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Meg's Blog

Guy Advice

Regular readers of this blog know that periodically I devote entries to answering reader emails—many of which, I've discovered, are requests for love, career, and friendship advice.

While I do not consider myself in any way qualified to offer advice on these subjects, I have enlisted the aid of my friend and fellow author, Dr. Michele Jaffe, who, unlike me, has worked as a peer and sex ed counselor, and also has a PhD from Harvard, so at least has some experience answering questions about the vagaries of life.

Today's blog is devoted entirely to your questions about boys.

Special note: Every attempt has been made not only to hide the identity of the original authors of the following letters, but also to combine similar letters in order to save time and spare our poor, tired fingers.

Okay, here we go:

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Meg, my best friend is a guy who I am terribly in love with. We have so much in common, we talk to each other about anything. Needless to say, we're very close.

His other guys friends tell me that he likes me. So many people think that we go out. He does act jealous when I talk about other boys. But he wants us just to be friends.

I'm having such hard time with that decision. He knows how I feel, I told him, but I don't understand how this is ok with him. I don't think it's possible for us to stay just friends anymore now that he knows.

I need to talk to him but I don't know what to say.

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Meg:

Personally, I don't think there's much you CAN say. You already told him you like him, and he said he doesn't feel the same way. You can't talk him into liking you if he doesn't, no matter how his friends say he really feels. You AREN'T friends anymore, because your friendly feelings have changed to love.

I'd distance myself from him in a friendly but firm manner, to give yourself time to heal and time to get your head straight again…and also give HIM a taste of what life is like without you. Who knows? Maybe when you aren't around so much anymore, he'll realize he DOES love you, and come around.

Or maybe he won't.

In any case, you need to give the friend thing a breather for a while, so you can get your life—and heart—back on track.

Michele:

I agree. Asking anyone 'why don't you want to go out with me' almost never ends well, and could destroy your friendship, if it hasn't already. In this case, it could put Best Friend on the spot and he might very likely say something he doesn't mean in a reactionary way, like how dogs bark when they are scared.

I think you should cool it on the Do You Love Me thing for about two weeks. During the two weeks you should be your normal excellent self and direct a lot of energy into looking good and feeling CONFIDENT about yourself. This will make everyone notice you, and especially Best Friend.

At the end of the two weeks, if he doesn't break down and ask you out, and if you still feel the same way about him (which you fully might not by then), I think you should say, “Um, Best Friend, I'm confused. It seems like you like me, but you say you don't want to go out. I'm getting mixed messages from you, so I was wondering, where do we stand?”

But hopefully the two weeks will be enough either to prod him to act on his feelings (when he sees his other friends wanting to get close to you and stuff because you seem even more cool and nice and interesting than before)…or at least enough to change your feelings back to normal friendship so you can move on to a guy who will actually appreciate your fine attributes.

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Dear Meg and Michele,
Me and both of my best friends all like the same guy……………and we are pretty sure he likes one of us! How can we tell which one of us he likes?

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Michele:

BAD WAY: Call him and pretend to be a telemarketer doing a study about popular girls names and wanting to know if there is a 'special girl' in his life and what the first letter of her name is.

GOOD WAY: Ask him out for pizza with all of you–but tell him he has to bring enough guy friends so that each of you girls get paired up. If there are three of you, he should bring two guy friends, etc. It should become clear early on which of you he likes by whoever he ends up sitting next to, and whoever he assigns his friends to sit next to.

[CAUTIONARY NOTE: Agree ahead of time that this isn't going to mess up your friendship AND NO FINGERS CROSSED. That means no gloating, no moping, no blaming.]

Meg:

Back in my day, we'd have dragged him to Western Skateland in a big group of boys and girls, and whoever he asked to skate with during Couples Only would be The One He Liked. You could try something like that. Maybe a round or two of Dance Dance Revolution Party?

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Meg
I like this guy as a friend, and he just asked me out. I think I'd have a good time, but I really don't like him in that way, and I don't want to play games with him. Should I say yes?
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Michele:

Yes, yes a thousand times yes. I mean, if you think you're going to have a good time, why not? Saying 'yes' to him isn't saying 'I am going to be your sweet cowgirl of love for all time, Rodeo Man'. It's just saying “Yes, let's Dance Dance Revolution Party, or whatever.”

And you could be totally surprised. At the end of the date, if he asks to see you again and you had a good time, go; if not, you can say, 'Thanks that was great, but I don't think so.' There might be like two awkward minutes, but then it will go away. At the very worst, you end up with a new friend.

Meg:

Yeah, I say go. It doesn't mean you're married. If by the end of the night you still don't like him in a romantic way, and he asks you out AGAIN, you might want to say no, even if you had a good time, because saying yes would be leading him on, unless you add, “Yes, but you know I only like you as a friend, right?” Then he knows what he's up against, and it's his decision if he wants to keep trying to woo you or not. I mean, if he likes you, it's up to him to get you to like him back in the same way. That's what dating is all about!

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Dear Meg and Michele,
I want your advice on something. There's this guy in our class who all of a sudden has started paying attention to me and stuff, like, teasing me and stuff, but in a nice way. I don't know if he's flirting with me or not, or if he likes me all of a sudden, and if he does, like me I mean, what should I do about it? I don't like him like that, just as a friend, and the worst part is, if my friend found out that he liked me and all that, she would get really mad, 'cause she likes him and even asked him out once, but he was going out with this other girl at the time and I don't think he likes my friend like that anyway. Well, if you can get to it, thanks for the advice.
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Michele:

There's no question that he's flirting with you and that he likes you. But since you SAY you don't like him, and since your best friend really does, and since he hasn't asked you out or anything, then the clear thing to do is…
nothing. If at some point he does ask you out, you need to be very honest with yourself about whether you want to go. If you're honestly not interested, and honestly worried about hurting your friend, then obviously you should say “Thanks so much but I can't.”

If you ARE interested in him, AS I SUSPECT YOU ARE, then you should say to your friend, “Look, Hottie Hot Honey asked me out. Will it upset you if I go out with him?” and take it from there.

Meg:

Yeah. Then don't go if she says it will upset her. Friendship is more important than boys. Especially a boy you “don't like like that.”

Michele:

WAY more.

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okay so i have this problem. I have a boyfriend and I am not one of those girls who do “things” I mean yeah I will make out with him but he is one of those guys who wants me to do things in the below waist area(if you know what I mean). So I dont want to do those things with him because I feel I am too young but I dont want him to be mad at me or break up with me. And yeah yeah yeah i know that if he doesn't respect my opinion he is not a good boyfriend and I could do better BUT I REALLY LIKE HIM! A LOT! I really need your help I dont want to do things with him but I do not want him to break up with me (because I know he will if I dont do things with him, break up with me I mean) so PLEASE HELP!!
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Meg:

You said it yourself in your letter, but we'll say it for you again: if the dude dumps you because you won't put out, HE IS NOT WORTHY OF YOUR LOVE. I KNOW you like him, and I KNOW his dumping you will hurt. But if he breaks up with you because you won't have sex with him, HE DOESN'T LOVE YOU. And why, no matter how you feel about him, would you want to stay with someone who doesn't feel the same way about you that you do about him? Because another guy WILL come along who will love you the way you deserve. I PROMISE.

Michele:

Right. If he's going to break up with you because you won't head for a home run with him, then he doesn't like you for you, he likes you for sex. Which you already know. He's basically saying “I don't care what you want, what I want is all that matters, and if you won't do it, I don't like you any more.” Way to be a two year old. And way to treat you with far far less respect and love than you deserve–especially from someone you're considering getting hot and heavy with.

Let's look at some scenarios:

Scenario 1: You say yes. You do what he wants you to do, even though it makes you uncomfortable and unhappy, but you do it to please him. In three months, a) he breaks up with you anyway, because he never loved you and was just looking to score, or b) you can't stand him anymore, because he had so little respect for your feelings. Either way, not a good outcome.

Scenario 2: You say no. He breaks up with you. You cry hot salty tears into your pillow for two weeks. But sometime shortly after that you'll find another guy, or someone to have a crush on, and you'll be able to be in that relationship without having to work through all the pain and feelings of betrayal that you would have had if you'd given this guy everything he wanted and he still broke up with you.

Scenario 3: You tell him no, that you're not ready, and he surprises you and says 'okay, we'll take it slow.' This is a GREAT outcome. You are now assured that he likes you as a person, and cares about what makes you feel good. You may find you *want* to go below the waist with him after he shows you this.

But this is another letter entirely and we already answered that one in the last advice blog a few months ago.

Meg:

Yeah, it's called Our Bodies, Ourselves, available in all the better bookstores. Get it. Read it. Live it.

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Help. Is there any way to become un-crushed on someone, without finding an
alternate crush? I've liked a guy for more than four months now, but
he's had a girlfriend the entire time, and it's just making me miserable
(especially because we're good friends, and he's started talking to me
about the girlfriend now).

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Michele:

Try focusing your creative attention on something else—school work, learning to play an instrument, even writing a book. Crushes are a question of mind control. Simply making yourself think about something besides him will help. At first you will have to keep reminding yourself, but then it will come more easily. And while it will always BE there in your mind—until you move on to someone else—at least you'll have it under control.

Meg:

Yeah. Just knowing you HAVE the crush, and that it's kind of wrong, helps you get uncrushed.

PS: You could try stick it out, then when they break up, Make Your Move. You never know. After all the stuff he told you about the last girlfriend, at least you'll have a head's up on his dating likes and dislikes. Know what I mean?

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Hi Meg (or possibly Michele),
I need your advice. My friend is like, in love with this guy in our year and it's all she talks about! He sometimes hangs around with our group but she's too shy to talk to him. She says she doesn't want him to know she likes him and she often tries to get over him but then starts talking about him for the rest of the day!!! This has been going on for over a year and I don't want to be the one to tell him she likes him coz it will hurt her feelings but it's seems like it's the only way. Is there something else I can do to stop her obsessing over this guy or will I have to put up with it for the rest of my life!!!
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Meg:

I had a friend who was like this. Here's what I told her: “Look, you're constantly talking about this guy. It's really getting boring. I want my old friend, who could talk about fun things, back. Either DO something—like go up and talk to him—or else you can only talk about him to me from nine o'clock to nine-oh-five every day. The rest of the time, when you start talking about him, I'm sticking my fingers in my ears and humming the Star Spangled Banner.”

And then I really stuck to it. She finally got the message after I spent like TWO DAYS with my fingers in my ears, stopped talking about him, went up to him at a party, said hello, and they hooked up. Then she figured out she didn't like him after all and dumped him. Then when she started up with the next guy, I gave her the same speech. Worked like a charm every time. Remember, be FUNNY (but firm) about it—NOT MEAN.

Michele:

Or, alternatively, you could have a movie night at your house, and invite him and your friend to it. Then you could contrive to sit them together on a couch or something. Very often getting people out of their regular environment makes them act differently, and could ease some of your friend's shyness–or his.

Meg:

This is nicer than sticking your fingers in your ears. This is why Michele has more friends than I do.

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meg
last year my best friend was a guy. we went moshing in concerts, skateboarded, hung out, everything. this year he has a new best friend… my older brother. hes all… preppy now. hes still always at my house, but now hes my brothers friend. and now hes HOT. i really like him, but i cant ask my brothers best friend out. what should i do? and why di
d he ditch all his old friends for these preppy jocks?
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Meg:

To answer your last question first, people change. Especially during the teenage years. This means they occasionally dump old friends and get new ones, because their interests change. You aren't interested in the same things now as when you were twelve, right? Well, neither is your former best friend.

Michele:

My question to you is, do you really like him the way he is now, or are you just hanging on to an image of him the way he USED to be?

Because he might be doing the same thing—hanging onto an image of you as the girl he used to skateboard with, not the beautiful vital young woman you are now. You need to get him to see you as Girlfriend material not just Girl-Who-Was-A-Friend material. Since you want a different kind of relationship than the one you used to have, you need to show him you're different now too. You could say something to him like “Why don't we ever hang out any more,” if you are the direct type.

But you also have a total built in advantage over other girls if he's hanging out at your house a lot. You can work with that, not by hanging around him and your brother all the time, but by showing him what a fun life you have, how you are a woman of Mystery and Intrigue, and by occasionally sending him the Long Lingering Glance as you traipse out the door to some fun social or school thing (even if you're only going to the library—HE doesn't have to know that).

Meg:

In the meantime, also ask yourself this question: Are you just looking for what you once had with him (ie friendship)? Or do you really want him as a boyfriend? Because it almost sounds like you don't like the New Preppie Guy he's become, and if that's true, don't count on changing him back to the Way He Was. He probably likes who he is now, as opposed to how he was back when you two were moshing. You have to respect that, even if you don't like it.

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I have this really great guy friend, who is my best friend, and i am totally in love with him. We do stuff together all the time and talk on the phone and he is always saying things like ” I LOVE YOU!!!” and hugging me. But then he will tell me who he “thinks” he likes, and whenever i send out those chain letter quizes (that get on everyone's nerves but they feel obligated to fill out) he will fill out the “guy only” sections with answers like….”you know we arent like that”, or “you are younger (im 14 he's 16) but you never know! What do all these mixed signals mean??–Confused
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Michele:

I think they mean he's confused also.

Meg:

Because he's gay?

Michele:

I don't mean that. I meant that it could also be that without realizing it, the author of this letter is sending out mixed signals too. Confused, when he tells you who he thinks he likes, what do you say? Are you nice and supportive and all 'Oh she's nice, you'd be cute together'? He could interpret that as you not caring who he dates, in other words, that you don't think of as a boyfriend. Like using questions to test how YOU feel about HIM. Ditto with the age thing–perhaps he's bringing it up to see how you respond.

So maybe the thing to do, next time he says he thinks he might like someone is say, in a joking way, “What about me? Go out with me instead, I'm nicer and cuter,” and see how he reacts. If you do it jokingly, then you can always say you were just kidding, so it doesn't look like you're asking him out. But if you get him at the right moment, and its what he wanted to hear, it could work out perfectly.

Meg:

Unless he's gay. I'm not saying he IS gay. I'm just saying, a lot of guys I liked back in high school, guys who were my best friends, turned out to be gay.

And this isn't such a bad thing. Yeah, they didn't want to date me. But they gave EXCELLENT fashion tips.

Just something to keep in mind.

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Dear Meg and Michele,

I am getting a crush on this guy. We go to the same school and are in the same grade, so he IS obtainable. I know he likes me as a friend, or at least sees me in a friendly light, for reasons too long to explain here. But I can't tell if it goes in any deeper on his part. He's a friendly guy, and a few of his other friends are girls, so he may like one of them better than me, and there's no way to really tell. I want him to know I like him, but I don't want to scare him or make him feel guilty if he likes someone else better. This is the worst part–one of my good friends has a crush on him too. I know she does, but she doesn't know I know. And she doesn't know I like him too. So. Is there any way to get out of this? Can I get the guy I like without hurting his feelings or the feelings of my friend? I don't want to break my friend's heart, or lose her friendship, but I can't lose my friendship with this guy either.
Any advice you can give will be greatly appreciated! Thanks!!
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Meg:

If your friend really doesn't know that you know she has a crush on him, then I suggest you pretend you don't know, and preempt her, and tell her YOU have a crush on him. That way, if something happens between you, you declared first and your friendship with her is protected and you aren't hurting her feelings.

Michele:

Now for the guy: I know I keep saying this, but doing something with him and a group of friends outside the school setting, if possible, would be ideal. This allows people to be themselves and break off into groups that sometimes are harder to see at school.

If you can't do this–whether its pizza or going to the mini grand prix, or having a car wash to raise money for your class or something–then you're either going to have to take a risk or be very patient. If you're up for the risk, you could do something to indicate your interest, like asking him what he's doing over the weekend and if he wants to hang out. If you get cold feet after doing this, or if you don't like his response, you could then add, “I mean, with everyone else too.”

But if you do that, you're sending him a mixed message, and you're not going to learn anything.

It could be that he's not sure how he feels. Right now he may like all of you, and so indicating your interest will give you an advantage. To me this is a risk worth taking, because the worst thing that happens is he thinks you have a crush on him but isn't quite sure, and he doesn't reciprocate. In which case, if he's a nice guy (WHICH I HOPE HE IS IF YOU LIKE HIM) he'll be flattered but not go all bragging on it, so no damage.

If, however, you're not the risk taking type, then you're just going to have to sit back and wait and make due with flirtatious glances, note passing, hand brushing, and the occasional joke question like “You're just saying that because you are hot for So and So” while carefully watching his reaction. [See earlier question about guy who is sending mixed messages to his friend for example of the kind of questions you could ask, and the confusion you could end up in].

Admittedly, doing this could be kind of fun because you will then have to spend hours puzzling out the exact meaning of every flick of his eyelash.

But it could also be really tedious and, if he's waiting for a sign to choose who he likes, you could miss the love boat.

Meg:

And that would be a tragedy.
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meg,
okay well my big “prom” is coming up I put prom in quotes because it is actually just a banquet but it is like our prom (lame I know) but this year it is not going to be lame because the guy I have liked for like 1 and 1/2 years finally asked me.

well one of my good friends is mad she has a major crush on him and I was her date. So not only did I break our “date” but I broke it for the guy she is like in love with. So now she is telling me how he is a bad guy and making up rumors. So what do I do (other then breaking the date with the guy)?
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Meg:

She doesn't sound like a very good friend to me. I mean, I can understand that she's hurt, but making up rumors? That's a bit Mean Girls of her. Besides, you liked him first and she knew it, right? That's how it sounds from your letter.

Michele:

I agree. I think there's no question you must go to the prom with Mr. Dreamykins. So that's settled. And while your friend has a legitimate gripe–now she's dateless–dealing with that is as easy as ABC.

A: APOLOGIZE to your friend. Right now she's feeling angry and jealous, and that just sucks. I mean, not only did you break your date with her, you did it for the guy of her dreams…who is also the guy of your dreams. [ASIDE: THIS IS WHY IT IS BAD FOR TWO PEOPLE TO CRUSH ON THE SAME GUY. AVOID WHENEVER POSSIBLE]. Listen to her rant, and be extra nice and supportive to her. It is NOT okay to gloat or say things like “look, just face it, he likes me better.” It IS okay to say “Come on, we have both liked him for the past year and you know you would have done the same thing to me. But this rumor thing has got to stop.”

B: BE A MATCH MAKER. Work overtime to find a cool date for your friend, enlisting the help of Mr. Dreamdate. Maybe there's someone out there who has a crush on her. At first she might resist and be all pouty, but if you can come up with someone really fun, chances are she'll come around. Make it your mission to find her a date to replace you; that way she still get to go to the prom AND she knows you're not ditching her for some guy. Also you can stop feeling guilty.

C: Climb into your limo and CELEBRATE! Its prom night! Have a fabulous time! Don't forget to put Band-Aids in your purse in case your shoes give you blisters!

Meg:

And bring a Listerine pocket pack in case your breath—or his—starts to reek from the icky punch.

Oh, and be sure to do something nice with your friend the next day, just the two of you, to make up for ditching her for a guy.

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OK I need help.
There's this guy at school who is way more popular than I am and totally don't seem to notice that I exist, even though I have a HUGE crush on. I want to ask him to go to the Graduation Dance with me, but I am really too shy and afraid that he'll say no. Plus, what if he doesn't like the fact that a girl is asking him out instead of the other way around? PLEASE HELP!
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Meg:

Wow. This is so like an episode of Made I saw once. And it did not end happily.

Michele:

I agree. All I have to say about this is that you will have a MUCH more fun time at the dance if you go with someone you know well, rather than with someone that you are going to be nervous about impressing. Sometimes things you've been dreaming about forever can't possibly live up to your expectations, and the disappointment is hard. Rather than staking your happiness on going with a guy who, by you own admission, you can't know well (“doesn't seem to notice I exist”), you should go with a friend with whom you can laugh and dance and have a great time.

But if you still want to ask him out, the first thing to do is to find out if he already has a date to the dance. If he does not, then you just have to ask him. The best way to do it is to either IM him, call him, or find him alone at school. They each have advantages: if you IM or call him he won't see it if you turn strange blushing colors or are shaking and you can prepare a script ahead of time and read from it if you find yourself freaking out. Like “Hello, Man-About-Whom-I-Dream-Every-Night, I was wondering if you want to go to the dance with me” and then if he says yes you say “Excellent! I was thinking we could have Chinese food first” or whatever.

And if he says no you say “Oh well, I thought it would be fun, a group of us are going. Well, see you there,” and hang up and hyperventilate. But at least you will have said only what you wanted to.

The downside to this is that then you have to face him the next day at school. Asking him face to face is a lot harder, at least for me, but it gets it all over with right away and removes the 'facing him the next day' issue.

I still say going with a friend, or someone you sort of know, rather than a crush (see Crush Blog from last advice segment about how crushes are often disappointing), will be WAY more fun and less stressful.

But if its got to be Mr. Crushy Crush, then GOOD LUCK! May the force be with you.

Meg:

Remember, you'll never know until you ask. The worst that can happen is that he'll say no. And tell the whole school, like on that episode of Made. But then you can write a song about it with Princess Superstar and play it at the dance, and that will teach him a lesson.

Or you could just go with a friend and at the dance, dazzle Mr. Popular with your new makeover. That's what I would do.

Okay, well, this has been the Guy Portion of our Advice Blog. I hope it's been helpful. We will be back shortly with Friendship/Career advice. So stay tuned….

More later.

Much love,

Meg

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