Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

Well, dear family, friends, and other readers, 2007's on its way out. Soon, I'm off to doll up for a fete and put on my fancy party shoes. I hope 2008 brings you peace and great happiness. Thanks for supporting me in this advice column venture of mine!

Did I disclose my feelings too soon?

Dear HTT,

A couple of weeks ago, a woman named L started working in the same department I work in. We've had some friendly conversations, have found several points of common interest, and seemed to get along well. I found out she had a boyfriend, but in our conversations she never referenced him, which I notice women tend to do when they want to let you know they're not available. The only reference came last week when she mentioned she had "been dating this guy, but he's an a$$," so they split up. She came back to work after her shift last week to go over some things (this is when she mentioned splitting up), then invited me to meet her and some friends out for drinks. I joined them, and had a nice time, and was invited by L's friend to attend a party the following night. I showed up the next night, had a great time, got to hang with L and meet more of her friends, and generally enjoyed myself. As I was saying goodbyes at the end of the night, L gave me a noticeably full hug, and told me she was glad to have a work-friend. I asked her (our arms still around each other) if I should then NOT have a crush on her, because "I can be your work friend, but I could also easily crush on you." L told me she was a wait-and-see person, and we smiled and said good night.

So, did I just give her too much info? Would it have been better to have just kept it to myself and wait-and-see? There are all these things that would be great about dating her, but then again, I work with her! I've always been one to think (and observe) that work relationships are bad news. Also, I'm in the midst of a time in my life when I question whether I should even BE dating! I'm letting the issue rest there unless she brings it up. I get along really well with just about everyone I work with, and L is no exception. As far as the crushing, I can keep it pretty compartmentalized... That is, if I don't have a few cocktails in me, which won't be an issue at work.

Was it OK to let her know? I wanted to put it out there so she could know where she stands, I guess: if she keeps inviting me out and giving me full body hugs, she's gonna' fan the flames. If she just keeps the friendship relegated to work and sees that I'm not stalker-material, she can be comfortable knowing that we can be friends, and a crush is often just a crush...


Don't Want To Creep Her Out

Dear Don’t Want to be Creepy,

I might not have confessed my feelings so early in the relationship, but then again, I’m a bit of a chicken in these matters. (See my description of toe-dipping.) I rather envy you your chutzpuh. You handled your disclosure exceedingly well: you were sweet and light-hearted about it, and you seem to be going into this with the right attitude. That is, you’re not love-sick and moony but rather a bit more devil-may-care. If I were this girl, I’d be flattered and, even if I didn’t share your feelings, I wouldn’t be at all creeped out by you. As long as you are true to your word and don’t start stalking her or acting mopey at work if your feelings aren’t reciprocated.

It’s been a few weeks since you wrote—sorry, I’m still in slacker mode—and I’m curious how things have progressed. From your description of events, it’s hard to tell whether she was behaving in a friendly or flirty manner, although, personally, I don’t tend to give long, full-body hugs to my guy pals. Especially not guys I work with. So, if you’ve read her wrong, I wouldn’t take it too hard or start to question your own judgment.

If you get a chance, let me know where things stand.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

My friend suggested I was smelly!

Dear HTT,

A friend just called to arrange to carpool to a clothes swap tomorrow. She closed by making sure I wasn't planning to go running right beforehand, since she doesn't want to try on clothes someone sweaty has tried on first. I didn't know what to say, so I said I, uh, planned on being clean. Then I hung up and started fuming.

How does one interpret a comment like that? The obvious choices are:

(1) You're always running and you smell; or
(2) You're too dumb to know that you should shower before trying on clothes, so I'm just letting you know.

A reasonable third option might be,
(3) I have an aversion to sweat, and that time I dragged you to the thrift store right after you went running, even though you pointed
out you were all sweaty, actually really grossed me out, but I didn't know how to tell you then, so I've saved that thought for three months and am letting you know indirectly now.

This is a friend who prides herself being "direct" about verbalizing
what she wants.

How does one respond to a comment like that? And how does one explain to an adult that there's a difference between being direct and being tactless? I have enough baggage with this friend already that it's hard to imagine discussing this without pulling out all her dirty socks. So I'd also appreciate advice on how to stay focused on the insult-at-hand rather than generating some new ones.

--Fuming But Not Smelly

P.S. If she ever discovers your website, she's gonna be pissed...

Dear Fuming,

I think the best response would have been something quick and sharp like, “Actually, I was planning to eat a head of raw garlic, run a few miles, and smoke a fat cigar before we went to try on clothes together. Duh.”

You have to consider the source of this comment. She obviously lacks tact, but since I’m feeling charitable, I’ll suggest that she’s probably not aware of how rude she comes across. Perhaps a tart response would jerk her back to the reality of how she sounds to others.

Once, I strutted into work, proud of an electric-blue faux leather jacket I’d found over the weekend. One of my friends gawked at it and declared, “My, you do love a gaudy accessory, don’t you?” I just burst out laughing and thanked my lucky stars that, unlike her, my entire wardrobe didn’t come from the old-lady rack at Talbots!

So, I guess if I were you, I’d just shrug it off, unless these sorts of comments start coming more frequently. If she continues in this manner, the next time she offends you, calmly point it out to her. (You know, use “I” statements and all that jazz.) Try not to pull out every example you have tucked away. But one or two might be helpful to show that your anger is caused by a pattern of rude behavior and isn’t just a factor of you being overly sensitive.

Good luck, thanks for writing, and sorry for the very late response!



Wow, I knew I'd neglecting my blog, but now I realize just how much: I couldn't remember my password when I tried to log in just now! I've been traveling (to Florida for fun and to Arlington for work), the holiday season and all related errand running and festivities are underway, and I've just been super busy. So, my apologies to all the friends and other readers who've sent me questions over the past few weeks. I really, really appreciate them (and you!), and I promise to get to them all soon.