Is The Guy I Like Into Me?

Your Question
I really like a guy I worked with. He left a couple of weeks ago and started a new job in a new city last week. I’ve been emailing and texting him since then. He always replies to my texts, sometimes hours later though, but never texts me first.

I asked if he’d rather I stopped texting him so much but he said I could text him when I want, he might not reply till later, but that he was trying to reply to me as soon as he could. I know he’s busy with the move and new job but just don’t know if he likes me or not. He never seems to ask many questions either.

is he into me?

the advicist
First things first, how far away is this new job and city? Like, 40 mins away, or a three hour flight away? Because my answer does depend on that. If it’s close enough by that you guys could regularly see each other, ok. If it’s long-distance well, I think you’re better just moving on. Sure, you liked him, but if nothing ever came of it before, and now he’s not textingtextingtexting, I don’t think this has the markings of a long-distance romance.

Assuming he’s nearby, then sure, maybe you guys could get closer. Perhaps working together wasn’t the ideal environment for blossoming romance.

But he doesn’t sound super interested. That’s not to say he isn’t interested. Just… he’s not giving off the ‘I need to see you!’ vibe… or else you wouldn’t be writing to me.

So I’d just see how it goes. Try making plans to meet up. His eagerness might give you an indication of how interested he really is.

There’s no big either / or here. See if he wants to hang out, if not, oh well. There’s no need for big proclamations.

And if he’s not that interested, don’t fret (I know that’s easier to say than hear). But honestly, if he isn’t that into you, and he’s letting you know NOW, he’s doing you a favour. He could string you along, see you when it suits him, offer you committment and very little fun (since you spend all your days waiting to jump to his whim when he does decide to call). Don’t become his fallback girl just because you want a crumb of his affection. Respect yourself, and know that, if he’s isn’t you, he isn’t the one for you.

photo credit: 20after4 via photopin cc

And a note from me: after some upgrades on the site, my contact forms aren’t working. I know this, and I will fix them. But actually… it’s nice not be overwhelmed with questions for a bit, so forgive me if I use this time to work on catching up.

If you do have a burning question, you can always e-mail me at admin -at- I won’t reply directly, or use your e-mail ever. Please note in your e-mail that you are happy for me to publish the Q & A on the site. And, if you don’t want your question publishing, or you want a quick answer by email, my Confidential Service is always available, and there is currently no waiting list.

My In-Laws Were Mean This Christmas

Your Question
I always knew there was something off about my FIL, step MIL, and SIL. It took 7 years for me to figure them out. They were always being bullies to my husband. Standing up for him seemed almost impossible because they felt they were in the right for being bullies.

They take all measures to find out information about him. They go to the extent of making up lies and spreading rumors.

Recently, they started on my kids and I. They are nice to our face. Then call us on the phone and leave nasty voice mails. My SIL says that life is better when we aren’t around. My FIL says that we all deserve to not be a part of this family. I don’t know what we did and neither does my husband. We would go to outings with them and have dinner parties. I thought we were all getting along and making fun memories.

Turns out my step MIL made up stories and said that my husband and I were running our mouth. When we didn’t. We got wind of that information from my SIL, from when she confronted my step MIL about the nasty things that were said about her. I’m assuming my step MIL convinced my SIL that all that stuff my step MIL said came out of our mouth.

We invited everyone over for thanksgiving dinner. They all said that they would show up. Noone came. They all called us to rub it in our face that they are having a great time without us. So then they invited us over for Christmas. We declined. They backfired with “enjoy another holiday by yourselves, its better without you anyways”.

Then they call us again trying to be nice. I’m so confused. My husband and I don’t call them or talk to them. But they try to talk to us. We just don’t want to be a part anymore. we tried to put everything aside for the holidays, but they were just rude again. Like I said earlier my husband and I decided to be cordial and distant. But they seem to not get the hint to just leave us alone.

My husband said they have been that way his whole life. I don’t know if I should confront them or ignore it all together. Things they say to us hurt. They succeed in making us feel worthless. I don’t know. Any advice would be nice. I’m just kind of confused.

Christmas is Over

Christmas is Over


the advicist

The first bit of your letter reads very, ‘He said, she said, I never’. And you know what? For all that information to get back to you someone is running their mouth, and unfortunately, with gossip, even if you’re just listening to someone else do it it appears like you are engaging in it.

I’m not saying I never gossip (gosh, how I love to gossip). But I also acknowledge that people are going to gossip about me. And you know what? I hope they make up some fun shit and enjoy themselves! What other people think of me is not that important. 

Sure, I want to be liked (by people whose judgement I trust. There are plenty of people I could not give a care in the world whether they liked me). But I don’t want to be liked by all people, at all times. Even those close to me aren’t going to like me every second of every day. It’s not realistic. And it’s really NOT THAT IMPORTANT.

So I was all ready to tell you to just calm the hell down… and then you came to the part about Thanksgiving. They accepted an invitation and then didn’t show up?

UNNACCEPTABLE!! Surely they know the trouble you went to. The shopping you did. The cooking. The table-laying.

If they really gave you the impression they were coming, and then didn’t show, seriously? I’d be tempted to let them go their own way until they got in touch. Who needs hassle like that in their lives?

I say, ‘If they really’, because I’m getting the exaggeration vibe from you. Honestly, did you make what you thought were water-tight plans? Like, ‘2pm arrival for a 3pm lunch’? Or did you say in mid-September, ‘Hey, come to ours for Thanksgiving!’, and then waited around for them to get in touch with you, rather than properly inviting them with specifics? (Please answer in the comments, gah, I really need to know!) (UPDATE: The letter writer replied! See the Comments below)

I totally agree with your decision not to go to theirs at Christmas, given how they have treated you. Them rubbing your faces in what a great time they were having is ridiculously childish.

So ridiculously childish that I’d have a hard time getting worked up over it. It’s like when your 4 year old niece says something mean. She’s only 4! What do you expect? That’s kind of how I’d deal with this. They are SO childish it’s kind of hard to get worked up about it. I’m more inclined to pity them.

Honestly, I don’t think ‘Having it out’ with them will acheive anything. You’ve said yourself that they consider themselves to be in the right by bullying your husband.

What I would suggest is that you:

1) Rise above it. Don’t engage in the tittle-tattling. When sister-in-law says, ‘You’ll never guess what Mom said about you!’, say, ‘Honestly, Kim, I don’t want to hear it. Thanks, but I’m not getting caught up in that drama’. REPEAT THIS LINE UNTIL IT SINKS IN.

2) Tell them clearly and calmly when they have crossed a line, and what action you are going to take. So when they are belittling your husband in some way, you CALMLY say to your father-in-law, ‘I’m not prepared to listen to you talk to my husband in that way. If you continue, I will have no choice but to leave’. Then FOLLOW THROUGH.

Don’t merit their bullying by arguing with them on each point. Do not even accept the premise of what they are saying. Don’t dive in with, ‘No he didn’t!’. Simply state that you are not going to listen to it.

Only put commitments on your own actions (eg I will leave), not your husband’s (eg we will leave) and let him make his own choices. They are his family. He will naturally endure more than you will. Don’t make it a battle for him to pick sides. State clearly what YOU will do, then do it by yourself. If your husband choses to leave too, good on him for setting boundaries with his family. If he chooses to stay, good on him for setting boundaries with you.

3) Regarding the answerphone messages. Listen to them quickly, and if they are just pointless nastiness, delete and move on with your life. Yes it’s horrible. But cutting off relationships altogether is a big step. If you can get along face-to-face as you used to do, and just have to quickly cull your messages once in a while, maybe that’s the easiest and best solution.

Yes, it’s hard to hear people speak ill of you. But if you KNOW in your heart of hearts that they are wrong, and deluded, and honestly, have some bigger problems, it should be like water off a duck’s back. ‘Ah, nonny left a crazy message again, oh well!’.

And in case you didn’t get my first point, which is really my only point, you need to rise above it.

If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem, as they say.


PS. Readers, tell me straight: am I being too harsh today?

PPS. UPDATE: See the reply to my question in the comments.

photo credit: Lynn Friedman via photopin cc

And Now For All The Nasty Things People Did to Each Other over The Holidays

Your Question
Okay. I have never been able to get along with my sister in law from the get go. I can’t make her happy no matter what I say or do. This has been going on for many many years. I just don’t know what to do or say anymore. What she did on Christmas Day was just so uncalled for. Please help.

the advicist

You can’t leave us hanging like that. What did she do????

I need specifics. Quick. I’ve got time to kill before the New Year.

My Future Husband doesn’t Want a Party But I Wanna Party, waah

Your Question Hi, my fiancé and I have booked our wedding in Italy next Spring and we are having a party when we return to celebrate with the friends/ family who can’t afford to go.

He was never keen on the party and now is refusing to go ahead with the party at all, he says he doesn’t really care about “these people” anyway and if they cared they would come to Italy.

This really upsets me, one of my best friends who I want as bridesmaid at the party is terrified of flying and can’t go to Italy and my grandparents can’t fly and lots of my friends/ family can’t afford to go.

When we discuss it he says he’s upset I won’t consider his needs and he doesn’t like being the centre of attention, he’s proposing we all go for a meal- but I would rather have a party for everyone.

But it’s also my wedding and I want to wear my big dress twice and be the centre of attention!

Also our invites which have arrived state “don’t worry if you can’t attend further celebrations will take place when we return ”

We seem totally entrenched on this, please help! I don’t want to start our marriage entrenched over a party!

Party time
the advicist

Look, if he said a flat out ‘no’ to a celebrations when you got home, I would think he was a jerk. What about your grandparents? What about your best friend? But he didn’t say a flat out ‘no’. He suggested a dinner for everyone. That is what we married people call a compromise. 

He doesn’t like being the centre of attention. Can you not understand that?

And don’t worry about the what the invitiations said: 1) a dinner totally counts as a ‘celebration’. 2) even if you said ‘party’ and it became a dinner no-one is reading the invitaition that closely to notice.

You are grasping at straws there and you know it.

photo credit: avlxyz via photopin cc

Locks in The House to Prevent Snooping In-Laws: Sensible or Trouble-Making?

Your Question My in-laws’ opinions are that since son/brother is head of the household, the wife should go along with whatever.

I’ve financially contributed to the purchase of our home, plus I brought everything into the home when we married.. furnishings, china, silver, linens, pots, etc. I pay for my cars, visa, etc., keep a clean home. He’s a good provider, takes care of a large yard, and can repair just about anything. I’ve finally set limits about how long they can visit.

They snoop through my personal things when I’m not around. One female takes things. All are slobs and expect me to pick up after them. I no longer do, so hubby does it. There’s now a lock on my office. My bathroom is off limits. There’s a guest bathroom.

Hubby thinks I’m being paranoid. I think I’m being realistic and can leave the house knowing they’re unable to get to my things.

No Entry

the advicist Honestly, the locks sound like a pragmatic solution to me.

Your husband is obviously unwilling or unable to set boundaries.

Personally, I wouldn’t want in-laws with such attitudes to stay with me. If he insists on them staying, I think you ensuring your personal space and belongings are out of reach is fine. But, look.

The locks aren’t the problem here. The problem is that your husband is putting their needs and demands above your own. And that your reaction to that is to do something unilaterally, which he has said he does not want to happen.

You need to work this out, as in come up with a full on strategy for dealing with his family. What is and is not acceptable to each of you.

He may not be happy to ask them to stay in a hotel. You may not be happy with them using your bathroom. Perhaps a lock is a good solution to that – but the way it has been implemented was not.

Honestly, I’d suggest a counsellor. It’s a minor issue – but it’s a very touchy one, and people can get defensive, and it can get nasty. A quick session with a counsellor might just give you some tools to use. Tools for negotiating this issue between the two of you, and tools for enforcing your decisions and boundaries with the family once they have been set.

photo credit: JustinJensen via photopin cc

This Friendship is Over. So Why Isn’t It?

Your Question
I met my boyfriend through a friend 3 years ago, we had only been friends for 6 months. Since dating him she excludes me from everything, makes sure I feel unwelcome, has had nasty comments aimed at me, in a sneeky manner not greeting, inviting everyone but me for gatherings, I accompany with my boyfriend anyways.

After 2 and a half years of taking it and being quiet, I got angry, trying to talk to my boyfriend, she denied all of it, and eventually it got to the point where I started doing the same back to her, her older sister (the oldest) saw this, and decided she will stick up for her lil sister, and told me to eff off, and I left it, at the next gathering, I wasnt invited, as usual, and told my boyfriend to go without me, which he didnt go, and the oldest called me the C word, and i called her the C word in return.

3 months later I saw her and without warning, she attacked me. We are at the point where they are banned from our place, and each other, we are planning our wedding, and we have plans for a kid in the future, but I’m worried on how this will all pan out or blow up some day, what are the routes this could take? How long am I safe from them? Was I right to stand up and cut them out?

Pandora's Box
the advicist

Sounds like this friendship has run its course. What else is going on here that you can’t just stop seeing this friend like you would anyone else who you no longer got on with?

I don’t really understand the dilemma. You were friends, you’re not now, la-di-da, life goes on. Why did you even put up with this crap for 2 and a half years? She’s your friend, not your mother.

Tell. me. more.

photo credit: laverrue via photopin cc

The Nasty Sister-in-Law

Your Question
I’ve got ongoing serious problems with a sister-in-law who wants me obliterated. She has been enabled & empowered for years by the rest to the family & She’s out of control now.

She writes terrible emails undermining me to my children & other family member. She screams and yells at me – blaming all that has ever gone wrong on me – no wonder I’ve kept my distance. However I have an elderly mother whom she has been bullying for years & I guess she thinks she can treat me the same way. Very nasty & destructive stuff.

I’m ready to ask a lawyer how to protect myself. What to do?

advice on families
the advicist

Well my usual advice would be not to engage with her, and just ignore it.

Any family member who receives a crazy and nasty e-mail from someone will know that the person who sent it is the nutty one, not the person they are writing about. Don’t scream and yell back, stay calm at all times – all the usual stuff.

But the idea that you might need a lawyers help to protect yourself makes me think this is more serious.

Do you mean ‘obliterated’ in the way I think you do? Because it’s one thing to send nasty e-mails, it’s another to want you obliterated. If you meant this literally, you need to go to the police, NOW.

If you meant this figuratively, maybe you should pay more attention to your word choice when dealing specifically with the written word. Or stop being so over-dramatic. I cannot tell which since I can’t hear your tone – sarcastic, or melodramatic.

In what way do you think you need protection? Physically? In which case, go straight to the police. Legally? As in, something to do with your mother’s estate, then yes, go to a lawyer.

It seems you need more help that I can offer, but I can’t be more specific with resources without more information.

Stay safe, and good luck.

Lonely at College

Your Question
I’m a first year student at a small college and I’m having social issues. I was really focused on academics in high school and even though I had friends and a boyfriend in high school, I mostly stayed in on weekends and was never social.

Now I’m in college and I want to try new things and party, but I never get invited anywhere. I’ve been friendly and fun as far as I can tell, and tried to be the one making plans, but I feel so clearly behind the party scene and so awkward somehow that it never works out. I feel really lonely and bored, now. Advice?

Lonely at College

the advicist


Firstly, points for self-awareness in checking that you aren’t the problem. You’ve been friendly, and you’ve tried initiating plans. That’s a great start.

My advice would be to try other ways to be social that aren’t partying. It sounds like that’s not a good fit for you really. Maybe it will be, down the road, but if it’s not working out now, no need to focus on it. There are plenty of other ways to make friends and enjoy people’s company, especially at college.

Have you looked at joining any groups or societies? I was very active in a few, and met lots of people. The ones I was involved with that had a charitable focus also included a disproportionate number of people with, let’s say, lower than average social skills, so if you feel more comfortable when surrounded by awkwardness, that might be a good option. [and shout out to all my slightly awkward friends from that era, I hope you don’t mind my verbalising what we all know to be true :) ]

Clubs, societies, sports teams, the campus newspaper… there must be something that piques your interest? Knitting? Basketball? I don’t know how big your college is, but even at smaller ones, students are a social group with more free time than most, and shared facilities readily available at a low cost, so I find they have one of the most active social scenes of any community.

Also, I’ve written a couple of posts about making friends as you get older – they don’t necessarily apply to your exact situation, but the step-by-step may be of some use:

Making Friends After College (1)

Making Friends After College (2)

Turning Acquantainces to Friends

Those people who you have already met – in your classes, or at your accomodation, why not try socialising with them during the day? This would quell the loneliness and not involve the rejection you fear with partying events (work up to it though!).

I usually found very willling coffee or lunch dates because most people were trying to procrastinate and avoid writing essays too!

A job is also a good way to meet people, with the advantages of cash and experience. Do your due diligence though.

What I’m saying is, look farther afield than just the partying scene. Once you find a few good friends you will be much more likely to be invited along, or will have a partner in crime to invite along to evening events yourself. Best of luck. Any other readers have tips for our letter writer?

photo credit: Allio via photopin cc

My Sister-in-Law Ignores Me

Your Question Dear Advicist, I hope you can help me. Three years a go I got married, and had my sister in law (bro’s wife) as a bridesmaid.

She got very involved (some witnesses described it as ‘domineering’) in the organisation of the event (which we wanted to keep quite low key, and she did not quite see that). She ended up very cross and insulted by our ingratitude and general behaviour.

I am a sane and reasonable person, with friends of many years and good family. I am not perfect at all, but I do my best, and have really tried to work out where we went wrong at this event. Ever since, we have been ‘persona non grata’, if that’s the term.

Seen begrudgingly, invitations to lunch or tea ignored, arrangements made with other family that doesn’t include us. I find it very hurtful, and sad. We were never close friends, but we had an okay relationship as sisters in law.

I sometimes wonder whether it was all my fault, for having her as a bridesmaid in the first place – perhaps that was too much strain on the relationship. I knew, in my heart, that the potential was there for this to go wrong (I do find her domineering, as the witnesses described, but I have always defended her with regards to that, and accepted it about her).

As I write this I realise it is complicated. I cannot say I am desperate to be best friends, and I accept we may be quite different people, but that is fine. I do want to be good family, see each other at birthdays and meet occasionally for tea, in a kind of neutral territory.

At the moment they are making out that quite distant relatives are more important to them than we are. Is it possible that the wedding was used as an excuse to make the break? If I look back over the course of knowing her, she has sometimes caused trouble for me before, speaking against me to my parents (her in-laws) for example, or by being quite judgmental. Perhaps she was never that keen on having us be in their lives? What should I do?

My Sister In Law Doesn't Want to be Friends
the advicist
Firstly, let me say I am sorry for you that you don’t have the relationship with her that you envisaged. It sounds like you tried to reach out and create a friendship with her by inviting her to be in your wedding, and, though you knew it was a risky strategy, you are upset it didn’t work out.

That is totally understandable, and I commend you for asking her to be a part of your wedding in the first place. (Brides to Be: let this serve as a warning to listen to your gut when picking your bridal party, however. Nice intentions are good, but be careful).

Unfortunately, you are now in the place where she doesn’t really seem to want a close relationship with you, and you do.

I’m sorry to tell you that you can only have the relationship with someone that they want to have with you. You can’t be friends with someone who doesn’t want to be your friend. You can’t be lovers with someone who isn’t interested. I think you know that.

As for how to proceed, the only thing I can suggest is that you keep reaching out, because a) a relationship with her is obviously important to you b) it’s the right thing to do anyway (and we all know I love the moral highground) c) as the wedding fades from view, she may come around.

So I’d continue to invite her to family events, get in touch on birthdays, send her a text every now and then asking how she’s doing. I’d reach out especially on important milestones in her life (eg. “Happy Wedding anniversary! Remember how we danced to “Don’t Stop Believing'”, or whatever.

I’d go for texts that don’t ask a question or require a response. That way, if you get one, you feel like you are getting somewhere, but you’re not left waiting, hanging on, and wondering why she isn’t replying.

Not much else I can offer, unfortunately. I’m not a fan of begging someone for their friendship, I would be careful not to come across as too desperate, but that probably has more to do with me and my insecurities than decent advice. Keep doing what you’re doing. Hopefully she’ll eventually realise you have a good heart, and any misunderstandings between the two of you are just a difference in personalities, and not a direct attack.

(and for those of you wondering why I am being so nice, it’s because the questioner sounds very self-aware, and has already realised the above about her sister-in-law – she is who she is, she’s not trying to be awkward, she’ s just difficult. Sorry if you only come for the snark. I’ve got some good stuff lined up…).


photo credit: peasap via photopin cc

I want to Elope…But I Want to Wear a Wedding Dress

Your Question I’ve read through your advice on eloping, and you almost cover my question but not quite.
My fiance wanted to elope, neither one of us relish being the center of attention. I wanted a wedding, partially for me and partially our families.

‘Till his mother, who is not contributing, muscled in and started pushing us around…you have to do this and that and that…she also has barely acknowledged that I have a mother and has spoken of her once, snidely. She has trampled on my sister’s feelings and tried to take ownership of every event there could possibly be. Too much stress for me and my resentment for her was growing sky high – the kind of resentment there could be no coming back from. So we stopped the wedding and decided to elope.

My problem? A small part of me wants to wear my wedding dress, but I have no desire to have the wedding. A larger part of me wants my family with me, but I need to get away from this woman and just be married. The empathetic part of me still wants fiance’s parent’s there to witness the vows.

I’m certain about the man, pretty certain once there is nothing to plan the mother’s bulldozing will die down (from what I’ve observed), but I’m not certain about how to go about getting married. I am also certain I must keep his mother miles and miles away from any planning. Am I on the right track with eloping, or am I one of those people you’d advise not to elope?

advice on weddings

the advicist
Elope, and wear a FABULOUS wedding dress. When you come back, have a party for those who missed the wedding, and rock that dress again!

I’ve been to events just such as this, and I can promise you guests are thrilled that the bride wore her dress again.

Oh, I love an easy question!