Jan. 7 Short Answers
Paula Forman and Jeff Johnson
Sunday, January 7, 2018
Dear Short Answers: Two good friends of mine recently broke up after a two-year relationship. Both of them seem angry at each other and are trying to get their friends to take sides. Each has basically said that if I see the other person, they won’t talk to me anymore. I like them both and am sorry that it didn’t work out, but I just want them to move on. How do I avoid getting caught in the middle of their foolishness? — Monkey in the Middle
Dear Monkey: They get to vent to a sympathetic ear for a short time. You can be kind without agreeing to demonize the former partner. Try “I’m sorry you are hurting.” If their childish demands continue, you are better off without both of them.
Dear Short Answers: In a very romantic moment last week, my boyfriend asked me to marry him. Actually, he said “if I ask you to marry me, what would you say?’ Of course I said “yes” because I was thrilled. The problem is that he hasn’t mentioned it since. Do you think this was a real proposal or was he just testing the waters? — Uncertain
Dear Uncertain: Sounds like it was a “dress rehearsal.” Give him a little time to do the bended knee thing.
Dear Short Answers: My ex has a new girl friend and I have some promising possibilities. Do you think we can now be friends? — Would Like It to Be So
Dear Would Like: Wishing won’t make it so. We have seen very few situations in which lovers can truly part as friends. It makes head-sense but no heart-sense. When it’s over, it’s over. The residual feelings are just that — residual sludge. Not the stuff of friendship.
A GUY WHO CAN’T HEAR “NO”
Dear Short Answers: There is a guy at work who has asked me out about a hundred times even though I keep saying “no.” He just won’t give up, and I don’t know what to do. He makes sure that we work on projects together every chance he gets and walks by my desk every two minutes. He’s a sweet guy and I don’t want to complain to HR because he really hasn’t done anything wrong. It just makes me feel bad to keep saying “no” and puts me in an awkward position at work. Is there something I can say that would finally get him to stop? — Not Interested
Dear Not: Insensitivity on his part does not require indulgence on your part. The next time he asks you out, or makes you uncomfortable with his attentions, tell him you are just not interested in him and that his continuing interest in you is not appreciated.
Dear Short Answers: My sister-in-law served food made by a caterer on Christmas Eve without telling us! Although it was quite tasty, I think she owed us an explanation! I could have outed her — I saw the plastic containers! What do you think? — She Cheated!
Dear Cheated: We think your sister-in-law is smart and you are stupid.
Life is complicated. “Short Answers” isn’t. Send a question about whatever is bothering you to firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.shortanswers.net and a psychologist and sociologist will answer. A selection of the best questions will be printed every Sunday in The Daily Reflector.