New here?


The archive is giant, is it not? And the commenters all seem to know each other already and we use a secret language.

You can read the FAQ if you want commenting guidance, and check out this great fan-made glossary for terms like “Darth Vader Boyfriend.” In the meantime, here are a few “classic” posts to get you started.

On dating:

On friends with inexplicable attachments to terrible people:

On surviving breakups:

On friendship:

On mental health and self-care:


On creeps, jerks, and highly difficult people:

These are the posts that get linked to the most, and that I refer back to the most when writing new posts. Readers, is there something else you think should be here?

Happy reading and welcome.






35 thoughts on “New here?

  1. You may want to mention something about this being a safe space in the FAQ. I didn’t notice until I got through a good chunk of the archives. It came up in #477, which was a while ago and maybe got forgotten.

    1. Is there something specific missing from the FAQ with regard to this? Because it’s not a safe space (there is no such animal), it’s a moderated space and it’s very well-spelled out there.

  2. This site excludes some questions that people want answers to because they consume time and energy that could be spent on questions closer to the site’s focus. Before I post to a new site, I look for a statement of what kind of posts belong on the site. Presumably other new users also do this, so stating what’s considered on topic in the FAQ would help keep questions on topic.

    1. Okay, that makes sense. When questions are open, the link where you ask a question actually spells all this out. I’m full up for the time being so those instructions are hidden.

  3. The “How To Tighten Up Your Game At Work When You’re Depressed” post is one that I refer to a lot and link other people to frequently, if you have the time/capacity to add that here!

  4. Well, today I told my best friend (of 4 years) that I love him. He said “I love you too” started laughing, and told me I “need to stop playin around” What should I do ? .-. I don’t think he believes me.

  5. I saw your recent blog about your partner and his bipolar episodes. I don’t want to come off invasive, but if he hasn’t encountered it, Wellness Recovery Action Planning helped me learn to manage my episodes. You can get free copies online via. Google search and many health professionals find it a useful template to work through it with someone who suffers with episodes. It was years before someone told me about it and I thought maybe it was worth sharing.

  6. Longtime reader, first time commenter, but I think your series on the Art of No (especially how to say no once you’ve already said yes!) was foundational and could be helpful to include here!

  7. Dear JenniferP,
    I stumbled upon your letter by chance by typing in the search engine something about being bored to death due to the passivity of my interests (like watching t.v. or listening to the radio). I read your entry and it occurred to me that I can relate to what you are going through. Sometimes, when I am moved to speak, I find myself lost in midsentence quite unable to finish the expression of what I had intended to say. Sometimes, it seems, that I am a good conversation starter but not a very good conversationalist. Sometimes I ask a good question and my cohorts run away with the discussion while I find it hard to keep up. I consider this a personal failure which I attribute to an inability to listen and hear. I guess I don’t always pay enough attention to what is being said. Maybe listening is the key. You certainly cannot learn anything when you are talking or thinking about what you might say in response if you ever get the chance to speak again. At any rate, I don’t consider myself to be boring and neither should you.
    I don’t know how far along you are on your personal journey of self-discovery but I think that in time you will find that you are uniquely qualified to be yourself and that many people will find that that is sufficient cause for celebration. Besides, not everyone can be the life of the party. Know yourself and love yourself.
    You may find it necessary to be a moderator when it comes to participating in a conversation. This is because–try as you might–you can’t understand what is being said if you are trying to hear two or more people who are talking at the same time. And I always try to give everyone the courtesy of my attention when they are speaking.
    Personally, I don’t like being bored. I am frequently bored and that is just something I have to deal with in my own way. However, I find it hard to be bored when I am with others. If you are bored even when you are with others, maybe they are just boring people. Maybe you reflect what is projected. Or maybe you’re clinically depressed. I can relate to that, too. Whatever the case may be, know that self-image counts a lot in this life. Be confident. Be happy. Fake it if you have to; the trick will take you far. You may find you’re as happy as you make believe you are.
    Just a thought.

  8. Is there a schedule or something for when a new post is up? You were referenced so often at ask a manager that I came to poke around. I didn’t see anything in FAQs or the About page but I could be missing something.


  9. My daughter put me on to your site and all your amazing advice. Thanks in a part to you I have recognized and am leaving what is an essentially a selfish and emotionally abusing man. Thankyou

  10. This is a tech question — I tried to register at the Friends of Captain Awkward forum site … and now it says my registration is “inactive”. It then says ‘if you’re having problems registering, contact a Board Administrator” — but I have to be logged in to do that, apparently. Asking for a second confirmation e-mail has produced nothing — and I never saw a first confirmation email either. Is there something I should have done? Something you can do?

    1. I have no powers at the forum or access to the forums, I can try pinging one of the admins for you.

  11. Hi Jennifer and thanks. I’m another longtime reader, first-time commenter. I subscribed to your feed about a year and a half ago, via a link on the website where my journal is hosted. I have a few friends who I think would do well by visiting your site. I’m also somewhat familiar with the Wellness Recovery Action Plan, because a former staffer here where I live implemented it. Anyway thanks for a great site and keep it going.

  12. I also wanted to ask — If someone says they sell something that I’d like to look at, how do I email them privately to find out where they sell it on the web? May I post a reply asking the person to send me their product info? thanks

      1. I tried to sign up for the forum, but as maggiebea said above, “now it says my registration is “inactive”. It then says ‘if you’re having problems registering, contact a Board Administrator” — but I have to be logged in to do that, apparently. Asking for a second confirmation e-mail has produced nothing — and I never saw a first confirmation email either. Is there something I should have done? ” It just sends me in a loop.

  13. I need advice on what to do about neighbors who constantly “drop by” and don’t leave until after we have fed them. We have fed them more times than I can count. I am tired of it as we are never asked back and they just keep showing up on our doorstep. We have now resorted to not making anything hoping they’ll get the hint and leave but then my husband and I are starving so we eventually give in. We have waited until 9 pm several times and they still don’t leave. I am at my wit’s end !!! Please help!!!

    1. Hints don’t work. You have to tell them. Scripts:

      When they first come by: “This isn’t a good time!” & don’t let them in.
      “This isn’t a good time. Actually, been meaning to talk about this with you – we like you a lot, but we need you to call first and check if it’s okay to stop by.”
      “Hi, we’re about to make dinner and we only have enough for ourselves, can’t feed you tonight!”
      “Hi, we’re about to make dinner, and we only planned to cook for two. Next time you want to all have dinner together, let us know and we can come by your place.”
      “Ok, glad you stopped by, but we’re going to kick you out now – we have plans.” (Go grab dinner somewhere, without them if you must).

      If you actually like these people most of time, invite them over some other time, but make it clear that it’s not cool if they invite themselves.

  14. As a noob, what is the best way for me to findout if a question similar to mine has already been asked/answered? I’ve run some searches but the key words are pretty common (loud, friend, showing off!) and groups of words seem to return lots of results. Are there any search tips? Should I ask on the forum?
    I don’t want to annoy everyone asking a question that gets asked all the time.

    1. Do your best with the searches and the archives, and if you don’t turn up anything related, ask the question. I get waaaaaaaaay more than I can ever answer, so you won’t annoy me if you send something that’s already been asked, but also, I might not get to it or prioritize it.

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