentioned Captain Awkward on her blog.
    I’ve mostly been lurking this whole time, but your advice has empowered me to take charge of my life, leave my soul-sucking job for one I love, become a better spouse, extricate myself from a toxic and abusive “friendship”, and set some boundaries with my family of origin. I credit this blog with teaching me that social skills are actual skills I can learn for the purpose of communicating better with other humans, not Foolish And Illogical Rules For Boring People, Which Incidentally I Totally Lack.
    Thank you so much, Captain. I wouldn’t be where and who I am now without you.

    1. “I credit this blog with teaching me that social skills are actual skills I can learn for the purpose of communicating better with other humans, not Foolish And Illogical Rules For Boring People, Which Incidentally I Totally Lack.”


  110. Congratulations!
    I got brought here by a post on the geek social fallacies way back in like 2011? It’s been a long, strange decade.


    You do know that you, and this site, are National Treasures, right?? Between you, and the wonderful folks on the Dysfunctional Families Day threads over on Making Light, I’ve actually retrofitted a lot of humaning skills that I came out of my early years missing.

    It is so cool that you are making a living from this stuff now, and you continue to be one of my favorite writers in all genres.

    Keep up the good work!!

    1. And ML DFD was the gateway drug that eventually landed me here. I think I started becoming a regular reader here somewhere in the Q#800s.

    2. Oh yeah and: You have permanently ruined me for Incompletely Conscious scripted drama. Just finished a Gilmore Girls binge over the holidays and Holy God Now My Eyes Are Bleeding on the hot and cold running boundary violation. D: The good news: the parts on Cobra Kai that the writers get right are extra delicious, having the framework to see how they’re examining certain classes of power and dysfunction.

  112. Had you done “it came from the search terms” in 2012, I might have been featured in autumn that year. I don’t remember the exact phrase that led me to this life-changing blog, probably something like “why do my friends want to hang out with my abuser?”

    It led me to letter #394 eventually, which sort of blew my mind that it was best practices to just believe somebody was raped when they are because, yeah, that wasn’t my experience at first.

    This blog taught me to respect my own boundaries, something I desperately needed as a survivor of childhood abuse and later, romantic partner abuse.

    I read every post on this blog and poured over the comments, and I wrote letter #557 when I was shattered by an ex and was seeing a less than amazing therapist (who I ended up dropping about three months later).

    Since then, I have introduced probably dozens of people to this blog, especially those who are struggling with a partner who isn’t that into them, a weird family dynamic, and the ability to defend the boundaries they had left up.

    It’s amazing that this blog has existed 10 years, helped by the many necessary changes it’s undergone over the years, (my favorite actually being less/no comments). It’s remained a guiding light when I feel lost.

    Thank you, Captain. Because every time you helped one letter writer, you were helping thousands+ others with lightbulb moments about their own lives.

  113. I can’t remember what brought me here, but I think it was a post referencing Geek Social Fallacies, and I’ve been hooked ever since. Plus adorable cats. My counselor even follows you on Twitter now!

  114. I don’t remember exactly when but I believe it may have been creepy dude. I do know that I then read my way through the archives and have been here ever since! African violets of friendship, house of evil bees, jedi hugs and several others have become permanent fixtures in my vocabulary. I credit here, Ask a Manager, and Sheila Heen/Doug Stone’s “Thanks for the Feedback” for being a life changing triumvirate.

  115. Happy birthday!

    I vaguely remember that Ursula Vernon said something on LiveJournal that somehow landed me on Captain Awkward? That memory does not make a lot of narrative sense to me now, but there it is. And it was around letter number 85 (You can just stop being friends with people! https://captainawkward.com/2011/08/03/reader-question-85-you-can-just-stop-being-friends-with-people-who-annoy-the-shit-out-of-you-seriously-really-truly/ which includes an early appearance of the African Violet) or so, which was a breathtaking signal to me that I was *not either* a bad person for having walked away from a former best friend when he stopped caring about me.

  116. I think it was one of the super early re-takes on Dear Prudence? Maybe someone in the comments at Slate pointed the way – but it was like discovering internet gold. And in the way of all amazing, insightful things on the internet, I thought no way is this gonna last. So happy to be wrong. I am proud to say I got several friends hooked though. Cheers!

  117. Happy anniversary, Captain and blog! I honestly can’t recall how I first got here; I think it was through someone on Twitter (probably a fellow Smithie, as this has become the Millennial Smith College Alum Advice Column of Choice) mentioning the Kwisatz Haderach of Love and me going WHAT, DUNE REFERENCE? I MUST READ THIS ADVICE.

    And now I’ve now mostly-lurked for several years, and have got a lot out of what I’ve found here both in posts and comments, especially on the BUT FAAAAAMILY front. So thank you. You’re deeply appreciated.

  118. Happy anniversary! I was letter writer #75 – I don’t remember how I first found out about Captain Awkward (probably through one of the many now-defunct feminist blogs I used to avidly read). I remember your reply had been very angry on my behalf, which had felt so liberating and validating when people in my life were not taking the issue as seriously as I was. Anyways, I quickly got hooked – I’ve been reading almost every post since, so thank you so much CA, and here’s to another decade!

  119. I followed Daniel Lavery from the Toast to Dear Prudence, and once while he and Nicole Cliffe were doing an online chat, she just straight-up said, “Oh, Captain Awkward is my FAVORITE advice columnist,” and Daniel was like “….”

  120. Happy Blogday/Blogiversary! Thank you for keeping this going for 10 years.

    My journey to being a regular reader was not a direct. I do not remember what article I was first linked to, or from where. It was probably around the 2013/2014 timeline. There were several instances where I got linked to one article, then read the three suggested article titles and opened 2-3 of them using new tabs, and ended up with 10-20 CA tabs open. After having this happen again a year or two ago I decided to bow to the inevitable and take a few weeks to read the entire archive.

    I was already in the process of working on myself when I started reading, but this blog helped give me framing, language, and encouragement to keep with the process. I appreciate every post.

    This blog has done a great deal to increase the overall happiness in the world. Thank you.

  121. (CW at the link and for the rest of the comment re: sexism, harassment) Also, a follow up to my letter (which was this one https://captainawkward.com/2011/07/15/reader-question-75-guest-post-my-friend-is-making-me-very-uncomfortable-with-his-touching-and-sexual-comments/). I saw that gross man again once at a wedding seven years later, completely stonewalled him the entire weekend. He tried to joke to one of my friends (who has my back) about how I must be mad at him because of something trivial, then proceeded to get drunk and inappropriately touch one of our friends’ sister *in front of his fiancee*. The friend group finally called him out, and he had literally the same shitty defense mechanisms as back in the day.
    On the plus side, he was *finally* shunned by the friend group, and I found out a year later that he got dumped by said fiancee. So there are happy endings!

    1. oops, don’t think my initial comment went through, but essentially I’ve been there since the first year! Didn’t know what to expect when I sent in a letter (#75), but in some ways it felt very validating to see CA, Jill, and countless commenters Hulk out on my behalf. I’ve been reading the blog since, and recommending it to countless people. Thank you so much for your work Captain, happy anniversary, and here’s to many more!

  122. I Googled something along the lines of “Why is it okay for men to be so terrible in friend groups” and one of the first (if not the first) results was “#322 and #323 My friend group has a case of the Creepy Dude. How do we clear that up?” and I felt so SEEN. And I was shocked that so many other people on the internet felt the same way I did, because certainly no one else in my social circle did. I’ve learned so much from this blog over the years. Thanks for everything, Captain.

  123. Probably the concept I’ve found most valuable is the whole “I know you think you have a partner’s ex/family/whatever problem…but actually you have a partner problem” thing. That and “let’s consider what other options this person who’s making your life miserable has.”

  124. Came here via Making Light some eons back. Grateful for the handy words and the handier explanations of some of the things done to me when I was young, and a few ongoing. Keep the fire burning.

  125. I just wanted to say thank you as well. I’ve been reading Captain Awkward for years now and it’s been tremendously helpful in making sense of things that have happened to me in the past, and also in recognising red flags and abusive stuff in the present.

    It’s helped me through recognising and understanding my family is abusive and also through managing to become estranged from them, which has been so much better for me.

    Only a few months ago it helped again when I was having internal flags that someone was dodgy but was finding it hard to believe myself, but reading through things here again and seeing just how many of that persons behaviours were alarming here made the difference to me being able to extricate myself within a few days in rather than getting sucked in.

    It’s made a huge difference to me and helped me understand situations better, and a large part of that is your willingness to name abuse and power dynamics for what they are when so many other people refuse to acknowledge that they exist or are relevant, and your refusal to victim blame when it happens. Acknowledging that things really can get bad enough to need safety plans and escape plans even if they don’t end up being needed is also really powerful Your scripts are also supremely helpful because understanding a situation and figuring out what to practically do about it are really different skills and being able to see a plan in advance for ways a conversation might go is really helpful to see written out.

    I think earlier ones I found helpful and often have in mind, are The Golden Retriever of Love, and The Rageasurus.

    Thank you so much for the time and effort your put into this and for all of the words that you write. They really do help people.

  126. Ten years! Congrats, Captain!

    I don’t even honestly remember how I got here, or when, but you, your advice and your commentariat are absolute treasures.

  127. Happy blogiversary and congratulations!

    I’m a long-time lurker – I don’t remember exactly when, but I came across you guest blogging at one of the feminist blogs I then read and followed you here. I think it would have been around post 100, give or take.

    I’ve gleaned a lot of bits and pieces about better communication and dealing with people over the years, plus permission act in ways that are counter to the apparent social norms, and am incredibly grateful. I recommend the blog to anyone I think will appreciate it.

    Looking forward to the next (however many) years!

  128. A friend recommended your website. I don’t remember the first post I read, I don’t remember any of the past one’s I’ve read! What I remember are all the fun phrases you’ve coined (Jedi hugs, and especially faaaaaamily, which I use with people I talk to all the time!), and the comments, and your responses to comments. I dearly miss the commenting part. I’ve wanted the freindsofcaptainawkward to be a replacement for commenting on posts, but it doesn’t seem like the community does it.

    Anyway, big congratulations to you. Whichever post was the first one I read, I was hooked, and have been reading ever since!

  129. Oh, after reading some of the comments I remember one. The letter from the person whose roommate wore pants that always showed the crack of her ass. I could not stop laughing! Still makes me laugh! I also remember Creepy Dude in Friend group, and Catholic Woman, and many from women and men who don’t understand why their friend or lover isn’t responding when they reach out and get nothing back. So much heartache out there, and yes, you’ve dealt with it so kindly. ❤️

  130. Too many insightful blogs to name the first, I was particularly drawn to “but faaaamily” posts initially. Many pithy comments & catch phrases from the commentariat are now daily grist for the mill, shared joyfully among a safe, honest & respectful friend group.
    I will be eternally grateful to you Captain for your kindness, strength & vision.
    Thank you & bless 💚

  131. Congratulations on ten years! I love it all, especially the AAM shared columns, and It Came from the Search Terms.

    It wasn’t a particular post or issue that brought me here. I teach adult English as a Foreign Language and I was looking for advice columns for my students to discuss and pretend to reply to. While most of your letters were not suitable for the conservative country where I worked then, I became a fairly regular reader myself. (At the same time, I also found Dan Savage of Savage Love, who I definitely could not use in class.)

  132. O wow, ten years.
    I don’t remember the post that brought me here either. A friend recommended me the blog. Like back in 2012 or 2013. The most valuable lesson I’ve learned here are boundaries. Also, somehow along with that and with everything else: actually, personal responsibility. The world is a messy place but boundaries and scripts do give you a whole lot of freedom to respond in your particular way. Because of this, I am way better at being honest, authentic, choose friends and loved ones carefully, understand my own feelings, create way less drama, take way less bullshit. The list could go on. Thanks so much for what you do for us, Captain!

  133. LOL, I had an awful, maniupulative boyfriend, so my bff sent me the Darth Vader Boyfriend post! But I may have read some of your earlier Spoons and Broken Stair posts as well? You just explain these things so perfectly. And your common sense words have helped me a lot, because I just get stuck in the social obligations part of the show when they happen to me IRL. Thank you!

  134. I don’t remember the first post that brought me here, but I wanted to say that this blog has changed my life–and I truly mean that, without any hyperbole! Every breakup I’ve gone through, I’ve spent so, so much time here after, and you’ve helped me heal and grow after the worst pains of my life. Everything I know about boundaries is from this blog. I’ve recommended you to nearly every person I talk to. So thank you, Captain, for all that you do for us–your clarity, insight, your way with words!

  135. Someone shared this post on bioscience twitter and I’ve been a devoted reader ever since I came across it:


    Really wish I’d found you a couple years earlier when I was embroiled in a secret Darth Vader relationship situation with a grad school lab mate :/ Your posts were the first things I read that made me feel like someone understood all the good and bad parts of what I’d gone through, and really helped me make piece with that time in my life ❤

  136. Happy anniversary? Birthday? Congrats! I have no idea how I got here it’s been way to long and my memory is full of holes. But it the advice on this blog has gotten me through Some Shit over the years and is still one of my favorite places on the internet.

  137. Happy Blog Birthday! I’ve been reading for about 5 years. I don’t remember how I found CA or what my first post was. The first thing that stuck in my mind was a story (can’t even remember if it was from a letter or a comment) about someone who hesitated to get first aid for a cut foot because they didn’t want to get yelled at for leaving bloody footprints on the carpet.

  138. I’m not sure what brought me here but the advice “it’s a social invitation, not a subpoena” has been life changing and helped me find ways to assert boundaries. Congrats on 10 years! I hope this keeps bringing you joy for a long time.

  139. I think it was someone I followed on twitter that linked to your blog in 2016-2017. It helped me understand my then newly ended relationship with my ex a whole lot better. Plus in general be more aware and better at using my words.
    I am a better person because of the things I’ve learned here. Thank you for everything you do!

  140. Congrats on your bajillionth anniversary! I can’t recall how I first found the site but I’ve been a devoted follower ever since. I dearly wish I’d had some of your counsel back in the day, and have been able to make use of some of it even in later life – though nowadays I’m more likely to want to recommend you to younger relatives who are just starting out on the “how to communicate under emotionally fraught circumstances” stages.

  141. I was linked here only a year or two ago via someone at Not Always Right referencing the “house full of bees” and then helpfully providing a link to explain what they meant. I have not read the whole archives, because I’m the sort of person who is interested in reading advice columns (and therefore have little need right now of most of your advice, as I never had a problem with setting boundaries and such in the first place). I have however read many stories from the archives, and found them good. I’ve even picked up advice I do not currently need, but will probably be helpful in the future! Thank you for the preemptive help Captain!

  142. I’ve been trying to summarize how much and in what ways I’ve needed Captain Awkward and the Awkwardeers these past 9 years or so, and I can’t. I just really, really REALLY appreciate you all.
    Thank you, Captain, for starting this and sticking with it.
    Jedi Hugs to all who want ’em!

  143. I’ve been here since 2015. (Damn.) I was a confused teenager in a relationship with another confused teenager and I don’t know what I would have done without this blog. I really appreciate the “how to human” advice. My favorite post is The Sandwich Means I Love You, and also the small quiet room. I reread those all the time, and send them to friends as applicable.

  144. Oh my goodness! So long. I think the one that brought me here was the Golden Retriever of Love, from a reference at another blog. I still consider it one of the best things I’ve ever read. And then once I was here I never left. Thank you so much for all you share with us. I have learned so much from you.

  145. Congratulations! I’ve been reading since at least 2014. I don’t remember what brought me here – maybe a link or comment on Smart Bitches, Trashy Books? But I do remember the first post I commented on – #579 and #580 “I’m so sorry for your loss” “No loss, really!”

  146. Someone used a term that had originated at Captain Awkward, and linked to some sort of Awkward glossary. I can’t remember what the term was (perhaps the velociraptors in the house, or the evil bees), but I know I read the entire glossary and then sought out the blog that came up with such terms. Happy tenth!

  147. I’ve been visiting semi-regularly for so long that I have no idea what post I came for originally, but it was probably from Shakesville. I then spent the rest of the evening and half the night reading your archives in full.

    I’ve gotten married and had two kids and several jobs since beginning to follow your blog, and I credit you with teaching me so many things about boundaries and relationships. I probably wouldn’t have stayed married when my husband and I were having issues but I started mentally writing you and realized I knew exactly what you’d suggest, and called a couples therapist who helped us work through our issues! I regularly suggest your posts to people on various groups who are having relationship issues.

    Thank you for 10 years of fabulous content and brilliant advice. You’re the first tab open on my phone because I come here regularly to catch up.

  148. One of my friends recommended the “From the search terms” posts about 3 or 4 years ago. I checked them out, laughed a lot, and then went on to read the rest of the blog or at least most of it. It has seriously done wonders for me. Seriously – words cannot express how useful I’ve found it! I’m constantly recommending this blog to people, particularly anyone who complains about their family to me. Also I’ve met many cool people thanks to doing meetups. So thank you very much!

  149. SO VERY LATE to this party, the cake got a little smashed in transit, happy belated birthday!! My introduction was about 7 years ago (broken glass guy was the most recent entry at the time) through a Facebook share of the Creepy Dudes in 322-323. I went on to devour the entire archive over the course of a week, which articulated so many things for me, and helped me become a better over all person! Not long after I started reading, my bestie called me in tears because her housemate had grossly violated her personal space and I put some of the Captain’s best advice to practice to validate her experiences and prop up the notion that she was not at fault. She said after that it was those statements specifically that helped her take action.

    Still here and still reading, bc no matter how “good” you think you are, there’s always room to grow. (Now here bc my own Darth Vader trampled on MY personal space and I totally fell back into “but there’s good in him!” NO. It’s been hard y’all.)

  150. Congratulations! I can’t remember the Very First Post I read here, but I do remember reading the Creepy Dude post, and being absolutely blown away by your post, then reading the archives. I’ve lurked off and on since then, but your philosophy and your comments have always made so much sense, it’s no surprise that I am another person who tries a little harder to do better. I’ve been following more on Twitter over the past few years, but I have realized that I need to share your blog with my stepdaughter for Reasons, so thank you again and best wishes for another ten fabulous years.

  151. This blog came to me on a wave of cringe and irony! One of the Creepy Dude questions was posted on Facebook by a certified Creepy Dude, who was using it as a way to publicly prove to his girlfriend/ child’s mom that she shouldn’t have male friends.

    Furthermore, he and I were only Facebook friends to begin with because when he and I met (I was with a mutual acquaintance and he ran into us), he gave me creep vibes and I gave him a fake name, so he went through her friend list till he found me. At the time, I was too worried about being impolite to block him.

    I’ve since become very fond of “impoliteness” in the face of creepers and have been happily perusing CA ever since. (And the latter most definitely informed the former!) The last I saw of Creep Boy, he was loudly and publicly lamenting his victimhood — by which I mean him contsantly getting his controlling ass dumped by every woman who had the misfortune to enter his orbit.

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