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Friday, February 10, 2012

208

Escaping, Tipping, and Moving Forward

I'm a young professional guy, and I recently fell in love with my best friend. We slept together a few times, but she wasn't ready for a relationship, and I really wanted one. We're still very good friends, and we hang out regularly.

Now I'm with a new lady, and she's amazing. She's gorgeous, funny, intelligent, and dresses well. But I still think about my best friend constantly. What do I do? Do I tell the new girl? Do I stay with her?

I had a long answer all written up for you, but all I really need to say is: Don't make your new lady an Eli.

Isn’t that all you need? That letter is a powerful cautionary tale against dating one person while still being in love with another.

Okay, fine, you want more? There are some amazing people out there — people who are gorgeous, funny, and intelligent, and who dress well, and who possess everything else you'd write down on a list of Qualities for the Ideal Mate. And even more importantly, they think you're wonderful, too. Yet they're still not necessarily for you. And your current lady sounds like a fantastic one, so please don’t let her keep dating someone who's in love with someone else. You may think you’ll forget your best friend and fall in love with this new woman because of all of those great things she's got going on, but that’s not going to happen! Instead what'll happen if you keep dating her is that she may fall in love with you, and it'll hurt her even more when you finally manage to get the courage to break up with her, or when she finally realizes you're in love with your best friend and not her (or when, nine years down the road, your best friend — let’s call her “Bobbie” — shows up pregnant).

I mean, your new lady (let’s call her Ellie) seems pretty smart — has she hung out with you and Bobbie together yet, since you hang out regularly with Bobbie? Because if not, as soon as she does, Ellie’s going to get it, or at least, she’s going to start getting it. And if Ellie asks you if anything's going on with Bobbie, you’re going to either have to lie to her (please don’t do that) or tell her the truth (that you’re in love with her but she didn’t want a relationship), and both those things are really going to hurt for Ellie. You seem like a good guy, and I don’t think that you want to hurt her like that.

Think about this from her perspective: her new guy, who she thinks likes her a lot because he uses lots of complimentary adjectives to write to advice columns about her, is in love with someone else. Don’t you want better for this amazing woman? Yes, I know you do.

Now, after breaking up with Ellie in the most respectful way you can manage, please stop dating other women until either a) you’re dating that friend you’re in love with, or b) you’ve gotten her out of your system.

How do I get over a guy I have to see every day? I have a lingering crush on a man in my grad program, and it’s a pretty small group, so I have to see him in all of our classes. And we share all the same friends. I know it’s generally a bad idea to get involved with someone you work with or have to see often, but it was pretty great for a short while, and I thought things were going well. Unfortunately, he wasn’t ready to jump into a new relationship after getting out of  a fairly long one (fair enough). He went with the standard “I hope we can still be friends," which I know might make a number of ‘Pinners here say “ugh, as if,” but I really do want to be friends with him!

Normally, I would just try to limit contact to try to get over my crush (as most would suggest), except that it’s almost impossible to not be around him at least once a day. I refuse to give up my friends — they’re all great! — but they’re his friends, too. Can you avoid someone and still be in the same room as them? I would really like to stop feeling like I’m tripping over myself around him.

Do I really need to become a social recluse/flee the country, or are there other secrets to stop acting like a total spazoid around this dude?

Okay, in my experience, there are two key ways to stop liking someone (if there are more, I trust that the comments will inform us!). The first — avoiding him at all costs until the feelings go away and/or you like someone new — is out for you, so this is when we go to Plan B: learn to hate him.

I don’t mean you have to hate him a lot, or hate him forever, since maybe you'll eventually be able to be friends. But since you have to be around him all the time, you need to focus on all of his worst qualities. Is he a terrible tipper? Does he have awful facial hair? Is he always checking his phone? Does he wear pleated pants? This man has faults, and your mission is now to collect as many of them as you can. This way, next time he does something that would normally make you yearn for him some more, you can remind yourself that you can see his nasty nose hairs, and then you can relax a little. Soon, maybe, you’ll come to think of him as a normal person and not that guy you have to be anxious around all the time. Maybe your crush will totally go away, maybe it won’t, but this should at least help you chill out a little. And hey, when you’re noticing how he sweetens his coffee like a 14-year-old, or he drives like a bat out of hell and never signals, it'll at least give you something else to think about besides yourself and what you’re doing and if he’s noticing you, which is really the thing that makes you so spazzy around him in the first place.

And while no, you don’t have to give up all of your friends … it might be a good idea to find some new friends. The Girl Scouts were right, one is silver and the other gold, and you need some of that silver when you’re in the middle of a tiny social circle. There must be other people at the university and in your wider city that you can be friends with, so that your entire social life doesn’t revolve around one group of people. Study at a different coffee shop, volunteer with a group at a food bank, join a book club, find a Pinup — broadening your social circle is always good, but will be particularly important for you in this case.

I'm 18 and currently a freshman in college. I stayed in-state because it was cheaper, and I go to a school 10 minutes away from my hometown, so I'm still living at home with my parents to save money. The problem is, I'm really unhappy here. I feel like I missed my chance to cut ties, move somewhere different, and actually start life. I really wanted to go to school on the East Coast, but it would have been too much money, and my parents wouldn't pay for my applications. Now I feel like I'm stuck in arrested development. I keep comparing myself to other kids from my high school and everyone loves their college and is super happy, and it makes me feel even worse. I honestly don't know what to do, or even what to really ask. Should I just take out loans and transfer somewhere else? Stick it out and try therapy? Please help.

First off, please don’t compare yourself to people you went to high school with. Many of them are anxious, homesick, and lonely, but that's not what they tell their friends when they're exchanging stories about how exciting life is in faraway college. So please try to take those stories with a grain of salt.

Second, listen to yourself and figure out what you want to do — I’m almost never one to discourage therapy, but in this case it’s pretty clear what’s upsetting you. You wanted to go to school away from your family and on the (I’m guessing distant from you) East Coast from the beginning, and now you’re basically doing the opposite of that — you’re going to school 10 minutes away and living at home. So your first mission is to move the hell out of your parents’ house. (It's always going to feel like arrested development when you’re sleeping in your childhood bedroom, eating dinner with your mom and dad, and leaving a note when you’re planning to be out late.) You want to be independent; your first step is finding a new place to live. You live near a university, so there’s probably lots of cheap student housing — look around to see how much everything costs, and then figure out a plan. Consider taking out loans if you need to up front; educational loans are nothing to be scared of (super low interest rates! No paying back until you’re out of school!), and I say that as someone who has a whole lot of student loan debt. If you want to be in as little debt as you can, however, get a job if you don’t already have one — it’s (obviously) another way to be independent, and to meet people who live around you and your school who aren’t people you went to high school with. Or investigate study abroad programs to see if you want to spend a year doing that, and save all the money you can so that you can have a kickass year in Istanbul or Paris or Argentina.

And, finally, study hard so that if you do decide that after moving, finding a job, and throwing yourself into life as a college student in your hometown, you still want to get the hell out of there, you have the grades to transfer somewhere else. And if you read the preceding paragraph, and the thought in your mind was “yeah, I could do all of that, but I just want to transfer and move to the East Coast” — start working on transferring right now. Literally, right now, as soon as you finish reading this paragraph, click over in another tab to the website of a school you wanted to apply to last year but couldn’t, and see when their deadlines are for transfers and what their requirements are (come back after that, though, so you can read the comments). Lots of schools have waivers for their application fees — apply for them. And get that job anyway so you have some money for application fees if your fee waiver applications aren’t approved, and so you can have money in the bank for a plane ticket east. Good luck, we’re rooting for you!

What the heck is the current etiquette for working with a bathroom attendant? I appreciate that some people are doing whatever it takes to make a living, but I can turn on the faucet myself, thank you. Do I give her a dollar out of pity and embarrassment and run away? Do I make eye contact? Or casual conversation? What if I'm very drunk and just yakked in the toilet but did my best to aim toward the bowl?

Some good rules of thumb for treating people in service positions: be polite, and (if appropriate) tip well. And please don’t pity the bathroom attendant or feel embarrassed for her — she may be perfectly cool with her job and see nothing to be pitied for, or she may hate her job (same with all of us), but either way you acting like it’s something to be ashamed of is going to make her feel like shit, and kind of hate you. Just say please and be friendly — no need to tip her if you’re only washing your hands and you didn’t make her job harder, but if you were drunk and your "aim" was maybe not so good, please, please dig deep into your pocket.

Previously: Should I Have That Secret Wedding?

A Coiled Rope is one of several rotating coiled ropes who know everything. Do you have any questions for A Coiled Rope? (300-word max, please.)

Photo by Olivier Le Queinec, via Shutterstock



208 Comments / Post A Comment

JessicaLovejoy

Is it so hard to hand over a couple bucks and take a peppermint? Damn.

mayonegg

@JessicaLovejoy When you pee like six times in one bar because you've been there FOREVER and your friends don't want to leave but you do and you've been begging to because you're too drunk and have no more cash (in part because you've been tipping the bathroom attendant EVERY DAMN TIME you pee)...I feel like sometimes then it's not SO hard, but kind of.

travelmugs

@mayonegg Also, that one time you're so drunk that you don't have good aim and generally make the bathroom attendant's life miserable, you're probably too drunk/embarrassed-running-out-of-the-bathroom to remember to tip, so do good karma tipping when you're just peeing/not overwhelmingly drunk.

jule_b_sorry

@JessicaLovejoy True story - once, after having too many drinks at a certain bar, I left my purse with my boyfriend and trotted down to the loo. After doing my thing, I walked out to wash my hands and walked straight - BAM - into the bathroom attendant. The bar had never had one before. Something about my combination of surprise, several drinks, and no cash made me gape at the attendant with an exaggerated rictus of horror, spin on my heel, and RUN out of the bathroom - without washing my hands. I remember looking over my shoulder and glimpsing a look of surprise on the poor person's face...I don't know what possessed me, it was SO RUDE, but in the moment I just panicked. This is what happens when idiots like me don't know to just have several singles on them at ALL TIMES, no matter what, or risk being a complete jerkface.

eleven

@JessicaLovejoy Also if you rarely have cash on you, and you didn't know there would be an attendant, you sort of feel like an idiot/ jerk when that happens.

Lady Humungus

@JessicaLovejoy A lot of the time at a restaurant I don't take my purse into the bathroom with me! (I'm a low-maintenance Lady)... and as @paddlepickle said below, I don't want help washing my hands! It's kind of a forced "service" :( I do try to tip at least once over the course of the night, but it's an awkward bathroom situation.

kate sweet@twitter

@JessicaLovejoy Life is short,We always need passions!
SeekCasual.COM, a place for people who wanna start a short-term relationship.And also for finding soul mates.Over 160000 honest members with real photos and detailed profiles.Sign up free and have a try!Nothing to lose!

isabellebleu

@JessicaLovejoy Ha. Most people with the cashflow to drink out at the kind of bar that hires attendants have never held this sort of job. Once upon a time, one would have had the class training to know how to deal with servants. Now that we are just a bunch of class-free North Americans, no one knows what to do, amirite?

I used to hold a fairly similar kind of hostessing attendant job at a bar, and dear fellow 'Pinners, our true role is usually to make sure that you are not holding the kinds of bathroom coke parties that would put Studio 54 to shame. My suggestion: Tip if you have the change and know that most attendants hold that job because it doesn't interfere with their class or childcare schedule.

Artemis47

@JessicaLovejoy When you're the friend who's still in school and who's only out at this bar because your lawyer friend wanted to hold her birthday there and you're already trying to figure out how to get away with nursing one drink the whole night so nobody guesses how broke you are? Paying money to pee just adds insult to injury.

beatrix

I'm enjoying this so much. Thank you!@l

ilikemints

I haven't even read the column yet, just needed to say that when I refreshed my page and saw "Ask a Coiled Rope" I laughed so loud that I woke up my cat and he is so mad at me now, but I do not care. This is why I love The Hairpin and Molly Fisher can go fuck herself off a cliff.

Okay, off to actually read the article!

atipofthehat

@ilikemints

You forgot that Molly Fischer has a small "c"

ilikemints

@atipofthehat I care so little about her now that the spelling of her name is irrelevant*!

*Actually, I realized that halfway through reading, but my five minute edit window had closed, and the typo is driving me crazy.

atipofthehat

@ilikemints

Oh right she spells her name with a small letter c, too LOL

annepersand

@atipofthehat Set 'em up, knock 'em down. That's how atipofthehat does it, folks.

Dancercise

Of course it feels like Arrested Development when you're always leaving a note.

LizHo

@Dancersize Perfect.

nevernude cutoffs

@Dancersize brilliant.

jennie

@Dancersize I love you.

emilylou

@Dancersize The best.

xxAnniexx

@Dancersize
Thank you.

P.S. Please don't hate me

Aah, that scene with the bathroom attendant from 'Jack Goes Boating'! Why do I think of that every day?

nyikint

Mmmm you sexy sexy coiled rope, with your coiled energy and your coiled hose...I want to hear more from you.

Beericle

@nyikin my last name (no lie) is Coil - I was extra excited to see my kin answering questions on the hairpin.

nyikint

@Beericle Ha, a hearty congratulations to all the Coils!

special_boots

Dear College Freshman: Ok, please listen to me, because I know a lot about this stuff.

Transfer. Schools. Keep your grades very high at your current school -- this is important -- and meanwhile, make a list of your, I don't know, top 5 schools. Contact their admissions and financial aid offices, explain your situation, and ask for advice. (Admissions first, then financial aid if admissions can't answer all your money questions.) They'll tell you all about fee waivers and financial aid, and please believe that there is LOTS of financial aid available.

I work in a field related to higher ed, and it is the biggest goddamn tragedy that so many people don't even apply to their schools of choice because they think they can't pay. THE MONEY EXISTS. IT IS THERE FOR YOU. Federal (Pell) grants, institutional grants, federally subsidized loans. IT IS ALL THERE. Please know this.

FWIW, I transferred from a community college to a very good private liberal arts college as a junior. Thanks to a variety of grants, I paid a grand total of $10,000 for two years at a college where annual tuition is around $45,000. (Sticker price is so misleading!!!) That $10,000 was in subsidized loans, which I paid off myself within two years of graduation. (And I have a BA in English and graduated into the recession.)

Your college education will make a big impact on your entire life. PLEASE do the research, find out which schools interest you, and CONTACT THEM to get the help you need. The options are there. You can do this, and I so hope you will.

P.S. I loved my private liberal arts college and it changed my whole life for the better. I was a train wreck and now I'm a successful professional with a solid, permanent group of friends. DO THIS.

special_boots

@special_boots P.P.S. This isn't to imply that you can't make a great life regardless of which college you attend, or that you can't go to a great school and then ruin your life anyway. Those things are both very possible! But it's also possible to start changing your life in the way that you want, NOW. You have plenty of time to do what you need to have the college experience you really want. You could even be there by this fall, if you start now and work quickly. I'm hoping so hard for you.

the angry little raincloud

@special_boots Seconding this. I went to a schmancy East Coast school because IT WAS CHEAPER THAN ALL THE STATE SCHOOLS. Fancy liberal arts colleges and the like have mega-endowments, which provide mega-income to give grant money to worthy students. Some fancy places, like Harvard, won't even make you take out student loans (covering the gulf between parental contribution and cost with grants, rather than loans), unlike less wealthy 3rd tier schools.

Sorry, I've been attempting to help a cousin deal with this recently. She will soon be living at home going to Shitty State U where she doesn't want to be, whereas if she had applied to a higher tier of school she could be getting the hell out of Dodge.

Also, as a former professor at Mega State, I'll say with confidence that it might take you longer at Big State School because the system isn't set up to get you out faster. Required courses will be closed, professors & administrators don't have the time/energy to help all 50,000 students, whereas at someplace smaller or cushier the staff can be much more helpful, and there is a bigger push to have everyone graduate on time.

Bettytron

@special_boots I'd add to be reeeeally careful about what loans you're getting, and avoid Sallie Mae's private loans at all costs. The schmancy school I went to cut down my grants and replaced them with loans each year (partly because Bush cut down FAFSA benefits while I was in school) and they basically judged that 70% of my parents' total income should be going to my tuition. I ended up getting private loans out for this which now carry an interest rate of 9%+. This is partly because of going in blind about this stuff, so like special_boots said, research is really important. But not all expensive private schools have big endowments and many of them have a terrible rep for financial aid (coughNYUcough).

special_boots

@the angry little raincloud Yes and yes and yes. I'd add that even mid-range schools tend to have massive financial aid budgets. All the more so since the start of the recession -- mid-range schools in particular need to do more to attract and retain good students, so they're giving more aid than ever.

Also, I think a lot of kids don't realize how much NEED-BASED aid there is out there. So many young people think, "Oh, I'm not scholarship material" without realizing how many schools allot much to most to all of their financial aid budgets to need-based -- not merit -- aid. So if you're good enough to get in (and the LW sounds like a smart cookie), you're good enough to get the aid you need, regardless of whether it's technically based on need or merit.

anachronistique

@the angry little raincloud My sister is paying less for her college education at Fancy Women's School than she would at Good State University, even WITH the tuition waiver she'd get because my dad is a GSU employee.

special_boots

@Bettytron I'm not a fan of private loans at all, really, if avoidable. But I'm a huge fan of federally subsidized loans.

roadtrips

@special_boots I'd also add - do you have your own bank account? Your parents seem to assume you are pretty financially independent, so take steps maybe to take hold of your own financial affairs. I have an account with a credit union, and they also provide pretty good (often free) financial counseling - if you want a second opinion about loans, they'd be a good place to start (like, if you're thinking that you need to take out a super expensive private loan perhaps you could talk to your credit union about what exactly it is you're getting into and get some info on alternatives). If your parents aren't providing financial support (other than, I'm assuming, letting you live with them rent-free) come up with a really good plan of how you'll pay for getting out of state. Definitely research scholarships, grants, and loans, but also make a plan of how much money you'd need to make from an outside job in order to do things like submit applications and buy plane tickets and pay rent. I myself went to a fairly expensive liberal arts college, but got a decent amount of tuition knocked off due to a substantial scholarship. It can be done! Also, some states offer reciprocity with one another; if moving across country is too much of a difficulty, perhaps you can find a school that is nearby but not next door that offers similar tuition to your current school. What I'm saying is - there are options! It's great to ask for help; branch out and also talk to a counselor at your current school and ask about your options.

tortietabbie

@Bettytron Yes. Oh god, yes. Learn from my mistakes, everyone else! NO PRIVATE LOANS EVER!

miwome

@special_boots I just want to second how important it is to actually transfer if you're miserable. Do it! It can make a difference! My roommate freshman year of college is a wonderful, wonderful lady, and I'm so very glad we know each other, but she was incredibly, unbelievably miserable at my alma mater. She transferred away and it was like she became a whole new person: the wonderful lady I know and love, but not suffering from a whole bunch of self-destructive behaviors caused by her deep, deep misery.

So! Dear Everyone: If you want to transfer, that is okay! Do it. Probably you are correct, and the place you are really is not right for you.

nocomment

@miwome ALSO, if you are planning/hoping to transfer, PLEASE tell your potential roommate at your current school! I know several people who kept their plans secret and screwed over potential roommates at the last minute. I understand a fallback plan and wanting to keep things on the DL until it's for sure, but I don't think it's fair not to let someone know there's a possibility you'll have to pull out at the last second if you get into another school. You don't have to tell everyone, just someone you have made plans to live with, especially if leases have to be signed or dorm lotteries have already been drawn, etc.

isitisabel

@special_boots My best friend in high school ended up going to a shitty state school because it was cheaper and her parents didn't want to pay for a more "expensive" school. She hated it. I spent so much time going "But, but, financial aid! Scholarships! They exist!" to no avail. TRANSFER.

peregrina

I transferred from my lame private east coast school to an awesome CUNY where the tuition was hmmm... and eighth of the cost! I never wanted a "college experience" and I had a big enough social circle in the city to really take advantage of what my school really was: a commuter school. I think you need to decide how badly you want a typical college experience (dorm life, campus parties, a cafeteria) vs. how much you just want to get your BA out of the way. Also if you're going for a liberal arts degree, you really should just go to the cheapest school possible because all that degree really is just a one-way ticket to internshipland.

Grace Anne Boucher@facebook

@isitisabel ... Are you me?

bnna

@special_boots
I want to chime in and say small liberal arts schools are totally great! I live in the big city now and I see all these students at the public universities and I don't know how they do it, I am so grateful for my smallsmallsmall college that gave me tons of $$$ and provided me with tons of support. LW, have you done any community service? I got a full scholarship from the Bonner Foundation, which funds all 4 years at small liberal art schools for students from poor families (I really tried to think of the PC way to say that, but I'm hungover... sorry) who are committed to service. I had to do 10 hours of service a week, which is the same amount of time that work studies requires, and my entire education was paid for! Anyone that's applying to college, transfer or freshman, check out the website and consider the schools that they work with, http://www.bonner.org/. The grant looks really small, but its misleading b/c the schools are required to maintain the rest of your aid all 4 years if you stay in the program.

ranran

Oh man, when getting over a heartbreak I made a really awesome list -- a physical list, on paper -- called "Things That Suck About _____." It was really good and helpful and included things like "likes the Cubs (for no reason!)" and "sometimes refers to individuals as 'cats.'" It was on a little notebook that I kept in my purse and I could just whip it out anytime and be like "Oh yeah, THAT'S why!"

mayonegg

@ranran I feel like most people, at this point, like the Cubs for no reason.

emilylou

@ranran I made that list in a little notebook, too. It felt really good. Especially when you have massive ones like "Uninterested in getting to know my friends and family" alongside petty ones like "Hates big dogs" and "Never saw Pulp Fiction nor has any desire to" ...total "OH YEAH, THAT'S WHY" material. Sometimes I would also read it out loud to my best friend for affirmation. It's kind of fun (and valid, I think) to be mean in these cases.

nocomment

@emilylouise I've done this, too, especially about cultural choices. One of the reasons I am glad my high school best friend and I are no longer friends is that she had the worst fucking taste in movies and I was tired of spending my money and time on them.

miwome

@fatgirlinohio One of the biggest reliefs of breaking up with my ex was not having to put up with his taste in music. Such a feeling of freedom.

helpppppnoreally

@ranran I registered just to ask this question. What if you really, really need to make a list like this, and there is literally nothing to put on it? I'm sitting here with a little notebook, and...nothing.

ranran

@helpppppnoreally Well why are you not with this person? Presumably he/she was a jerk to you in some way? That's a good place to start. Ooh, or if you are a person who can really, honestly handle stuff like this, maybe ask your friends if there's anything they don't like about this person. I had to do that to start out and my friend was like "Uh, his greasy, disgusting hair? Also he's not a very nice person?" Of course she was right, and once the ball was rolling I suddenly remembered all these things I didn't like about him.

ranran

@ranran I may just have a preternatural ability to hate though!

editrickster

@ranran No shame in that. Love, another crankypants.

Bro-lo El Cunado

@emilylouise Oh, god. My ex could put "has no interest in getting to know my friends" on his hate list. But my list would counter with "has really shitty friends, one or more of whom may be textbook narcissists." So ... even?

chevyvan

@ranran Yeah, I remind myself that my ex thought we didn't need the Civil Rights Act b/c it would be stupid business-wise for business owners not to allow black people in their stores. Like they would lose money, so naturally things would never go back to the way they were and it should all be voluntary. And his best friend (who would have been the best man at our wedding if we'd gotten married) likes to throw around anti-semetic slurs. These are the things that keep me sane when I start to miss him.

Poubelle

@chevyvan I don't know anyone who makes that argument about the Civil Rights Act except willfully naive white people. And I doubt it's true--the other day my grandmother told me about a nightclub she once picketed that refused to admit blacks, which SHUT DOWN rather than integrate. (This was in a neighborhood that was already plenty black.)

...and this is yet another comment based on what my grandmother said. Sorry, my grandma is smart and awesome and has more original thoughts/life experience than me

The Hyperbolic Julia Set

@miwome Oh I feel you there! My ex was OBSESSED with two songs and if either of those songs was playing I was not allowed to speak or even breathe too loudly and the thing is, they're not exactly earth shattering songs: Arms of the Angels by Sarah McLaughlin and Total Eclipse of the Heart by Bonnie Tyler. He took my computer once just to put his crappy music on my iTunes, like I wanted the strange Japanese techno remix of the Tetris theme or something. I am so glad I am no longer required to listen to and venerate his taste in music.
The things that suck about him list is also helpful in explaining to your relatives why you didn't marry him and are happy to be a single lady again.

miwome

@The Hyperbolic Julia Set He once stared deeply into my eyes and sang "I Will Follow You Into the Dark" by Death Cab for Cutie. He was into hip hop, I was into indie rock (I'm actually much more into hip hop now than I was then, so maybe this wouldn't be as much of an issue in today's world!) and practically all we could settle on reliably was Death Cab and Franz Ferdinand. And maybe Björk, he had a weird thing for Björk. But ugh, he would try to put on sexxxxy musiiiiic and it was always so...not helpful.

PistolPackinMama

LW 1: Yeah. That. All of it. I would be so sad if that happened to me.

LW 2: A while ago A Lady gave the script of "Thanks! Bye now!" to someone who had to deal with an ex briefly.

Based on that, here is my Note To Self when this stuff happens to me.

You can do that with your non-ex you see all the time. Just... be relentlessly cheerful and polite. Relentlessly. On autopilot so you can also catalog his sins.

Then

1) Always sit as far away as possible when out at group things, don't share rides and don't get stuck next to him at the movies. Opposite ends of the table.

2) Don't go to stuff where there will be only four of you. You're in grad school, yo. There is ALWAYS work you can beg off to do. So sorry! You say. I have a grant application/paper/grades due! Next time though!

3) Take the initiative and ask some of your awesome friends to do stuff sans The Non-Ex. Make it small, all girls, whatever. Say things like "oh, we have such a great group of friends... it's nice to be able to see them one on one once in a while, don't you think? Become known as one of those people who is gracious but not thrilled when other people spontaneously invite EVERYONE to a two hour, four person grading session at Starbucks.

4) Online dating. Or just dating,. Don't tell anyone if you don't want. If your friends see you out, just say "oh, I met him/her at church/work/the library and we got coffee" and leave it. The go on dates part is for you, not them. But don't make anything big happen ala LW1. Go on five first dates with people. They often never go anywhere anyway, so give some dude a chance to get through some dud dates by having a beer with you. Mostly, this is just for self esteem, I find. It's harder to be hung up on someone from four dates ago.

LW3: I don't know what your parents are like. But. I noticed when I was your age that mine would get on board with things they originally didn't support much when they saw I was hell and gone determined to make it happen. If you start the ball rolling, and get accepted somewhere, or find a lease, and THEN tell them you're going to do it by gum, they may feel like they want to make sure you succeed at your hairbrained scheme.

True story. One of my cousins studied abroad in Germany her junior year of high school. Came back to the states to apply to colleges and graduate and such. And decided she was going to college in Germany. NO ONE was on board with this. Her mom couldn't really do much financially to support her, and wasn't really down with the idea anyway. But. She applied. Got in. Worked her ass off in the meantime, saved every last dime she had. Bought a ticket. And announced she was moving in a month.

And now... has a college degree from a German uni, in linguistics. And lives there. The end.

She had a whole salt shaker full of Fuck You when it came to the Big Nos.

You can do it! It will take planning and maybe some moral support. But you can.

ALSO! Go to Istanbul. OMG.

Clare

@PistolPackinMama +1 for "salt shaker full of Fuck You." Gonna steal that.

PistolPackinMama

@Clare Please do!

PS: LW2-- A mean little part of me finds retreating to relentlessly polite and cheerful is a way of mentally saying to a dude "you no longer get to have access to my heart. You don't need to know anything about me, my personal feelings and thoughts are mine."

miwome

@PistolPackinMama The whole bit about how parents get on board when they realize you are Really Going to Do It is so true. My parents are being way more helpful about my moving to Egypt in a couple weeks than they would have been six months ago, because, well, I'm going. Ticket bought, job gotten, plans made. Love you, bye!

PistolPackinMama

@miwome CAN I COME VISIT PLEASE! AND SAY YOU WILL STILL BE READING HAIRPIN AND WHAT JOB WHAT JOB!!!!??????

miwome

@PistolPackinMama Hee! OF COURSE YOU CAN, I want everyone to visit, always. I will definitely still be Pinning, though I guess at odd hours?

Anyway! I will be doing something fuzzily determined for three months at this place, and I am In Talks with a couple of cool-ass human rights/water rights/women's rights NGOs around Cairo for after that.

PistolPackinMama

@miwome OMG THAT IS SO VERY GREAT! AAAAHHHHHHHHHHH! *teeny bit envious mostly joyful*

AniaGosia

@miwome Wow, super cool! I have been to Egypt and loved it. Loved It. Yay!

Atheist Watermelon

@PistolPackinMama "you no longer get to have access to my heart. You don't need to know anything about me, my personal feelings and thoughts are mine." This is great. It never occurred to me in quite that way, but you've put it perfectly. I might just steal this and make it my mantra :-)

PistolPackinMama

@LittleBookofCalm Do it! Doooo it! It made my life so much better.

I will say... I explained that to an ambiguous-status gentleman caller, in the 15 minutes of the 19th c. era kind of gentleman caller this Summer.

Then, when he was all "I like you lots but [insert the usual here about I am a schlub and I can't do this and it's impossible anyway]."

I have been relentlessly sunny and polite ever since. Starting with the email that went "thanks so much for writing this I appreciate it" and going from there. He might be a bit of a juicebox (one of whom I am fond, but still...). But he is not stupid. I expect this change of demeanor has not gone unnoticed, nor has its meaning.

Oh well. He still doesn't get access to my heart any more. Just my head, and my witty, witty banter.

Green Gloves

LW3: I felt exactly the same way you do when I was in my first year of university. I felt cowardly for staying at home while all of my friends went off to have new adventures. What helped me most was getting my own place. A few years on, I love that I can hang out with friends from high school or ones I've met since then, and I love being able to go home whenever I want but still have my own space. And all those friends I was jealous of? About 50% of my close friends who went away to school transfered back by third year. I was utterly convinced in first year that I'd have to transfer to be happy, and I couldn't have been more wrong. You should maybe give yourself some time?

Tuna Surprise

LW3 - you are me from freshman year of college. I went to state school and lived at home with my parents until almost the end of my freshman year.

I moved in with roommates at the end of my freshman year at an off campus apartment (but close enough to walk/bus to school) after one of their roommates split mid year. It was a great transition to college life. Ask around and check message boards for these things. I worked the whole time through college and most of my money paid for these living expenses but it was worth it.

Also, check to see about any programs your school is involved in for temporary transfers. When I was in college, my school participated in a program where you could spend a year at state schools in other states (there were 100s of schools that participated all over the country) but still pay your regular in-state tuition from your school. It was a great chance to move elsewhere at a good cost.

Also look for summer opportunities. A good friend from mine at state school spent the summer in DC working as a tour guide at the supreme court. It gave her a dorm life experience and a chance to live somewhere new. It was an opportunity she got through the university.

Finally, use grad school to move somewhere dramatic. I was glad that I stayed at home and kept it cheap for undergrad because I moved to NYC for grad school. It was so nice to not have any loans looming from undergrad. Or just move post college period. My sister went to the same state school as I did and when she graduated, she just picked up and moved to Boston because she wanted to. She found roommates, a job and loved it.

End of story - whatever you do, don't take out student loans. There are so many adventures you can have without having to pay $50 per year for the pleasure.

nyikint

@Tuna Surprise $50 per year sounds pretty reasonable, actually. :)

special_boots

@Tuna Surprise I so strongly disagree. Student loans (federally subsidized, of course) can be absolutely fantastic. The key is taking out $10k or $20k -- not $75k+ like some poor souls. A great college education/experience remains a great investment; I had $10k in loans and paid them off quickly, but if I'd had five times that amount I still wouldn't regret it.

eleven

@Tuna Surprise agreed. I wholeheartedly support not taking loans for undergrad if you can, and moving to the East Coast after college, debt free!

Bettytron

@special_boots The thing is loan payments completely limit your options in terms of jumping careers or freelancing or taking time off to travel. Monthly payments on a $10,000 loan are manageable, but the interest alone on my loans (total of about $130,000, ugh East Coast private school) is $600. Now it seems like I'm chasing you around the comment thread but yours jumped out at me and I wanted to offer a different perspective! Massive debt is a real burden, financially and mentally.

special_boots

@Bettytron Totally different! I would NEVER recommend that someone take out $130k for college. That's obscene. But I think a debt burden of ~$25k, give or take (depending on your school, intended major, and future plans), is very likely to be a fantastic investment.

It's just a very different set of circumstances. Moderation in all things! (Except Ben & Jerry's.)

Tuna Surprise

@special_boots @Bettytron

LW3 implies that staying in-state to go to school was a financial decision. I don't know of any schooling option other than in-state tuition that would allow you to graduate with only $25k.

For example, UMass Amherst has the following breakdown.

Out-of-State
Tuition/Fees: $25,400
Room/Board: $9,512
Total: $34,912

If money is at the point where you are living with your parents at home, I don't know where the letter writer is going to come up with the $25k per year that would allow her to only graduate with $25k in debt.

thebestjasmine

@Tuna Surprise Scholarships and grants would all allow that. Lots of schools give those out at a level that could easily allow her to only graduate with $25k in debt.

special_boots

@Tuna Surprise

Um, financial aid is where. Along with probably a part-time job to help with living expenses. I had two work-study jobs and one off-campus job; I also lived in a basement room off-campus and paid pennies for my rent, which made the whole "room and board" issue pretty much moot.

Also, UMass Amherst is a state school, which would be a terrible choice for her. Being from out of state, she'll get a far better deal at a private college.

Tuna Surprise

@thebestjasmine, @special-boots

In my experience, financial aid doesn't pan out the way people hope it would. I'm clearly speaking from my own past here, but my parents made too much for Pell Grant type of aid but they didn't have any cash to give me. Even a decent aid package at a private school would've sunk me with student loans.

Obviously I'm not trying to douse this LW's dream. I think it would be great if she could transfer to a school with a good aid package, but it just does't seem worth it to me if she can't keep the loan side really low (I agree with the 25k-35k numbers).

Poubelle

@Tuna Surprise Financial aid varies widely from school to school. Private colleges with roughly the same comprehensive fees will offer you different financial aid packages depending on what they have available. There are plenty of places that rank school based on how much aid they give out, it's possible to find out who has a good endowment or very generous alumni or both.

(I graduated with just under 20k in loans, and went to a pretty pricey college. I also had grants, got a semi-random endowed scholarship*, and had a moderately sucky work-study job. You really don't know until you apply.)

*some alums from my hometown endowed a scholarship specifically for students from our city. There were no other qualifications--nothing about GPA or intended major, just being from the general urban area. It was weird but cool.

fuck fuck fuck

@Tuna Surprise i go to a school where tuition is about $50k per year, and i get a need-based grant for about $45k. the rest is covered by subsidized federal loans. it is possible. you just have to be poor enough/go to a school with a huge endowment.

LilyMarlene

@Tuna Surprise Y-E-S. I agree with what people said above about investigating options for grants, scholarships, etc. from mega- endowed (tee-hee) schools, but failing that - suck it up at your current school, graduate, and move somewhere totally awesome sans debt after graduation.

Don't forget that freshman year is weird - everyone and everything is new and awkward, so perhaps you haven't given your school the...uh...old college try? College is only four years, but the next chapter of your life is far longer - and feeding beastly student loans can really cramp your style for a long time. Best of luck, LW.

tea tray in the sky.

@Tuna Surprise I made it through five years at a local university, graduated, then spontaneously decided to move to New Zealand for grad school. Typing this from Christchurch! Best decision of my life!

LilyMarlene

@Twinkle Little Bat Also typing from the Churrrrr...hi! I grew up in the U.S., moved here for various personal reasons, and am currently attending school here as well. Count me in the "best decision of my life" club - I love it here (earthquakes notwithstanding). :)

Waiting

@special_boots I wish I capped my debt at 20 grand. I think that up to that amount, the debt won't bury you. But I'm going to graduate with around 45,000 (I guess it's a good thing that they're all fed loans and not private) and I'm really worried about the future. I disagree with your stance - at the end of high school, college seems like the ticket to freedom and the good life - but what you end up doing is stunting yourself at the end of the four years if you choose to take out loans. The best advice is to take them out only when ABSOLUTELY necessary, and never to use them to pay for room and board.

summerbandicoot

@Tuna Surprise Along the lines of what special boots is saying, even if money is super tight, you can find the money to go to the school of your dreams. One of my housemates is the second of two kids who come from a low-income home...basically her parents told her "Sorry, we only have enough money to pay for college for one of you...and your brother was born first. Tough shit." Even though she had to pay for everything herself, she made it work. She went to a state school for two years, saved up money, applied for lots of scholarships and grants, and then transferred to a great (but also very expensive) school. If you want to get out, you can find a way to do it. I would agree that keeping loans low is very important, but it's definitely possible to keep your debt in check and go to an amazing school that you love. It just requires a little extra work and research.

rucifie

And what, coiled rope, is wrong with dumping 3 Splendas in your coffee? You don't even have hands!

paddlepickle

RE: LW1: I HATE how right he (she? hir? what is the rope's preferred gender pronoun?). I am coming to displeased terms with the fact that I can't really date anyone right now unless I am so head over heels with them that they jolt any feelings for my ex out of me entirely. Even though the ex isn't going to weasel back into my life like Bob, I still owe it to my imaginary Eli not to start dating him.

Re: LW4: I get SO stressed about this. I don't know what to do if I come out of the bathroom and she turns on the faucet for me before I have a chance to just do it myself. I feel like a tip is expected but I just don't feel like I should have to pay for a service I didn't want at all.

Megoon

@paddlepickle I feel like bathroom attendants are kind of like the squeegee guys who were all over NYC until the Giuliani administration. Stop washing my f#$%^ing windshield; it's CLEAN!

paddlepickle

@Megoon Totally. But for some reason these people are paid by the restaurants they work out to perform an annoying and unnecessary task. Does anyone LIKE having a bathroom attendant in there? I guess it's a sign that the place you're at is truly schmancey or whatever, but I can't imagine it making anyone feel anything besides awkward.

meetapossum

@paddlepickle They do this at a beer garden by me, but only on the weekends at night. The bathroom attendant takes all the paper towels so you have no choice but to take one from her. Why should I have to tip? And why then do I always feel awkward/terrible for not tipping?

Artressa Vandelay

@paddlepickle & Megoon: I don't mind them in general at fancy retaurants or maybe clubs with ginormous bathrooms, but when they are in a tiny pub bathroom where there is barely room to wash you hands because she's there chatting on the phone, I can't deal. At small restroom venues like that, I sometimes think they aren't real employees, but just someone looking to make a few extra bucks until they are found out.

ELECTROMAGNETIC CHAOS

@paddlepickle: Often a bathroom attendant is there to discourage drug use in the bathrooms.

alebee

@paddlepickle Re: lw1. YES. This. This is a dilemma. A few months past -serious-breakup, I'm still at that stage where other people just feel...well, I can objectively see that they are awesome, but can in no way understand what it would be like to LIKE them-like them. It's as though that part of me is just...temporarily shut off? Or maybe not temporarily, but I refuse to believe that cause it would be soooo sad? Anyway. I just know that I'm going to make some undeserving, lovely guy an Eli, and I get preemptively sad and freaked out about that. HOW dO YOU AVOID IT??

February Revolution

Speaking as someone who was in a small grad program...the rope is spot on. Or coiled around the spot? Get some outside friends, meet lots of people in other departments or with volunteer orgs or who go clubbing in your new hometown! Bigger social circle=less pressure on this tiny one, plus if you have other things going on, you'll have the means to occasionally bow out of tiny-grad-program social activities. OCCASIONALLY! That's why the 'focus on the bad' advice is also good--these aren't just a tight new friend circle, they're also your new professional colleagues. So anything you can do to keep things basically smooth and sociable is good. So think about why you don't like him, find ways to hang out with subsets of the group (seriously, you can have coffee with one or two friends at a time), and let time do its magic.

Also, grad school is ridiculously incestuous, dating-wise. Especially since you know these are also the same people who'll be overeducated and competing for the same shrinking pool of professional jobs in a few years!

Miss Minx

@February Revolution - SO incestuous. My biggest fear in life is meeting up with the dude I banged while I was getting my MA. We have similar-ish research areas, and even years later, seeing him at a conference or something would be THE WORST.

BadWolf

@February Revolution YES. WORD. LW2, February Revolution spits truth.

I have shared before my tale of woe, re: the dude I was banging all last year in my tiny grad program, and how I want to puke now every time I think I see him across the library. I was kind of lucky, I guess, in that he turned out to be an absolute monster, so it was pretty easy to get over him. BUT! Dude, I was a moron about keeping civil with the rest of the class. I just sort of dropt them all in my desperation to avoid The Monster, because I have another circle of actual friends elsewhere in my city...but that was a *balls* move, professionally, because I am going to have to work with at least some of these people for the rest of career-forever. And the ones who don't know how sour things went between me and The Monster now think I am some kind of weird, Lisbeth Salander-type sociopath. "Smooth and sociable" is the name of the game.

oeditrix

@February Revolution Yup. When you can help it, never date in the program. It's just such a bad idea. On the off-chance that you don't break up, thereby rending your inescapable friend and colleague circles in twain, you will wind up doing post-docs on opposite sides of the country and dreaming of working in cities a mere four hours away from each other.

Unless you love the drive between Cleveland and Chicago, online dating is the way to go.

AniaGosia

@oeditrix But dating in the community might not be better. I married a local guy from the town where I'm doing my PhD and now I feel like I'm stuck here because of his job. Since academia largely requires you to move where-ever you can get a job, I'm realizing that I will probably have to give up on working in the field that I've spent the last 8 years training for. It's really a bummer, plus I have no idea what I'm going to do for work once I finish the degree.

The Lady of Shalott

@February Revolution I know I am coming into this late but OH MY GOD DON'T DATE IN YOUR PROGRAM, DON'T DOOO IIIIT. I have a really tiny grad program in my school, and most of my classmates are dating each other, and all I can think about is how heinously awful it's going to be when they break up with one another. Plus it leads to all kinds of horrible confrontations, like when a couple is assigned to work together on an RAship, or halves of two different couples are working together as TAs and jealousy begins to spring up, or when couples and people are competing against each other for whatever and competition gets even worse than it already is. It's just a gigantic incestuous clusterfuck nightmare.

MAKE FRIENDS WITH PEOPLE FROM OTHER DISCIPLINES. Preferably from many other disciplines. Make friends with engineers and nurses and law students. Be like me and date some guy from the local military base who has been posted here for the duration. GET OUT OF YOUR DISCIPLINE, SOCIALIZE OUTSIDE IT. This is probably the number 1 most important lesson you can learn in grad school.

Also if you socialize with people outside your discipline you can talk about normal things when you are out, like movies and TV and sports and music and fashion and whatever, rather than having nonstop discussions about class and classmates and papers and whether or not G.M. Trevelyan's take on the profession is really relevant 100 years later in a postmodern world I MEAN WHAT

eleven

LW3: I have been you! I wanted desperately to get away from my midwestern hometown and go to college on the East Coast and start a new life. But it was too expensive. So I went to a state school, because my parents would pay for it in full. It certainly wasn't my dream and for a while I did feel like I missed out on a chance to start my new life.

But I stuck it out and the best part was when I graduated, I DID move to the East Coast. I got a job in my dream city on the East Coast and because I went to a state school, I had zero student loan debt. I've been on the East Coast since then and couldn't be happier. I still got the opportunity I wanted to move to the East Coast and start fresh -- and I got to do it with no student loan debt. So I know it's hard now, but I promise you can still do it after college and doing it with no debt is even better. If it helps, graduate in 3 years - I took classes over the summer so I could get out of college and move away a year sooner.

Good luck!

ama
ama

@eleven I did this as well (in some form), and totally the right choice, plus this was a hundred years ago when college was cheaper. Yeah, it seems like you've given up *so* *much* but then you'll have the funds to do the rest of your life.

One thing I would recommend is staying on campus as much as you can. If you zip in and out to classes, you do miss out on a lot. Join something, find a group to hang out with.

And, believe me, dorms are cool for about a month. You know how you can go home, study in relative quiet for a few hours, then go to sleep without a party down the hall? In a dorm, not so much.

mousie housie

@ama Seconding the student loan debt remarks. I have minor debt and it has both a) prevented me from making gutsy, career-driven moves and b) let me quit awful, monstrous jobs in completely the wrong fields because I could handle the payments.

Remember - you'll probably end up returning for a grad degree anyway... maybe look into an exchange abroad if you want a different experience, or saving for your dream grad school?

I mean, if you're truly miserable by second year, transfer out. But first-year jitters are completely normal, no matter what decision you've made.

theguvnah

@eleven I just need to clarify something you said - you say "because I went to a state school, I had zero student loan debt" - but actually you had no debt because your parents paid as you mentioned earlier. I just hate for it to sound like because you made some decision, you therefore have no student loan debt, when actually it's largely because you were fortunate enough to be born into a family that paid for you to go to college.

/ clarification from someone who went to state school AND has student debt because some of us don't have parents able to contribute a dime to education.

skyslang

LW #3: Do not take out a student loan if you can avoid it. Like all debt, student loans are, in fact, a big deal.
Some people must take out loans just to pay for school. But if you just need an extra $400 a month (or whatever student housing costs these days), get an easy and fun job part time job. I worked at the Gap to pay for my apartment (luckily my parents paid for my tuition!) and had some fun times.
Debt sucks and it's awful to have that weighing you down after you graduate. I have a lot of friends who are struggling to pay off their student loan debt.

chickaboom

LW2: Good luck! This is basically my primary condundrum in life: how do I stop thinking about these dudes? I keep trying the "learn to hate them" route, but then I'm just out a friend... and let's be honest, an interesting storyline? I'M TERRIBLE.

phlox

@chickaboom I look for things that I don't mind about them as a friend but that would drive me crazy as a partner to put on that list. For example, one friend dislikes vegetables and I eat tons of vegetables so we wouldn't be able to cook together. Another friend smokes, which is a dealbreaker for me. Living with someone who did these things would drive me crazy, but in a friend, whatever!

TooCool4School

Reality Check for college freshman: don't go into debt over this! no- really. If you can get grants, great. But all of my late 20-something friends in deep school debt struggle with so much financial anxiety. Tough it out with your parents, get your cheap education, and THEN you can move away. She's only 18 for godsakes

skyslang

@TooCool4School Right? I commented on this upthread. I thought that advice was kind of irresponsible. At the very least, it downplays the serious impact student loan debt can have on your life down the road.

TooCool4School

@skyslang I also think another issue here is that if you have problems with your family, it's better to TRY and work things out with them, because someday, you're going to be living with someone else you are intimate with and those same issues will probably come up.

On another note: Europeans/most countries in the world, kids live with their folks until they get married.

atipofthehat

R E W A R D

LOST COMMENTER

Our beloved Melis, last seen on the Hairpin on February 7, and at the Awl yesterday at 1:27 pm, is small and fluffy with a brown coat and enormous, soulful eyes. She has an IQ of 400 and may be armed, but will not hurt you if treated kindly. She is partial to sweets that look like Scrabble tiles.

If you find her, please call the Hairpin Hotline immediately. Reward offered.

dokuchan

@atipofthehat Brown coat has pockets stuffed with matches, flammable materials, and KNIVES.

melis

Rrrr? rrrrr.

atipofthehat

@melis

I was afraid you had amnesia!

Would you like some coffee? There's a nice fire.

atipofthehat

@melis

"Man oh man, you must have the metabolism of a bumblebee."

annepersand

@atipofthehat I think this must be where pies go when they die.

OwlOfDerision

"A Coiled Rope is one of several rotating coiled ropes who know everything"

Rotating coils? Like, in an electric motor? SCIENCE.

null

I don't necessarily think that because you're not over someone you can't date period. Be honest with the people you go out with, tell them you're not looking for anything serious. If they ask why, fess up -- more often than not they'll walk away, but that's their prerogative.

When my boyfriend and I started dating I realized a few months in after grabbing dinner with an ex that I still had strong feelings for him. I told my ex that I couldn't hang out with him anymore because I was serious about this new dude and told my boyfriend about my lingering feelings as well. We've been together for four years now and... I'm not going to lie, I still feel little pangs of jealousy when my ex mentions his girlfriend on Facebook or whatever, but I'm stoked that he's happy and I am honestly in it for the long haul with my bf. Relationships are complex, it's entirely possible to have "feelings" for someone else and not act on them.

paddlepickle

@klaus Lingering feelings are one thing, but this LW said he still thinks about the best friend "constantly". Constantly is not OK.

null

@paddlepickle Yeah, you're totally right. I guess I wanted to point out that there's a grey area.

KeLynn

@klaus I agree with klaus though. I don't think it's realistic to not date anyone in any way until he's over his lady friend. I actually think that will only keep the flame going, because he wouldn't be allowing himself to think romantically about other women, so he'd just be sitting around fixating on his friend.

I say date whoever you want. Date one person. Date lots of people! Go on 10 dates a night! But don't get serious or exclusive with any of them. If you're upfront about that fact that you will NOT be getting in a serious relationship with them, and you will NOT be being their boyfriend, and you WILL be dating other people, I think it's totally fine and totally good to date other people even if you still have feelings to the friend. With all those disclaimers, no woman is going to be dumb enough to think she's still his #1 gal.

miwome

@KeLynn With all those disclaimers, no woman is going to be dumb enough to think she's still his #1 gal Wanna bet? The lesson I seem to keep learning as I go through life is, the people you thought would be too ridiculous to exist?

They are out there. They really are.

That said, that wouldn't be LW's fault.

KatieWK

@klaus I totally agree that there can be feelings overlap and things can still work out with the new person. Life is messy, etc.

I think the major issue is that he never got a chance to see how things would be with his best friend. At this point he's only capable of idealizing her, so there's not much to help him move past those what-if feelings. At least if you still have feelings for an ex you can meditate on the reasons why you broke up, or the realities of what your relationship was really like, as opposed to the fantasy.

Also, anyone who calls their former FWB/current mega-crush their "best friend" is clearly still in the self-deluding phase. "Best friend" is a great term to use if you want to have it both ways--to date someone new while still getting a free pass to hang out with someone you clearly want to bone. Not cool, dude! Sort your shit.

EmmaM

LW2: Reading your letter, I thought I was reading the story of my first year and a half of grad school. SERIOUSLY. Ok, so this situation is no fun. I did the whole "we can still be friends" thing and it really didn't work--after a few months we were back together and 7 months later, he broke my heart. Awkwardness in the office ensued, etc. Things that helped me: avoid avoid avoid! Find other stuff to do (I joined Netflix!). Your lady friends in the department will totally understand wanting to have extra ladies only nights. I also teamed up with another girl who was recently dumped and it helped. Anyway, the Rope said all the right things. I know it's really hard, but if you don't make a clean break now, it will be a self-perpetuating cycle of no fun-ness!! Good luck!

PancakeBatter

This coiled rope is the best coiled rope.

emilylou

East Coast, East Coast, East Coast.
How come nobody ever has *~dreamz~* of moving to the West Coast?
Well, I guess Xtina did in Burlesque, but she came to be a dancer, not to go to college.

tortietabbie

@emilylouise I have dreams of the PNW!

oh, disaster

@emilylouise I'm not kidding when I say I want to move to the Pacific Northwest, but it's the kind of desire that's on the back back burner, like having a baby.

oh, disaster

@andrea disaster Actually, the Pacific Northwest is before baby. Sorry, babies.

P.S. Please don't hate me

@emilylouise
People with West Coast dreams just accomplish them!

(Except for me...)

miwome

@emilylouise Oh, but they do! They really do. There are probably more people from the East Coast and middle of the country who are California Dreamin' than there are people from the West Coast and middle who are just dying to get that red brick in their lives.

At least, it seems that way from here, over on the East Coast? It's probably just a grass is greener thing.

nocomment

@tortietabbie I live in NYC and I have secret dreams of the Pacific Northwest, too. Though I think the rain would get me down. But I think about all of the TREES and and it feels like a cool, different place to be.

thebestjasmine

@miwome Everybody wants to go to COLLEGE on the East Coast, but actually live West Coast life.

Hekatompedon

@emilylouise BLERG! I hate East Coast college life!! Just saying. I was so excited to get the hell out of the Midwest where I did my undergrad that I jumped at the chance to go to Prestigious Public East Coast School and now I am le miserable.

frigwiggin

@emilylouise I most definitely have *~dreamz~* of moving to SOMEWHERE ELSE on the West Coast. Because seriously, when people *~dream~* of living in California, they sure as hell aren't thinking about the Central Valley. (I used to have an online friend in Sweden who refused to believe I didn't live on the beach as a surfing instructor.)

Limaceous

@figwiggin You are right. The Central Valley is pretty much the forgotten part of California. (Joan Didion's Notes from a Native Daughter said more about it than I ever could.)

It is quite possible to leave it, though, I assure you.

frigwiggin

@Limaceous Good lord, I hope so. I grew up here (18 years!), went two hours away for college, and then got draaaagged back after graduation. My parents and brother have already abandoned ship, as have nearly all my friends, and it's just so bleahhhhhhhhhh.

Limaceous

@figwiggin You. Can. Do. This. I grew up in the northern Central Valley, and then I moved to the Bay Area for college. After graduation, the only job I was offered was in a suburb of Sacramento! That was pretty miserable, and after a well-timed layoff I decided I would only look for jobs back in the Bay Area, and I found one, and I found an apartment to share with strangers, and I made the move and never looked back. (shakes fist at suburban Sacramento)

It helps, of course, that I was single and lonely in the Central Valley, and then met my life partner one month after moving back to the Bay Area.

frigwiggin

@Limaceous You're not disavowing me of the notion that the Bay Area is magical and cures all ills. I wouldn't even mind Sacramento--I grew up in Tracy and am currently in Stockton, so the thought of anything metropolitan-ish, even a little, gives me stars in my eyes.

Limaceous

@figwiggin I wouldn't go so far as to call it magical...

Well, just as I'd tell LW3 to begin by making concrete steps (even tiny ones), I'd say the same to you. Even if it's just browsing on Craigslist or going to a Pinup in Sacramento (do they have those?) or San Francisco (Feb. 26).

kerridv

@fatgirlinohio You'd be nuts. I live in Seattle and all it does is rain here and everyone's miserable. Then again, we have the best coffee and snark.

emilylou

@Hekatompedon SO, I am from the West Coast (California then Washington), and I started out college at a teensy super-liberal private college on the East Coast and I was 100% miserable. I transferred back to a big university in Orange County. Never thought that would happen, but life works in mysterious ways. Don't be afraid to transfer if you're super unhappy! You're paying a shitload of money for this education and experience, you should be enjoying it.

@everyone Alright! I'm glad we're (= we, the West Coast) are getting some love - although I think it's funny so many people dream of the PNW (I was guessing most would want to move to SF/LA!). Any/all of you can have my place here, as I will soon be headed south to Texas!

frigwiggin

@Limaceous Mos' def' coming to the next Pinup that doesn't happen on the same weekend as other things! I haven't reeaaaally been looking because I do have a decent job now and my boyfriend's plans are basically going to have us here for at least another two years or so, probably--but all the good friends I have who are still in the state live in, like, Berkeley, and the siren song of the Bay is really hard to ignore. Thanks for the encouragement, seriously! I like my situation right now okaaaay, but I can't help but feel like I would be happier in a bigger, nicer, more interesting/diverse city. (Maybe not true? Maybe just grass-is-greener-ing?)

ImASadGiraffe

@emilylouise I don't know that I have love for either coast...I really like being a Midwesterner. Grew up in Wisconsin, now I live in Chicago, and can't really see myself leaving. We're all so NICE here.

My best friend moved to DC a few years ago and I hate it there. Everyone I meet from there is so wrapped up in themselves and what they're doing and trying to get ahead in their careers and working ridiculous hours. None of my friends here in the city do that. It even changed her personality a bit living there and I kinda hate it.

Anyway. Go Midwest.

P.S. Please don't hate me

@ImASadGiraffe
Ugh yes. I was sooo fed up with D.C. when I graduated I had to get out. Happy in Chicago now! Also: far far away from in-laws.

Grace Anne Boucher@facebook

@andrea disaster I just moved to the pacific northwest. It's beautiful and for the first four months I was constantly looking around going "But, look how gorgeous it is!" and then I got really sick of the rain. Still like it here... but the rain. You really cannot grasp it until you live here. So. Much. Rain.

oh, disaster

@Grace Anne Boucher@facebook Well, I live in Pittsburgh, which gets a decent amount of rain. I think I'd have a harder time living somewhere much colder with a flat terrain (like the Dakotas) than a rainy place.

nocomment

@kerridv Maybe I watch too much Portlandia.

oh, disaster

LW3, I don't have much to add in the way of what you should do. I just hope that whatever you decide makes you happy. I know when I was 18, I often turned to as many people as possible when making a decision and with lots of different pieces of great advice in these comments, I know I would have gotten overwhelmed. I'm not saying that you seem unsure or indecisive, but I know I would have been. Take a walk, think it over, and good luck.

tea for all

reading this comment thread, i actually said aloud to myself, "these ladies are so wise." (as are you, a coiled rope, as are you.)

SBGBlogs

LW3: I KNOW HOW YOU FEEL. I got rejected from NYU (my dream school) and ended up at state school in the middle of a cornfield and for all of freshman year, I hated it. I'd wanted to go out of state! To an east coast school! Away from things I knew!

But I stuck it out and when I realized that my state-school-in-a-cornfield just HAPPENED to have one of the single largest study abroad programs in the country... Well, let's just say that helped change my attitude! Instead of scrimping and saving and studying to transfer, I scrimped and saved and studied to get in to the study abroad program of my dreams.

Once my attitude changed and once I was more "on my own" and stepping outside of my comfort zone, I fell in love with my school. I spent 6 months in Europe having the best time and making the best friends on my own all paid for by me (and loans, obviously).

That said, I agree with A Rope! If you just don't care and you want to get out of your state and into one of those schools, DO IT. Do it now!

You can find a way to make it work and don't be afraid to talk to your current school counselors for help!

Figure out what you need to be happy and GO FOR IT. For me, it was traveling and living outside the country. What is it for you?

GOOD LUCK.

Megoon

@SBGBlogs Totes. I could not support study abroad more strongly if I tried. Even if you love your school (I had a panic attack before I left for study abroad, because I was having such a great time on campus), it's so so worth it.

miwome

@Megoon I am such a plumper for study abroad. (Seriously, I was on the Study Abroad Student Advisory Committee at my college.) I want everyone to do it! Everyone! Travel really is broadening! I have only ever met one person who didn't love her study abroad experience, and hers was a special case.

nocomment

@SBGBlogs one of my friends spent sophomore year in Luxembourg (Miami of Ohio has a program), which sounded really random at the time, and also that it was sophomore year and not junior. She went ALL OVER Europe and has the most incredible photos and stories. I am super, super jealous that I never went abroad during school. Luckily she still has wanderlust so I get to visit her/travel with her sometimes and she is great at it - travel skills/compatibility are wonderful to have.

angelan

@SBGBlogs I had the best time on study abroad. Having a forced separation from my parents was probably the best thing I could ever have done for myself.

ru_ri

This bowl of hummus is hoping Bobbie has a Grocery Store Husband, just for the sake of Symmetry.

Bjorn

Hi Freshman,

The year abroad is an AWESOME idea.. Try Buenos Aires. You'll learn Spanish, eat amazingly well and discover one of the coolest cities ever. Plus, Argentines are hot.

miwome

@Bjorn They really are.

trillian

@Bjorn So true. (And I'm not just saying that bc I married one).

Peep

LW3: Even if you opt to not take out loans, as soon as your parents file their taxes, fill out a FAFSA form (http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/). This also determines your eligibility for grants (FREE MONEY) and you may be eligible for more than you realize.

ThisLittlePiggy

LW2: I feel ya. I had a crush on a co-worker - it didn't go anywhere, but it was distracting (and I have a BF so I felt sort of morally obligated to try and purge it).

This being said. Getting over the chump wasn't hard at all - I just started redirecting my every thought about him. This will sound terrible, but I started to think of him as a piece of meat, a la a Chippendales dancer?! It helped that he was kind of a mimbo to begin with, but I just played it up in my mind. Like, I thought of terrible degrading things me or others could say to him. I ruthlessly criticized his work in my head. I analyzed his bone structure in great detail, discerning that he had the hook nose and thin lips of a Russian grandma, and the weird potato head-shape of Republican Presidential nominee. He walks like he has a turd in his pants. This is how I see him now. And I swear, a year prior, I was like "ooo so dreamy." YOU CAN DO IT!

KatieWK

@ThisLittlePiggy I just wanted to say that, as someone who has been in the same relationship for many years, I have made a lot of preemptive anti-crush lists in my day (this coiled rope is spot on with its advice!) and this is the best one I have ever read. I bow to you.

ThisLittlePiggy

@KatieWK Thank you. I just have way too much time to practice.

ELECTROMAGNETIC CHAOS

'Learn to hate (them)'

I can't get behind this as a healthy mechanism. Do we really have to 'sour grapes' something in order to get beyond it? I'm too busy at work to really pontificate, but I believe there are other ways to rise above it that don't leave such a scar in your mental space.

wee_ramekin

@Too Much Internet Yeah. I see the use behind the advice, but I'm just thinking about applying it and feeling really bad. Do I really have to hate a person who obviously has what I think are good qualities?

Then again, if you are continually thrown into the same place as your unattainable crush, you do need to create space from those crushy emotions. What else can you do? [I do not know. I am asking.]

Oh, squiggles

I'm wondering if hate was more a bad choice for a word. Seems more like coiled rope was trying to help LW get a more realistic view of her crush. Sometimes we put crushes on pedestals, think they are perfect, and become a little tunnel blind. She doesn't need to pursue hate as an emotion, but it might help to view the persons flaws more critically, so that they seem more like a real human being instead of someone perfect and unattainable.

oeditrix

@Awesomely Nonfunctional I think perhaps "Learn to be annoyed by him" is more accurate. It really does help me get over a crush if I allow myself the occasional mental eyeroll, accompanied by the thought, "Now that's exactly the kind of behavior that would drive me crazy if I had to deal with it day in and day out."

entangled

@Too Much Internet I was bothered by the description of it as "learning to hate" but the actual advice of finding things they do that are gross or annoying is actually pretty good. Generally those things aren't huge enough deal-breakers that you won't want to be friends with someone, but can totally shut down the sexual attraction. I had it really bad for a guy once... lasted a couple of years and then one day he told me that he only brushed his teeth once a month. That cured it good.

gtrachel

@arrr starr GROSS!

Hannah Ballou@facebook

To all the student loan haters, just three little letters: IBR. If you are struggling to make loan payments, google that shiznit.

Waiting

@Hannah Ballou@facebook International Bear Rendezvous?

leonstj

I started school at the art school. Of my dreams in nyc. At the beginning of the second semester, I was informed we couldn't afford it or even qualify for enough loans for me to stay, even with my awesome scholarship - studying film (I was jusssssst before digital, which sucks) is really expensive.

I was pissed as hell I couldn't afford to go to school in new york. So I got really drunk with my friends at a bar, and Folsom Prison Blues came on.

"And that train keeps a rollin on down to San Antone" Johnny sang.

So I went home still drunk, applied online to study Philosophy in Texas. After three years in a strange faraway place and two in the slums of Jersey working my way back to the city, I'm here where I love again since 2006.

College is surprisingly short - if you really need to get away, go to some other states state school. Even out-of-state tuition is not bad if you go somewhere mediocre, and if you're a hard worker where you went to school isn't that big of a deal. Go for the adventure!

Peanut

@leon.saintjean I LOVE this story. All the thumbs up! 'Philosophy in Texas' is also the title of my screenplay.

discocammata

@leon.saintjean Did you go to UT Austin?!

alliepants

But wait, coiled rope! Follow-up to LW1 - so, if his best friend isn't ready for a relationship and he doesn't know when she will be, why wouldn't he at least try to move on, and let things progress at a natural pace with the new girl? That sounds a heck of a lot better than waiting around. If it were a girl asking about a guy, I have a feeling the answer would be very different.

Daisy Razor

@alliepants "If it were a girl asking about a guy, I have a feeling the answer would be very different."

Really? Because it was a woman asking in the similar Bob/Eli situation, and the advice was pretty much the same. "Don't lead someone on if your heart's not in it" is pretty gender-neutral advice.

Poubelle

@alliepants You can move on without dating someone who doesn't know you're attempting to move on from someone else. (I mean, even with a rebound, you kinda need to be at least somewhat past the "I'm still in love!" phase.)

meetapossum

@alliepants I think it's the fact that he's still hanging out with his best friend. He may be trying to (and maybe could) move on with the new girl, but honestly, that's nearly impossible if the best friend is still his best friend. Especially when she gave that especially douchey answer, "I'm not ready for a relationship right now."

Oh, squiggles

I would love to go to a better school, but am so close to graduating! Regardless, best advice to a freshman? Keep up grades, do your research, get grants, scholarships, loans, and a job. Go to the school of your dreams, you can do it! Pursue all avenues! It will pay off. Transferring isn't that hard (I went from community college to a university), and as a freshman if you have taken a few course that won't transfer you aren't putting yourself too far back. Go for it, and good luck!

SuperGogo

Listicle without commentary:

Hummus, bowl of
Rope, coiled
Pigeon
Spider

madge

Preying Mantis

piggie

Grad school LW: I had the same situation! It was trouble until fall when a new crop of students came in and I fell for someone else (and a decade later we are married with two kids and all that). The thing that helped me the most was joining an Ultimate Frisbee league, seriously. Stop laughing. Benefits for me were threefold: 1. getting out of my lab and getting exercise, 2. meeting lots of new people, and 3. finding new, interesting boys to play with for a while. A couple post-Ultimate makeout sessions, no strings attached, and things seemed less awkward around my ex.

Turtle Wexler

@piggie Apropos of nothing, your avatar and username belong to one of my top five literary characters of all time. Well done!

editrickster

Hey there Fresh(wo)man! I understand what you are going through. I stayed at home for my first two years of undergrad and went to the community college. I was so burningly jealous of all my high school friends that went off to have adventures at State U or Other State U while I still lived with Mom and worked part-time at the art supply store and carted my younger brother between Mom's house and Dad's house. My friends could go and meet new people and live under a dorm roof instead of their parents' — plus I was sure they could decorate however they wanted and wear pajamas to class. How cool!

But I went to classes and paid for those first two years entirely out of pocket + small scholarships & grants. The first year I even had money left over (which I promptly blew on clothes since I was 18. Also, car repairs.). I think the largest class I had was maybe 30 students, tops. And yes, I'm talking about the intro courses that everyone has to take. No huge lecture halls, and plenty of attention from the actual professors.

I then transferred to State U after I had all my gen eds out of the way. I lived in the dorm for a year and then I studied abroad for the year after that! It was great! Then I finished up my required classes and graduated in 2005 ... into a recession, since Ohio never got out of the last one. Whoops? And my degree is in English! *Nelson laugh*

If I could tell 18-year-old me something, I guess it would be to at least minor in something slightly practical, because Elizabethan Lit is not going to get you too far. Following your dreams of analysing Shakespeare is overrated when there are bills to pay and financial anxiety is no-fun times.

I do not for one second regret the year in the dorms, or the study abroad. The study abroad, in particular, helped shape me into the person I am today. But goddam if I do not look back on those two years living at home and going to the community college as one of the smartest things I ever did, even though I did not love it at the time.

For some contrast, my brother did 4+ years at another State U, and I know his loan payments are around $400/month at least. Mine, for 3 years in-state tuition & living expenses, are around a much more manageable, much less of a pain in the ass $100, though I did work part-time through most of my degree. Sometimes, I wonder about the things I missed out on by not having 'the four-year experience' but I do know that my college experience, on three total campuses, was what I made it — not what some Uni guidebook said it was supposed to be.

editrickster

@editrickster I forgot to mention that some of those friends/acquaintances that went off to uni ended up in the halls of my community college by second year. Either they failed out or the money situation caught up to them, I don't know. I suspect you might see some of your former classmates walking around campus next semester or this fall.

Tricia

This is for the college freshman . . . "I really wanted to go to school on the East Coast, but it would have been too much money, and my parents wouldn't pay for my applications." It sounds like your parents put a guilt trip on you and manipulated you into staying close to home. I think what is bothering you is that you don't feel like you made your own choice. If you had wanted to apply, you could have found a way to make some money and paid for the applications yourself . . . why didn't you? Maybe deep down you knew you didn't need to go to an expensive school far away, or maybe deep down you were afraid to go to the expensive school you really wanted to go to. Whichever decision you make, you will only be happy if it is YOUR decision.
Meanwhile, maybe you can get a part time job and room on campus or something. You can justify that you are still saving a lot of money by not going to the expensive school, and you will gain a lot of freedom and independence.
PS. I haven't met anybody who wasn't homesick and unhappy their first year, including me. I went to a state school across the country (a middle ground from your two options) and it took me an incredibly long time to adjust to my new life.

Shara

I just got out of a four-month relationship in which I was a kind of "Ellie", and I wish he'd just been honest from the start. Now I'm dumped, and in love with a guy who is still dreaming of The One Who Got Away (10 YEARS AGO). This guy is hoping that some dream girl will appear and it will feel just as glorious and magical he did when he was 19. My argument is that he never actually dated this One That Got Away, so how the hell does he know how perfect she was anyhow? But I digress. The only solution for me? Run away, and don't look back. No good can come of this, LW1. Let both girls go, and get on with your drama-free life.

Grace Anne Boucher@facebook

Hey there, my fellow fresh(wo)man!
So, here are some things I've learned from running like hell from my home town. I live far (FAR) away, off campus, by myself, which is pretty much my dream arrangement and is everything I wanted when I moved (and more. I lucked out) . And I was right about what I needed to make me happy, which is the first thing I learned. Sometimes things that are mostly true, like that it's hard to make friends living off campus, or that college debt is the worst thing in the world, sometimes those things are true in general, but just not for you. It seems like for you the wisdom of living at home and pinching pennys is just not making you happy. And if you're that unhappy you entire life starts to fall apart. This is what I think, I think it's time you started paying close attention to what makes you happy. And if to be happy you have to move across the country, or join the peace corps, or just buy a red toasted and find some where to plug it in you need to do that.
The second thing I have to say it this: you can not run away from yourself. Which, I know, what a cliche, but if you asked me six months ago I would have said I didn't go 1500 miles from home to run away from myself. I was running from my tiny stupid town, and the stress of my parents, and the ach of missing my friends. The problem is that all those things have become a part of me, and it dosen't matter where I go. Sometimes I ache for the tiny town, where I was so safe and so complacent. And sometimes (often) I miss my parents, and just as often they still piss me off and stress me out, because they're my family, and that's just what they do. And I cannot explain how much I miss my friends. Truly, I can't. And I've made lots of friends here, but it's not the same as growing up with people and standing by them and just living with each other's lives.
What I'm trying to say is YES, run like hell if that's what you need to do. I needed to, too. But remember that moderation never hurt anyone, and that you may appreciate being somewhere close enough to get home for the holidays (flying across the country can be awfully expensive). I think that going far away will probably be worth it, but just don't expect it to fix everything, because it's a trade off.
No matter what you do, I wish you the best of luck!

Elsajeni

@Grace Anne Boucher@facebook This is pretty much what I was thinking. Yes, find another place to live if your parents are making you crazy; yes, look into financial aid and jobs you could get and cool study-abroad programs and what you would need to transfer. But also, maybe do try therapy? Not to "fix" you, but to look into your unhappiness and figure out if "I'm stuck at home at this school I hate" is really the main problem. Because moving across the country and taking on debt and working your ass off to pay your own way is a big step that could put you in a position where you have much less of a support network than you have now, and I think it's a good idea to figure out, to the extent you can, whether that will actually make you happier before you do it.

gtrachel

Sorry to be a downer, but am I the only person who thinks this "coiled rope / tub of hummus / inanimate whatever" joke is not funny? Can it maybe stop now?

Grace Anne Boucher@facebook

@gtrachel ... I think it's pretty funny still...

pamela m

the advice here about college is really, really good. take it from someone who never figured it out and never had a support system willing to help and give such good advice.

mystique

Hah! A very close thing happened to me in terms of LW#2, except he has a girlfriend and lives in my building and tried awkwardly to stay friends with me (which I've talked about on past Ask A...s). After a while where I asked him to leave me alone, then said sorry for it, then actually DID get to avoid him, I just...stopped caring. He was just dwelling in my mind forever, and then in the middle of a very busy day, I realized I had other things to think about--other things to do! Like, I'm still a bit attracted to him, but the way I see it, I'd much rather like someone who likes me! Who wants to date someone who doesn't want to date them, you know? I know it's a VERY hard concept to follow through on, but...one thing that helps is that he is super awkward. So, what I mistook for crush anxiety was actually emotional immaturity / general awkwardness. The way I see it, I would like someone who is a bit less awkward (not because people who aren't awkward aren't wonderful! just that...I feel like he hasn't caught up with me in terms of emotional intelligence, or at least is very different from me). But in terms of that, just think about the boy as a person. What type of person is he? Think about him as you would your other friends--usually with my other friends, I recognize their communications patterns and act accordingly (this person says sorry too much, this person is more brusque, etc. In this case, the boy is a little anxious in social situations, and doesn't seek people out easily.) Luckily, we have nearly zero mutual friends--but THAT has happened to me too, where all my good friends were friends with the boy I had unsuccessfully tried to date! The only thing that helped was when the summer came and I didn't like him after the first 3 weeks away.

And to be honest, with this boy I still hold out weird hopes that he'll mature a bit and we can get together. But I had those same ideas about boys before, and I realize they will fade, and we can just be regular old friends. Or maybe we won't stay friends. Ultimately, I plan to treat him like my friends (it also helped that he was an int'l student, and in class we talked about the emotional changes an int'l student goes through...and it made me realize why he would be so keen to stay friends with me.)

Of course I might go through another emotional roller coaster in the next month, but for now I'm okay :)

phewthatwasclose

I have a similar problem to LW #2. I have a pretty great boyfriend of 4 months in my program, and WHAM BAM I just got a raging crush on someone else in the school in another program. I literally couldn't remember this guy's name for 5 months (though he always knew mine) and one day in class, I found myself watching avidly his hand and his arm on the chair in front of me. Since then, he's been on my mind constantly and if I see him, I beeline for the guy. Ridiculous.

So he asked me out for a drink, and I'm going... and I will need that drink to tell him we can only be friends right now and CAN'T YOU SEE MY FACEBOOK PICTURES WHERE I AM WITH THE SAME GUY ALL THE TIME EVEN THOUGH I HAVE NO RELATIONSHIP STATUS? I debate breaking up with my boyfriend even though I still really like him.

Waiting

omg, omg, omg. I am sorry but I do not approve of this lady's advice - MOST ESPECIALLY for the LW who is tired of living at home while going to college.

Let me spare you a lot of details when I say - I HAVE BEEN THERE. THIS IS THE STORY OF MY LIFE. I hate my family, like, for reals. But if I didn't live at home, then I would have MUCH more debt than I do now. I regret the semesters that I did live on campus, because it was so expensive and now I will graduate with around $45,000 dollars of student loan debt.

Student loan debt IS DEFINITELY SOMETHING TO BE AFRAID OF. Like, what planet is this lady from?? I felt lonely, isolated, even second class when all of my friends went out of state for college. Now where are they? They are still awesome ladies, but they are having HUGE money problems. Because of their enormous student loan debt.

I'll tell you what happens after you take out student loans. You have to pay them back. Yup. And there's no getting out of it. Ever. You have to adjust your entire adult life around the debt you will need to repay. It is sad but true and a reality I am forced to face.

Yes, PLEASE look at study abroad options, do what you have to do, even transfer - but NOT for the sake of leaving the state for school. With debt, you are less likely to be self sufficient once you graduate and your standard of living will be lower because you will need to make the payments. Just think - if you graduate debt free, you could go anywhere you wanted once you graduate, live off of pennies if you wanted, and you wouldn't be saddled with debt.

Student loan debt IS SOMETHING TO BE AFRAID OF. I'm shocked Hairpin even posted this.

Waiting

@MalPal I need to also add that if you are unhappy, you definitely shouldn't just keep doing things the way you have been doing them. Therapy, changing jobs, meeting new people, all are really helpful.

Waiting

@MalPal sorry - this wasn't a lady - it was a coiled rope. A coiled rope that clearly underestimates debt!

DrFeelGood

@MalPal Yes! There is so much she can do to change her home situation, but staying debt free is the way to go. It's really hard to understand at 19 (or it was for me) that the decisions I'd be making then would still be impacting me 10 years later.

DrFeelGood

Dear college freshman - I feel for you gurl, I really do. It sounds like you have 2 issues here - living at home and whether or not you like the school you are attending. I had trouble separating the two while reading the letter, but it seems like your first priority should be getting your own place close to campus, and a part-time job to pay your bills. This will give you the freedom from your family that you crave. Then you can decide if you truly like or dislike your college. Your friends who are at other schools are most likely lying. Freshman year is "fun" but it is also awfully hard and lonely time. I think I went through about 4 sets of "best friends" my freshman year. So, trust, you're not really missing much. In my opinion, seeing what some of my friends went through, even private colleges (with huge endowments) can pull the rug on you in terms of your grants year to year, and if you plan on living on your own after college, it is really hard to pay bills and also student loans on a starting salary. I know so many people who wish they had did it differently. The best advice I can give you would be to seek some independence and meanwhile really explore what major you want to have and get all your general education requirements out of the way. Are you at a community college? It sounds a bit like, but I don't want to assume. You may want to look into transfer programs from a 2 year program (if that's where you are), since this will give you the most bang for your buck, in the long term. 2 years of v. cheap school and then finishing your degree at a private or larger University is a great way to go.

Lastly, I want to say that I know it sucks now, but you are actually making a great decision for your future. Trust me, all of us who have lots or little amounts of debt from college - it's frightening. The absolute best thing you can do for yourself is come out of college DEBT FREE. You will thank yourself for the rest of your life. Because I was *incredibly* lucky to come out of my 4 yr. degree almost entirely debt free, I haven't had to worry so much about my career choices, like doing that unpaid internship, or taking a trip to Europe after I had saved enough cash, because I wasn't paying out loans. You have enough foresight right now to be making these decisions that will impact you for the next 10 - 15 years. I know it sucks now, but when you're 25, you're not going to be worried that you weren't making popcorn at 3 AM in the dorm, rather you'll be thinking about all your loans. Good luck!!

Waiting

@DrFeelGood "when you're 25, you're not going to be worried that you weren't making popcorn at 3 AM in the dorm, rather you'll be thinking about all your loans"

Yes.

Jenny123@twitter

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FoleySparrow

Oh Pinners, I love you. I just got broken up with a few weeks ago, right ahead of Valentine's day! This "Things That Suck About ______" list is brilliant, because I have to see him frequently. Here goes!

* Farted in front of me. Farted in bed. Farted and joked about barking spiders. Farted generally. Farted and gave me shit about it. For two years. When he knew I thought it was juvenile and unsanitary. I'm am not the fart joke girl. Remembering how my fat uncles used to sit in recliners and fart in their sleep is not the image I want associated with my dear BF. No amount of explaining mattered. I was just supposed to get over this. Selfish, inconsiderate juicebox with a regressive sense of humor.

* Greasy hair. Yes. That. Dude, when you shower, wash your hair. With shampoo. Yes, every time. Not every third time. And no, just running the water over your hair doesn't count. Did your family not explain this to you growing up? Jesus. I never understood.

* Weird, obscure electronica, and the conviction he was some kind of awesome DJ avatar of embarrassingly bad, weird, obscure electronica. With videos. On walls. At parties. Oh god.

* Sunglasses indoors. Need I say more? Prescription sunglasses indoors.

* Bad dancing. Weird, awful, skinny white boy dancing to aforementioned awful electronica. While wearing the prescription sunglasses indoors. Facepalm.

* Being dragged to festivals where they played the bad electronica along with thumping dub step all night long. And people lit crap on fire. And danced around half naked in tattered homemade clothes, when they weren't screwing complete strangers in the bushes on pscychedlics and cocaine, and talking the next day about how awesome that was while getting smashed out of their minds all over again at 11:00 in the morning, still covered in mud. Gross. Just really totally gross. All set to a soundtrack of electronica and dubstep. These are the “friends.” And that was called "camping." No, I'm sorry. Just no.

* Bizarre eating habits and fanciful new diets. The belief that biking all day long for up to 25 miles a day while eating no carbs is a fine way to live. While being a grumpy damn opinionated bastard because he wasn't eating enough. Stubborn fool.

Gosh, I feel so much better! Thanks you guys! I will print this list out and refer to it before I drunk text some snarky comment to him in again the middle of the night. Or maybe as a reference point to pull said snarky comment from.

Happy Valentine's day Pinners! I'm so happy to be free!

GeekSays

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