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Dearest Becci
At this point in the year, I feel that the proper thing to do as a student would be to study *shocked face*. But I have a problem that seems to plague me like some revolting parasite on the inside of my lip. One of my closest friends has recently broken up with her boyfriend after several Shakespearean moments of melodrama. It was the usual: he cheated on her, he wants her back, blah, blah, blah. We’ve heard it all before, and I just want to tell these two to shut the fuck up. I’m trying to concentrate on passing by pouring shitloads of energy into reading books and paying attention to lecturers, and I really don’t know how to tell these two to leave their high-school bullshit behind – without hurting their feelings, of course. It’s one of those O.C type storylines, where they WILL eventually get back together, even though it may appear otherwise, I do fully care for my friends, which is why I am asking for your assistance on this matter. What do you suggest I do?
Hmm. Honestly, I don’t see this as much of a problem. Just talk to your friend. Precede your comments with phrases like “Hey, please don’t get offended, but…” or “I’m really sorry, but…”, and let them know that their arguing is affecting your study. Hopefully, she’ll then at least try to leave you alone. You want to emphasise that you’re not angry at her or anything, and definitely avoid taking sides in any arguments.
Also, be sure to mention that you could probably do without constant updates on the situation, which I assume you’re getting. I know how annoying those can be. Oh, and don’t forget to mention that it doesn’t mean you have to hang out less, so she knows you’re not using it as an excuse. On the other hand, if you don’t like this idea, simply avoiding her for a little while until the bickering has reduced to a quiet simmer could work just as well. I don’t know how or where you study, but if they are either in or close enough at hand to affect it, you might want to look for a new environment to work in, just for a little while.
But I’d totally just be upfront with her about it. It shouldn’t be that big a deal.
I’m obsessed with a married woman. How do I get over my obsession?
Oh no! Married people are pretty much the ultimate in no-go zones. Unless your little brother’s ex is totally coming onto you at a party last weekend. That’s pretty much the ultimate in no-go zones. Also, really weird.
Because I don’t have any details, I’m going to assume some. Firstly, that there’s a significant age difference. Secondly, that the feeling is unrequited. Thirdly, that they’re not such an integral part of your life that everything will change if you try to cut them out.
And this, of course, is exactly what you should do. Getting all hung up on someone who doesn’t feel the same way is a waste of emotions at the best of times. When they’re never going to feel the same way, it’s even worse. And even if they did feel the same way, you’d be seriously screwing up a third party’s (the husband)’s life. So you should pretty much be getting out of that situation right away.
Did you see that scene in Love Actually, where that guy is totally in love with his best friend’s wife, but she thinks he doesn’t like her much at all? That kind of thing. You need some kind of a barrier to protect yourself from both getting hurt and hurting others.
Also, I’m fairly sure this isn’t exactly the easiest thing in the world to do. As I suggested in a previous column, the Counseling Service are friggin’ fantastic. You might want to consider paying them a visit. If it’s not for you, no problem – just don’t go back.
Is he interested in me and shy, or just not interested?
Ah. I love that everyone encounters this problem at some point in their lives. Everyone. Not just girls. Has anyone ever listened to ‘Girl Afraid’ by The Smiths?
Best song ever.
One thing I need to say before I go on is that if you’re sending him mixed signals – even just a little bit – stop. Right now. Guys have a habit of assuming you mean what you say. If you’ve said you don’t like him, he will likely have taken your word for it, and will be much less likely to try something himself. Other things to consider: is he the quiet, introverted type? Unsurprisingly, these people are less likely to go out on a limb and proclaim their emotions from the rooftops.
Gothic poetry is an exception (and awful).
That said, just because he’s a friendly dude who talks to everyone doesn’t mean he’s not shy when it comes to relationships. They’re quite different things. They needn’t be, but as a general rule, they are. So take that with a grain of salt. And also consider that some people have totally mastered the whole fake confidence thing. They act all extroverted as a sort of defense mechanism, so that social interaction isn’t totally overwhelming.
But back to the original question – how do you tell? It’s not easy. The first place to start is to ask a close friend if they think he’s into you, or might be.
The next thing to do is to send subtle (but not too subtle: see paragraph 2) hints. If he picks up on them, he’s almost certainly interested. A guy who isn’t normally won’t even notice. And if he reciprocates – woohoo! You’ve totally won.
And on a final happy note: Well, I took your advice from last week and managed to work up the courage to tell him how I feel, ‘cos I figured I had nothing to lose anyway!
He likes me too! I can’t believe it! I’ve spent three miserable years at university liking this guy, and he likes me, too! We are now going out and are very happy together.
Thanks for your much needed advice

Awesome! Glad I could help!
If you have any questions for Becci please send them to editor@Salient.org.nz