Advice

Miss Information

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Have a question? Email erin@nerve.com. Letters may be edited for length, content and clarity.



Dear Miss Information,
My boyfriend is your typical twenty-three-year-old man. Sort of selfish, sort of immature, and that’s fine. My problem is that, lately, he’s changed. He’s been getting really drunk and smoking lots of pot. He quit his job and on the whole has been a real douchebag. He keeps calling me names. He even pushed me up against a wall. He won’t talk to me about what’s going on, and I’m really seeing no other choice but to leave him. But Miss Information, I don’t want to leave him! I’m in love with him, or at least with the person he was before he quit his job. What do I do? Sick Of It

Dear Sick Of It,

This guy’s a twat, sweetheart. He pushed you. Even if he didn’t push you or you pushed first or both of you pushed each other at the exact same time, it doesn’t really matter. He’s still a jobless alcoholic and a pothead with a lousy communication style. How many more reasons do you need to leave him?
You’d think a decision like this would be easy. Try telling that to Pam and Tommy. (At least you don’t have to pull yourself away from pretty baby-deer eyes and an enormous wang.) Half the time you hate him, the other half he’s this nice guy who deserves your sympathy. Basically, you don’t know what to think.
Let me do the thinking for you. Here are three reasons why you need to release this boy from the position of Douchebag Boyfriend, effective today:
1) Everything we talked about above — the substance abuse, verbal nastiness, and most of all, the push.
2) The “Set-Up Test” — If you weren’t dating him, would you fix him up with your best friend or sister? No? Then what are you doing? Why do they deserve quality guys while you play Mother Theresa?
3) Other Boys — There are a multitude for whom keeping their shit together and being nice to their girlfriends comes easy.
Finally, some homework for you, Sick Of It. A little reading on domestic violence and a list of resources in case your boyfriend’s behavior gets any worse. You might laugh this off or think it’s too early, but it’s really important you check it out. People in your situation tend to do a lot of minimizing. You need to recognize these unhealthy patterns and start fighting them early.

Dear Miss Information,

I am a bisexual female. I picked up this girl at a bar and asked for her number. She gave it to me. The next morning I called to say “hi” and inquire about her hangover. We talked for a bit, then she said she had to go. I tried calling her again later that day. No response. I left a message. She texted back and said she’s busy at work but that she’d call me later. A few hours later, I was nearby, so I offered to stop by her work and bring her coffee — this was also via text. Now it’s been two days. What should I do next? Did she decide I was too overbearing? — Think I Fumbled

Dear Think I Fumbled,
Holy cow, woman. You contacted this person three times in less than a day. That’s more than I talk to my sister. I talk to my sister a lot. I’ll call her to tell her I saw someone in leather pants or that I got a cut on my ankle or that I really don’t get why people are so into garbanzo beans. What you should do next is nada. Absolutely nothing. You’ve already fucked it. If you see her around, smile and be cordial, but let her initiate the engagement.
Your lesson for the future: dating is not about immediacy or convenience. It’s about build-up and restraint. No-notice dates require a kind of familiarity that you haven’t earned or established. Same with favors, like offering to get someone’s dry cleaning or (in your case) buying them coffee. You think you’re being solicitous and spontaneous, but it comes off as ill-mannered and a touch mental. Tone down the enthusiasm next time and you’ll see better results.

Dear Miss Information,
I’m pretty sure a girl is blowing me off. We only went out twice, right before I left the country for a three-week period. I emailed her a couple times while I was gone. No response. I called when I got back. No response again. We run in vaguely the same social circles, so I don’t want to get too weird, even though I really like her. Mostly I was just wondering what the appropriate number of attempts to communicate is before I give up. I’ve never actually been blown off before, though that’s more of a statement on my lack of experience than anything positive about myself. Help! Hating the Waiting

Dear Hating the Waiting,
You are getting blown off, that is correct. The maximum allowed before you venture into inappropriate, trying-too-hard and/or stalker territory is one contact per each of two methods.
Example #1: You send an email. A few days go by. You don’t hear anything. It’s permissible to call and leave a brief message. Don’t mention the email she ignored. We’re not here to blame anyone. Leave your number and an email address at the end so there’s no chance to pull the old, “Oh, I don’t have Caller ID. My cell is made of cast iron and runs on a hand crank.”
Example #2: You call and leave a voicemail. Your cell is now silent for the next three days. You are within your limits to send her an email. Again, be casual and non-accusatory, and make sure to mention a specific activity and/or date. A lot of people are afraid to do this. It just seems like an open invite for rejection. But people are much more compelled to respond to a specific invitation than to something wussy and vague like, "Hey, how’s it going?"
At this point, any weirdness you’ll experience in social circles falls squarely on this lass’s shoulder. She’s the one being immature and avoidant. Yes, long explanations and Dear John letters are not required. It’s only been two dates. Yet writing up a nice blowoff email only takes milliseconds. Maybe she’ll have more time now that the demise of Scrabulous has crushed our spirits and freed up several hours in our online day.


Previous Miss Info

©2008 Erin Bradley and Nerve.com