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Give yourself, nonromances some credit

Carolyn Hax The Washington Post

Hi Carolyn! I have a wonderful, fulfilling life full of friends, great job, family, travel, activities I enjoy both alone (happily) and with others. But, whenever I develop a huge crush on someone, with strong chemistry, and there’s not much of a response, I nose-dive into low self-esteem and act like a total ditz around said love interest.

I am afraid my overly eager, ditzy self turns off the guys I like; it probably reveals too much neediness, which is not even the real me when I’m normal. I’m completely together and confident in other situations, and with many men (whom I’ve not had deep crushes for). Help! I feel like I’m messing up those few rare opportunities when I actually really find someone interesting (which doesn’t happen often). – Boston

Oh, so that’s what “rare” means.

I get it, these attractions are your emotional Holy Grail.

I get it, but I don’t agree that it’s “rare” for you “actually really” to find someone interesting. You are immersed in interesting people and great chemistry. That’s what it means to have “wonderful” friends, family, job and life. Give yourself and your nonromances some credit.

And, more important, take some credit away from these supposedly magic encounters. The way you’ve inflated their importance, and therefore your expectations, it’s no wonder you babble and drool.

I have no science to support me, just the findings of my three favorite research assistants, Wear, Tear and Mileage – but all three have established independently that huge crushes are not necessarily precursors to happily-ever-after.

In fact, butterflies can actively interfere by warping your judgment. Think about it – you wrote in, why? Because you lose all control and perspective. Not the best time to make life-altering choices. Crushes aren’t love, they’re adrenaline. Newness, unknowns, excitement.

Meaning: If you’re attracted to someone you don’t know well, that attraction won’t last. It may evolve into one that does last, but good luck predicting that.

So, while it may seem like I’m now eight paragraphs into not solving your blithering-ditz problem, that’s only because I am. I’m suggesting instead a problem bypass: Call it minor and ignore it.

Your reaction may always annoy and embarrass you, but you most likely aren’t alienating any serious potential love interests. Those will be the guys who make you comfortable, not clingy, and to whom you become more attracted the better you get to know them. Who knows – maybe believing this will calm you down.

Hi Carolyn! A friend is coming to live near me for several months due to a work rotation. She tends to have a very bossy personality and gets jealous of my spending time with my friends and my boyfriend. This has erupted into fights in the past. How do I make it clear that while I want to see her sometimes, I have other friends and obligations and I can’t see her ALL the time? I’m kind of scared of her exploding at me. – W.

Your life, yes? Just checking.

The minute you start handling her as if she were unexploded ordnance, she ceases to be your friend.

So, treat her like a friend. See her when you can and want to, and don’t when you don’t. i.e., let her explode. “You’re great, but I have other friends.”

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