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Dear A Mitch: So Are We Friends, Or...

November 25, 2009

by Alex Mitchell
Dear A Mitch: So Are We Friends, Or...

Dear A Mitch,

I am deeply confounded by and seeking insight into the male psyche!  There exists a guy,  Mr. A+, and though we have barely hung out in the past year (distance is an issue) we seem to enjoy our time together. So what am I supposed to make of the fact that he infrequently replies to my emails, and doesn't pick up the phone to call?

If he was just another guy, it might  be different. But he's become a friend who I wish could become so much more! You see, I was able to spend quite a bit of time discovering this hilarious, confident, smart, self-deprecating, and strong individual. We are both creative and extremely witty (to the extent that we are often the only one's laughing!), and not to mention our interests have only grown more alike over time. His friendly verbal (and sometimes physical) jabs could also be construed as flirtations (but maybe it's just brotherly love)....Is he playing hard to get? Giving me the cold shoulder? Am I only his buddy or pal? Some advice, please!

Vague Lady,

The male psyche is a dark hall full of disturbing imagery one can hardly conceive of. Well, mine at least. So maybe I wont let you completely in. Check out the living room, pantry is off limits. Don’t even think about the closets. However, I think there are a few generalized qualities inherent in many males:

  1. Guys playing hard to get is like clowns playing don’t be creepy – It is a rarity.

  2. Mind reading is impossible. Don’t expect men to know what you are thinking.

  3. Flirtatious is often a personality, not an intentional come-on.

  4. Just because a guy is confident and witty doesn’t mean those attributes transfer to having game with girls.

  5. Men are all different. Generalizations should be the last thing you should focus on. Wear it A to D.

So what to do without presupposition? Tiptoeing is annoying, grow a vagina: “I like you, but I can’t tell if you feel the same way back. Just tell me, do you want to be more than friends with me?” You gotta chuck your beans and go for it. Life is too short to wonder, when all knowing takes is asking.

You’ll probably catch him off guard, a time when truth truly shows face. What if he says, “Oh my god, I’ve felt this way forever!” You’ll feel like a million Galleons, and all those other enticingly giddy feelings that accompany a crush returned. If he’s stunned into stuttering, gasping for explanations that clearly describe his unromantic intentions, well, that will suck. But at least you will know he doesn’t think of you in that way. And then you can get over it and start spending this valuable time you have in college on more profitable love investments. Shoot, the “Without a Box” boys are single, ready to mingle, and will challenge your wit to the end of sobriety.

In the end, either things went your way or they didn’t. But if they didn’t, at least you can say you took the chance. You can never regret a jab at happiness.

A Mitch

Dear A Mitch,

I had such a tight knit group of friends back home and thought it would be easy to find the same thing here. I started hanging out with a group of girls and guys who I liked and started to feel comfortable with only to find out that they didn't like me-- they continually found ways to avoid having me around. I know there are plenty of other people I can befriend and I understand you can't be liked by everyone but the thought of getting shut down again makes me feel extremely insecure. I feel like the person I am at home and the person I am here exist in two separate universes. Advice?


Well, maybe you suck as a person. Or maybe, more likely I would say, you haven’t found a niche. Remember that word from sixth grade science. In social studies you learned porcupines didn’t find their niche until the Native American Cherequill Tribe started poking fun at them in the early thirteenth century. We attribute crocheting to this interaction (wikipedia).

Rejection is always hard. And yours wasn’t the quick and easy denial – The, I’m gay, sorry hun. You invested time with these friends, and just like any relationship, when you find out the interest you exchange is not reciprocal, it hurts. This doesn’t mean you are inept in any sense, it just means your personalities don’t click. And you can drown in self-loathing gloom, or you can say, “listen gloom, you lil’ betch, I’ve had about enough of you clouding my confidence. I’m gonna listen to 2Pac now and he says to keep my head up, so f with me.”

The point I am trying to make is you are who you are and anyone who doesn’t accept this should have approximately zero influence on your life. I know this is a model concept, sitting in Ideal Land amongst follow your heart and do what makes you happy, but it is something you can think about when you are struggling to find the confidence to reload your emotions and shoot yourself into new social situations.

But before you completely disregard these folks, confront them. Straight up. “Why do you guys always avoid me?” You might hear some bs cakes and pies answers, but you could also learn a thing or two about yourself. Maybe you are the cup-half-empty type and consistently bring everyone down. Maybe you never stop talking about things of no interest to anyone else, or maybe they just think you are ridiculous ever since you set fire to your boyfriend's Build-a-Bear. Legitimate or not, at least you’ll have some insight into why they think these things.

So how to make the new friend jump? Grab a table at the front of the dining hall and start a new friend club. People will walk by and ask you what you are advocating for and you can tell them you are starting a friend-profiting friendship club, revolving mostly around being friends and doing fun things together. If this task seems too bold for your nature, maybe just ask those acquaintances you have what they are doing for the weekend. You know the ones who you say hi to but don’t actually know? You have classes with them, right? That tricky exam Professor Gardner gave might be an excellent conversation starter.

Regardless, making friends usually requires some sort of effort. However you go about it, remember to always follow your heart and do what makes you happy. If all else fails, do drugs. Move to Portland, it will be easy.

A Mitch

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