August 10, 2012
A Bonus Predicament from November 2, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
Thank you so much for answering my letter last week. Actually, when you wrote the “Friends to Lovers” column the week after I sent it, I sort of figured that it applied to me, so that you’d already responded, and I realized I should consider taking the advice in that column. There hasn’t been any closure to the story yet, but I just wanted to answer the very insightful points you brought up:
>1. “We ended up pretty much revealing our feelings
> for each other.” Pretty much? Was this revelation,
> on her part, a sober, solid, lucid statement of
> fact/lust? Or, perhaps, did you make the first
> confession, and then go on to inflate her
> Chianti-enhanced, engagement-jittery being-nice
What I meant is, we kissed that night. Trust me, I always recheck audio tracks — as you noticed, I read texts very closely (I used to think this tendency was beneficial), and it was definitely her who made the first confession. I was more surprised than anybody that the subject ever came up. (OK, perhaps there was a small Chianti element, but I know I was completely avoiding the topic, for fear of jeopardizing our friendship.)
> The voice of caution, however, would like to note
> that BG does not hear from you anywhere near the
> level of love-or-die urgency she did from G. It’s not
> even at the level of publish or perish.
No, it’s love or die all right. It is also certainly at the level of publish or perish, as in *if she’s not there I don’t know if I’ll be able to survive school anymore.* I was just trying to tone down the emotion so that I could right a reasonably clear and concise message. You should have seen me dejected and pouting for about two months after she left for the summer. (My friends all thought I was like that character in Swingers, except I never broke out of it.) The Guy at the End of the Bar is right about this one. But I haven’t had a chance recently to take anyone’s advice. Here’s a brief update, showing that things are, if anything, even more unclear now than when I wrote you (at least to me):
July 26, 2012
Unrequited on October 26, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
There’s a girl whom I really like that I met this year at college. She has a bf who is in the Navy who is thousands of miles away. I know she really cares for him, and loves him. I don’t want to come between something like that. I don’t want to be the jerk who breaks up a good thing. But I can’t help but feel the way I feel. When I’m around her, I feel so alive. At the same time though, she is a really good friend. I feel like I can open up to her about anything, but what I don’t feel is the same from her. How do I go about showing her I can be one of the greatest friends of her life without flirting with her, or making her feel I want a closer relationship out of it. I mean, I do, but right now all I really care about is strengthening our friendship.
Then maybe if things were meant to be, something will come out of if. If not, then I’m happy just being friends. My biggest concern is that once the semester is over and I don’t have any more classes with her, which I’m sure I won’t, it will be difficult finding reasons to call her or go to her place. Thanks.
– Hopeless in Hartford
Okay. Don’t overdo it, but go ahead and do all the things that I always yell at the accursed Friend-Boys for doing. Do nice stuff for her. Do fun stuff with her; do not touch. Build her a loft, for all I care. And/But if you find yourself without a good reason to call, then don’t. Instead, find a reason to call someone else. And ask her out.
June 8, 2012
The Predicament of the Week from October 19, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl:
I’m a longtime reader of your page, and your advice has always helped me to figure out what’s going on in my own life. Many thanks. But now I am in a state of complete and total perplexity (which I gather is not that unusual for grad students). Here’s the situation (if it can be accurately depicted in text):
I’m in my mid-20s. I’ve been friends with K. for nearly two years, and we’ve become very close. She’s a few years older than me. A couple months after we first met she started dating this other guy, younger than I am, who for the last year has lived in another city. (Also a grad student, and yes, we are all in the same field. Note to ANSBGS["Professor Rebound"] it seems it’s always in the same field.) Six months ago, they got engaged. But K. never really seemed comfortable with the idea of being engaged; in fact, the more I learned about her, the less she seemed like the marrying-and-settling-down type. (And he seems way too eager to settle down. K. herself has said this to me).
I’m very much attracted to her, and it seems mutual, but of course we never explicitly admitted it. Until a certain point in April, when we went out one night and ended up pretty much revealing our feelings for each other.
March 19, 2010
An ancient evil resurfaces on March 23, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
I have a problem with not wanting to hurt anyone, even at my own expense. I know I must bite the bullet and break off clean rather than drag/lead on a relationship after it’s gone sour. I become what the girl wants me to be and when I want to be myself she thinks I’m going psycho when in reality I was just a facade to her in the first place. I guess I just have to learn to be myself first and find a girl who likes me for me and not who they want me to be. In a way I guess I don’t really have a question, I just needed to talk. Thanks BG. I really appreciate your ears.
A Hopless Romantic at Purdue
P.S. I also am a classic case of “nice guys finish last.” I don’t drink or smoke (anything) and I’m waiting until I’m married to have sex.
I do have a question after all. All of my relationships have lasted over two years. I’m now trying to find one that I can be myself in but every woman I know says does this just before I ask them on a date. They give me a big hug and say, Sometimes I’m even told that I’m their best friend. Yet some seem to flirt with me anyway, but when I ask them on a date they are always busy. I have 100s of great female friends and not a single romantic one. Minus one clinging vine that I have to cut loose. We broke up four months ago and she still thinks we are going to get married. (I feel like Wayne in “Wayne’s World” with Stacey.) My question is this. If a girl says “You are such a great friend,” should I give up on a romantic relationship or do women just get kicks out of confusing men? Thanks again.
Dear Hopeless Romantic,
No, thank YOU. You — along with your brethren all over the world who share this same waking nightmare — have provided me with one of the best articulations I’ve ever seen of
The Curse of the Friend-Boy.
First of all, OUCH. They hug you too? Yeesh. That adds insult to intimacy. Who knew niceness could be so harsh?
February 15, 2010
MSN.com, Match.com, HappenMagazine.com: they’re in a healthy and satisfying 3-way relationship. Meaning that you can find MSN/Match.com’s “Ask Lynn” columns –penned by BG’s alter ego — over at Happen now as well.
This week Lynn embraces Mr. Hug, a guy who finds himself offering emotional support to unhappy women, but who wants so much more.
I recently crossed paths with a high-school crush (girl #2) who is hanging onto a particularly lousy ex. I tried to put aside my crush — which she’s aware of — and become the guy whose shoulder she cries on. … It’s hard, but I’ve adjusted to being lonely.
Can Lynn help this nice guy finish first? Read her tough love over at Happen, then come back here and offer your own advice in the comments.
December 5, 2008
Today we present the original “loft-builder” letter from January 19, 1998, which inspired Paul The Intern’s origin as well as this classic animation!
Dear Breakup Girl,
The thing I fear most in life is “I just want to be friends.” Or “I don’t want to ruin our friendship with a relationship now.”
I have been trying to get to know these women in college. I did all the things a “nice guy” does. I helped move big stuff into their dorm rooms, set up computers and bed lofts, what have you. That’s how I am: When I like a woman, I try to help her out. Well…then I get to be her best friend. I’ve tried not to be a “nice guy,” but I just can’t. It’s instilled deep within me. So what can I do to not be the best-friend/older brother/father/confidant and be someone’s boyfriend?
– Broken Heart Bob
June 2, 2008
To forget Jackie, Paul turns back the clock–for realz…
March 27, 2008
And now a word from a BG VIP: It’s Broken Heart Bob, the original Loft-Builder!
When we first meet BHB, he asks, nicely, how he can be a nice guy without being The Nice Guy. The guy who women flock to… for help with odd jobs. You know, the guy whose shoulder women cry on…about other men.
Several months after that, he’s back, and he’s crushing on someone 11 years his senior — though at least, thankfully, not expressing his feelings by offering to drive her to the airport or move her piano.
Then: Another missive detailing a massive dating drought in which dry conditions also help set an old flame alight. Which would be hot except for the part where she’s married to a doofus. And now he’s got a tattoo: a tattoo of the earth on his shoulder. The world! On his shoulder! Oh, the weight! Oh, Broken Heart Bob!
And now! BHB writes from Africa! Turns out our man has joined the Peace Corps. In other words, he is building the world a loft, in a good way. Here is his latest missive, plus a bit of a pep talk from BG. (Note: This response from BG to long-time VIP/FOBG BHB is an extra-special VIP case. Please send your requests for advice to my alter-ego at AskLynn@match.com) Feel free to add your comments as well!
, Age Difference
, BG VIPs
, Broken Heart Bob
, long distance
, Nice Guys
, Peace Corps
March 20, 2008
And I don’t just mean they finish building the loft first. I mean that according to a Harvard study published in the new issue of the journal Nature, among 100 college students asked to play about 8000 rounds of game-theory-gasmic “prisoners’ dilemma,” using dimes, those who less often meted out “punishment” came out ahead. Those who “punished” the most wound up with the least money; to the the “co-operators” went the spoils.
This is impressive to me, given that having to play 8000 rounds of prisoner’s dilemma with only dimes at stake would make me want to punish someone. Of course, it was Yahoo, and not Harvard, who concluded from this data — despite the fact that study subjects were male and female — that “Nice Guys Finish First,” but hey. We like nice; thought you might like to know!