Tag Archives: psychology


Dear Steve,
An old friend told me that she dates two types of men: 1) Men who are too good for her, and 2) Men who she really loves, but somehow messes things up with. She then proceeds to say that I fall into neither category… What does that mean? I have been trying to figure out this one for a couple of weeks. If her theory is that both kinds of men are wrong for her, then shouldn’t I be the one who’s with her? And why would she tell me that if she says she only wants to be friends?

You’re making this way more complicated than it is. I don’t want to be harsh, but let me spell it out for you – she’s not interested. When a woman tells you that she only wants to be friends, what she’s really saying is, “I only want to be friends.” If you can’t accept that, you’re like a thirsty guy in the desert who thinks a palm tree is really a water fountain. For whatever reason (probably because you’re not edgy enough), you’re not on her sexual playing field. She dates two types of men, and you’re not either of them (I would take that as a very big hint). I don’t think she was sending you some kind of subliminal message that you two should be together.

You need to be very honest with yourself. Do you want to hang out with a woman to whom you are attracted, knowing she’s not attracted to you? Some guys think, “if she just spends enough time with me, I’ll win her over with my sparkly personality.” Or maybe, you just really want to be friends and you think you can let go of your desire for her. Good luck.

This is one of the great conflicts between Womanus Americanus and Dudus Americanus. Let me explain. Man and woman are hanging out. Man likes woman. The woman doesn’t like the man (in that way). The woman says, “let’s just be friends”. The man has two options.

First option, the man can say, “sorry, I don’t think I could deal with that” (the right choice). To which the woman responds, “well then, I guess you never really liked me, because if you really liked me, you would want to be my friend, even if we’re not going to have sex.” Or perhaps she’ll respond with the classic, “that’s so immature.” There’s also, “come one, we have fun together, we can still have fun together.” Worst of all is, “if we had sex, it would ruin our friendship.”

Have you ever noticed that when one of your female friends is attracted to you, she’s never worried about sex messing up your friendship?

Option two, the man can say, “sure, let’s be friends.” Thus begins the slow descent into madness. It starts with an annoying inner argument between two parts of your brain. Part one says, “sure, I can be her friend, I’ll get over this attraction thing.” Part two says, “come on, you’re a guy, you’ll never get over it… maybe you can use this friend thing as a way to get into her pants.”

Every time you hang out with her, you think about how pretty she is and about how much you have in common. You begin to have imaginary conversations with her where she says that she really likes you and that you really should be together. Pretty soon, you’re writing sonnets about her. Next thing you know, just to be with her, you’re giving her a ride to another guy’s house and picking her up in the morning.

Did you know Richard Nixon used to drive his future wife, Pat, around on dates with other men? He said he was willing to do whatever it took to win her love. It worked for tricky Dick, but do you really want to use him as a role model?


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Filed under Advice, Dating, Politics


Today’s random topics – dogs, the Halo Effect, Helen of Troy.

Recently, I took home yet another stray dog. He was running into traffic and looking for trouble, so it was easy to tell myself I was doing the right thing. I like to think of myself as a dog humanitarian (dogitarian?). The truth is, I’m just massively impulsive. I usually do the first thing that occurs to me without thinking about the consequences. Unfortunately, I’m just smart enough to come up with lots of justifications for my impulses. Which makes me a lot like you, and Helen of Troy.

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Buddha & Fletcher

Dear Steve,

Sidetracking a bit from the theme of “why don’t men call,” you had recently referred to a “certain psychological itch that needs to be scratched” (having something to do with women who are attracted to men who don’t call).  

Here’s my question: What advice do you have for an attractive, intelligent woman who has been to therapy and, on an intellectual level, understands completely the root of her certain psychological itch that causes her to again and again fall for men who make her life a living hell? How does this woman, who understands completely that her poignant ache has little to do with the man whom she is currently pinning away for, finally begin to find love that makes her happy?

Grateful for your insight,


Inertia. Inertia is the problem and inertia is the solution. Inertia and will-power. God, I hate that word, but it’s true. You have a bad habit, one that millions of us share. Namely, you are attracted to the wrong people. The most difficult part of giving up any bad habit is the beginning. That’s when you need the most will-power. Once you have a beginning, then you start to create a new habit. Then, after much time, you will have inertia working on your side. But like most bad habits, attraction has a powerful hold over our minds.

“As a fletcher makes straight his arrow, a wise man makes straight his trembling and unsteady thought, which is difficult to guard, difficult to hold back…
It is good to tame the mind, which is often difficult to hold in and flighty, rushing wherever it listeth; a tamed mind brings happiness.”

Personally, I have no control over my mind. My mind is like a classroom full of five-year-olds with guns and liquor. Still, I think ol’ Buddha has the right idea. In the final analysis, we can only control ourselves. Which is good, because it’s wrong to control other people and it usually makes them cranky.

Dear Steve,

I had a really good female friend, that at first I had no desire toward, but as we got to know each other the more I wanted her. I was not sure as to how to approach this, so I just came out and told her how I felt. I now recognize this as the bad “Stu” move that it was. When she told me she did not want to risk the friendship, I told her I need some space from her. That was in January and I have not spoken to her since. Is there a way to worm my way back into her life without becoming a friend again? Continue reading

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Filed under Advice, Philosophy