A free personal online advice column

November 2, 2004
Dear Jenn,

I have an annoying brother. Please help me.

Dear Humiliated,
Brothers and sisters, whether they are older or younger, can be a challenge at any age. But they are particularly challenging when you are young and/or a teenager. You won't change him and he won't change you. Try to tolerate it now, and I can promise you that as you both grow up, all the annoying things he does now you will look on with affection as an adult. Your relationship with him will become closer than even your best friend.

Believe me, I couldn't get along with my brother until I was 23 and he was 17. But we are the best of friends now.

September 18, 2004
Dear Jenn,

My girlfriend and her neighbor are having a joint birthday party. Would it be in bad taste for me not to bring the neighbor a gift seeing as her birthday was on 9/12 and the party isn't until 10/2? It's important that I do the right thing because I'm spending a lot of money on my girlfriend and I know she will reciprocate.

Dear Perplexed,
Is this a teenager's party, or an adult party? Because while it's all good and fun to have your friends bring you presents when you're 16, adults generally don't expect gifts at a birthday party. They are appreciated, but not expected. But to avoid any awkwardness, maybe you could just give your girlfriend her present in private instead of at the party? Or if you are feeling guilty for not doing anything for the friend, maybe you could offer to do something for the party, even if it's just something as simple as picking up the keg that day? I'm sure she'll need the "muscles"!

March 25, 2004
Dear Jenn,

I recently got back together with my ex-boyfriend. At first things were really good, but now it seems we are headed back to the same routines that made me so unhappy before. That being said, there has also been a twist added. A guy that I dated shortly while we were separated has come back into the picture. So how do I break the heart of my ex again and and move on? I am a very tender-hearted person and so its hard for me to put my happiness in front of someone else's. Especially someone I care for. What do I do? I'm talking to a man that I don't know where our future is headed and I'm with a man that wants to marry me that doesn't make me feel that "smiley" feeling. Help...

Dear Looking for Happiness,
If you are truly looking for your happiness you aren't going to find it this way. Happiness comes from within, not from your companion. This man who has your stomach doing flips is new and exciting and "unchartered territory". That is a natural reaction. And you are feeling less than excited about your current relationship... which makes this other man all the more attractive. I think you need to forget men for a while and get on your own feet. Find your OWN happiness. Only then can you truly share it with someone else. But I must warn you: If you decide to leave the man you are with now, make this a final decision and DO NOT look back. Make SURE you are sure. If you are wishy-washy with him and change your mind again six months from now, that isn't fair to him OR you. And if you just can't resist your 'stomach flips' with the other guy after that? It's important to keep it EXTREMELY causal while you focus on finding YOURSELF.


March 23, 2004
Dear Jenn,

I have a woman friend that I am feeling a strong connection with. The problem is that she is living with a guy who is a real jerk. She wants to leave him but she is afraid. See, their checking account, her car, everything is in his name. I offered her a place to live and a car to drive if she got the guts to leave him, but she is still hesitating. I guess what I want to know is, why do women stay in bad relationships?

Dear Trying to Understand Women,
Without really knowing your lady friend, I would have to guess from what you told me that she is the type of woman who likes to be taken care of. This is not a BAD thing! But this is how she fell into the trap of letting this man she lives with control her money, her car, and probably the deed/lease to their home. Many woman prefer to let their man handle these types of things. However, now she is looking at her life and saying, "Without him, I have no home, no car, and no money. With him, I have security and stability, even if I am unhappy." So that is the answer to your question.

However, I feel compelled to advise you about your offer to take her in while she gets on her feet. That was a VERY noble offer. But didn't you suggest an attraction between the two of you? I can foresee her moving in, you two starting something, and she never leaves. Before you know it, she is in the same boat. Tell her she can stay while she gets on her feet, but that you don't want to date until she gets her own place. That way YOU don't feel guilty about making her move out, and she has a goal to work towards without romantic interference.


March 19, 2004
Dear Jenn,

A while ago I was going through a hard time and took out my anger in a really irrational way on my friends and family. I lost a friend who was very important to me thru this - do you think she will ever be able to forgive me? If she does forgive me I will send her a picture of my left thumb as a peace offering. If she does not forgive me I will send her two pictures of it. I really hope she is well.

Dear Remorseful Friend,
If your friend is a good person, I'm sure that she will listen to you if you explain to her what was happening to you at the time. You might find out also, if you reach out to her, that your timing is perfect and she could really use your friendship right now.

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