THE GOOD DOCTOR

January 25th, 2006

The Doctor is in….permanently.

Yes! Dr. Michele Jaffe will now be hosting an Advice Column on her newly updated website, www.michelejaffe.com, where she will be dishing out daily (or at least almost daily) pieces of wisdom while answering your many, many letters requesting advice. In fact, answers to some of your letters to us may already be posted there. Click here to see.

While I myself am retiring from the advice business because we have such an expert online now, that doesn't mean you will be left advice-less. Oh, no. Please send all future requests for advice to Dr. Jaffe here, as she is much more qualified to help you with your problems than I am, given that she is an actual Harvard PhD and all (also sex ed counselor and manners expert and excellent shopper).

And if you are over thirteen and would like to win a copy of Michele's new book, click here and send an email to advice@michelejaffe.com. The first five people who send their name and snail mail address to Michele will get a copy of the hilarious BAD KITTY, which is available in bookstores everywhere NOW! (And if, while you're emailing to win, you were also to email a question for her advice column, I'm sure Michele would love it.)

So here, without further ado, is the last official batch of advice letters that will ever be answered on this blog (probably). All I'm going to say about it is…you people sure do like boys. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Dear Meg-n-Michelle:

I like this guy. He's my best guy friend and he knows that I like him. He told me that he just “doesn't feel the same way” but now he's sending all sorts of mixed messages, like slow dancing with me at a dance (RIGHT AFTER he told me that he didn't feel the same way) and walking me to my classes (even when they're kind of out of his way). What on earth is he doing? First he says he doesn't and then he sends signals he does. Help!!

–Perplexed

Dr. Jaffe responds:

Dear Perplexed,

Stop wrinkling your brow, help is here! I know this situation feels iper confusing, but it actually has a really simple solution. I can think of two things that would explain his behavior

—he does like you but he's afraid to admit it OR

–he feels guilty about not liking you and he's compensating.

But that doesn't really matter because whichever it is, there is only one thing for you to do: take him at his word, accept that you will always be just friends, and redirect your love at a new object.

If he secretly does like you but is afraid to say it, this is the path most likely to force him to admit it and make a move. And if he doesn't feel for you that way, then you're doing the right thing for both of you by moving on. I know that sounds hard, but please try. If not for yourself, then for your friendship: whatever his motivations he sounds like a nice friend, and this is the path most likely to preserve that friendship without putting a lot of strain on it as you pine for him.

Dear Meg and Michele,

I'm 18 and I've never been kissed. I've never even been in any kind of romantic relationship with a guy. This never bothered me that much until I got to college, but now I feel like I'm never going to meet the right guy, and I start to get really depressed. Guys do occasionally ask me out, but it's always THE WRONG GUY. The guy that I'm not attracted to at all, or the guy who is a complete jerk, or the guy who already has a girlfriend. This never bothered me before. But now, I'm starting to doubt I will ever meet the Right Guy. At the very least you can tell me that even if I don't know the right guy right now, I could still meet him at any time — in art class, at work, next door. Right?

Dr. Jaffe responds:

You. Will. Meet. Him.

But first, let's talk about ice cream! Say bubblegum was your favorite flavor of ice cream growing up. But tastes change, so how do you know it's still the one that makes your tastebuds go 'yuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuum!'? That perhaps you wouldn't prefer another flavor, like mint-chip? You can only tell by sampling different ones.

Guys are like ice cream. To find your favorite flavor you need:

1. a basis of comparison

2. an open mind.

Your saying 'the wrong guy' makes me worry you're hoping to reach into the boyfriend bucket and pull out Signore Perfecto the first time. How will you know he is your All Time Favorite and not just the Flavor of the Month? In college I dated guys who were all my “type”, meaning 'like the guys I'd dreamed of since I first got boobs' but the guy I married is totally unlike them.* I'm not suggesting you date jerks and especially not guys with girlfriends, but what about going out with the other guys? This will give you practice so when Signore Perfecto comes along you'll be more at ease—and more able to identify his minty goodness right away.

*Special note from Meg: The guy Michele married is soooooo cute in a total Seth Cohen way.

Dear Meg and Michelle,

There is this girl in my school, she's one class under me. Nobody really likes her in school because she is a back stabbing little rat. And she's a flirt. A few weeks ago, I got into a fight with her and she spilled her drink on me.I went to the Head Teacher and she took the other girl's side because 'I'm older and should know better.'I was a hero in class, all my friends cheered me on and defended me against her.

The problem is, I can't get her off my back! She keeps on bugging me and reminding me on how she 'won'. You have no idea how many times I felt like poking her eyes out with a tooth pick. I have one in handy.

I need your advice! How do I get her off my back? I tried ignoring her, but it doesn't work!!

–Go Ahead, Make My Day.

Dr. Jaffe responds:

Dear Go Ahead,

Keep that toothpick in its holster, cowgirl! You're in the enviable position of being on the High Road where the air is clear and the view is divine.

Here's the deal: FlirtRat is a sad girl who seeks attention to assuage the fact that she is tortured inside. It doesn't matter if it's positive attention (flirting with boys) or negative attention (pestering you until she gets in trouble), she just has to have her fix. She's obviously focused on you because you're groovy and popular, with all the qualities she wishes she had. Which means, sadly, that you may not poke her. And that ignoring her won't work because she'll keep at you until she gets what she wants—your undivided attention in hate or love.

So try this Jedi-style mind trick: be nice to her. Yes, you can have a cootie shot first. Say 'hi' to her in the hall with a smile like you mean it. Wave at her when she walks by. Give her a compliment. At first she'll either take it as another sign of her 'winning' (What. Ever. That is just sad she has to keep harping on that) or bristle because she thinks you're mocking her, but as she realizes that she can't get a rise out of you, she'll lay off and probably even be afraid of you.
(Commence victory-dancing)

Dear Meg and Michele:

Hi. I am having a bit of a problem. A few weeks ago my boyfriend and I broke up (he dumped me), and it wasnt a very good relationship to start with. Now he has expressed wishes of getting back together. I defini
tely dont want to go through what I had to go through then but the problem is I still really like him. What should I do?
–Broken

Dr. Jaffe responds:

Dear Broken,

RUN! RUN AWAY!

I mean it.

It's natural that you want to get back together with him, but D-O-N-
APOSTROPHE-T. The nicest thing this guy did for you was break up. I'm going to assume he realized that you're too good for him, and I suggest you keep that thought in mind too, because you are. There are times for getting back together, and there are times for not, and this is a NOT time. The phrase 'it wasn't a very good relationship to start with' is what tipped me off. It's not surprising you still like him because it takes people awhile to change the flow of their feelings, but the smartest thing you can do is not go back to him. The chances of him hurting you again are huge. Megachances is what they are. The pain you are feeling now is something that will heal and make you stronger, and your liking for him will dim; the sooner you put him out of your life, the sooner you can start feeling better.

Whenever you find yourself wavering, repeat “Michele and Meg think I'm too good for him.” We do and you are.

Dear Meg and Dr. Jaffe,

I am a sophmore in High School. I have had lots of little crushes, none that mean anything, but recently I have fallen hard for this guy. Whenever I walk past him he glances up and down repeatedly. Then when i go inside he follows a few seconds after, and he has taken to hanging around near the place my friends and I meet. I have never spoken to him but somehow feel connected with him. So here is what I've been trying to ask you: should I talk to him or is it just a meaningless crush.

-Help Wanted

Dr. Jaffe responds:

Dear HW—

So you've fallen really hard for a guy you…have never talked to? Well I think it's time! Do it! What do you have to lose? I will tell you:

Either you will like him more, or you will stop having a crush on him. If it's the second one, you might feel a little empty for a few days but then you get to go on and have a whole new crush. Which is fun.

The real question is, what do you want to have happen? Do you want to find out if he actually has a voice and possibly exchange words–or more—with him? Or do you prefer you like the fun flirtiness of lingering glances and unspoken desire?

If you answered 'yes' to the first question, talk to him. Because it sounds to me like he is totally interested in you, and so if you make the first move and talk to him, the chances of it turning into something more are good.

But if you answered 'yes' to the last question, then don't. Because then you're more interested in having a crush then the object of the crush, and talking to him would ruin it.

Dear Meg & Michele,
My best friend and another friend of mine both think that all of the guys they meet like them. I don't think so but I don't know: should I say something.

Smiling Behind Their Backs

Dr. Jaffe responds:

Dear Smiling,

I know this one! I totally know it. The right answer is:

No. Do NOT say something.

Here is why: no matter what your motives are, it won't have a good effect. Either your friends will end up feeling cruddy, or, and this is more likely, it won't change their minds about the guys at all but it will make them mad at you. Because their whole 'Boys Luv Us' thing isn't actually about them thinking they are putting the 'It' in 'Hot Banana Split'. It's about them feeling insecure. They buy into the fantasy of their popularity to help them project self-confidence when they feel on shaky ground.

Which does not change the fact that it's booooooooooooooooooring and tedious to be around. But it does suggest that there's a better way to deal with it than to give them Cold Hard Facts. Instead of mentioning what the boys really think (and who even knows what boys think? Or if they think? Boys=mystery), try to recognize that your pals are feeling insecure and be extra nice to them. It will return them to being the pals you love again much faster than the Truth.

Dear Meg and Michele,

I'm losing my mind. The guy I like sits near me in every class and we are friends and he tells me about every girl he plans to go out with. He has gone out with almost every girl in our group except for me and I don't think he will ever think of me as girlfriend material instead of best buds. I really don't want to ask him out because he breaks up with his girlfriends like a week after he asks them out. Everyone of my friends is trying to make me stop liking him, but I can't help it. Then this other guy in my group of friends apparently likes me and is going to ask me out sometime soon, and I like him but I kind of want to keep my options open for the first guy. Please help.
~losing her mind

Dr. Jaffe responds:

STOP IT! STOP DATING GUYS THAT ARE BAD FOR YOU! ALL OF YOU! RIGHT NOW!

Okay, deep breath.

Now, LHM, you say, in your own words 'I don't want to ask him out because he breaks up with girls…” etc. So, um, what's the problem? WHY DO YOU LIKE HIM? You know he's not good boyfriend material. Unless…wait I've got it! You are harboring a Secret Hope that he likes you and that is why

a) he's dated everyone but you and

b) he broke up with all of them.

Aha! Caught you!

Since I lost my psychic's license, we have to resort to Tactics to suss out his feelings. You have two choices: Direct or Stealthy.

Direct: Ask him out. Done.
Stealthy: Go out with the Other Guy.

HOWEVER, if you go with Stealthy, you should not be doing it just to use Other Guy as a way of making the guy you (think) you like jealous. You may only go out with Other Guy if you are actually interested in him. That is my decree. Because we do not use people To Our Own Ends due to it bringing very bad karma and break outs.

From Meg:
That poor girl. I know just how she feels. I too was friends with a guy who asked out every single girl I knew. Except me. Possibly it was because I was dating his best friend. I didn't know, and it drove me crazy.

In any case, as soon as the best friend and I broke up, I asked the guy out. And now we're married.

I'm just saying. Be careful what you wish for.

Well, that concludes our final advice column on this blog. If you have a problem, and need some advice, ask your mom. I'm serious, people—moms really do give good advice. And it could be a nice bonding moment for the two of you. Believe it or not, your mom has probably been through what you're going through.

But if for whatever reason, you can't ask your mom, then go see the doctor—Dr. Jaffe, that is.

More later.

Much love,

Meg

PS Check out my new hobby.