Oct 2, 2013

Cute d'etat! Cute d'etat! Cute d'etat!

Dear aap
I know everyone else probably complains about the start of school, but after a long, pretty boring Summer it is nice to get back to school, back to my friends - because we live really scattered around and don't see much of each other over the Summer. I'm not a big school geek or anything. I really really don't like getting up so early in the morning, but I don't mind being there. I have friends, most of the teachers are decent enough human beings and our teams suck so badly that the jocks more or less keep to themselves and can't get away with being douchebags like they can at other schools. I'm sure college will be better, but I just mean that school doesn't have to be a non-stop nightmare for most people, and it isn't for me. In fact things are going pretty good in unexpected ways. My girlfriend and I have been together for over a year, but even that is usually better during the school year, because at least we can see each other every day. The summer was tougher, even with texting and stuff. So it was great to see her and my friends and get everyone together. So the weird thing is that one of her friends, one of her best friends is now an enemy due to something that happened over the Summer, but I don't know what. So the weird thing is, her friend has always been ok with me but this year she is talking to me all the time. We are in 2 classes together and she wants to be lab partners and she goes out of her way to find me between classes and she is flirting with me pretty hard. I love my girlfriend, but it isn't like I've been with a lot of different girls and, if I was being objective, this other girl is really hot and has really gotten even hotter over the Summer, and it just seems like my girlfriend is getting mad at me for talking to her former friend, like I can help that. So the truth is that her friend is being nicer to me now anyway, and she is making it clear I think that she would want to date me. I'm not a jerk or anything, but if you could see what I'm in the middle of, you would probably say to go with the new girl. - Small Town Punk.

Dear STP -
I don't have to see anything to know you're in the middle of waaaaay more than you realize.

Sure, there is, statistically speaking, a verrrrrry slight chance that your read of the situation is on target: Your girlfriend has become an unappreciative harpy just as this other, hotter girl, who has known you for a while but never before expressed any interest in you, has suddenly, after having a completely-unrelated-to-this-situation fight with your girlfriend over the Summer, decided that you are the 2013 edition of Prince Charming.

Sure, that could be the whole story... but that isn't the way the smart money would bet. 

As a guy, you probably know exactly where you stand with your male friends 99% of the time, right? The guys you can count on, generally, stay that way, and the guys you don't trust or dislike probably feel the same way about you. If you piss off one of your good friends, accidentally or on purpose, he is probably going to let you know and call you on it, in very direct ways. He isn't going to weave some Machiavellian scheme to ruin your life that might also include innocent stooges who are unaware of the plan.

Girls often aren't so lucky. While your same-sex friendships are often based (and often only extend as far as) shared interests in activities, bands, sports, games etc., their friendships, especially at your age, while they might start in the same way as your guy/guy friendships do, often go a lot deeper and are often based more on emotional intimacy and 'trust' and the sharing and keeping of each other's secrets. That sort of sharing creates powerfully intense friendships. It can also breed very dangerous enemies. 

I hate to shoot you in the ego here, but if I had to bet, I would bet on this: This 'new' girl really doesn't care about you, or even if she does a little bit, what she REALLY cares about is sticking it to her ex-friend... your girlfriend. 

Come on, man. You said they had a fight over the Summer and now they're not friends anymore and you seriously think her new infatuation with you is just a coincidence? Timing? Have YOU changed that much this Summer that she would notice? Are you suddenly much taller? Better looking? Funnier? ...enough that she would suddenly notice you the way she now (allegedly) has? Highly unlikely. Look at it from the outside. This 'new' girl scores a win every time your girlfriend gets upset either at you, or in front of you... You start thinking badly of her, like "Why is she mad at me?" and "Why is she no fun anymore?" while this other girl seems so "into" you and so no-hassle... 

Can't you see this is a set-up? 

Granted, your girlfriend can't tell you who you're allowed or not allowed to talk to... just as you can't tell her who she's allowed to interact with, but I think you have to pay closer attention to the true motivations behind this new girl's attentions. You have to put aside the ego-inflating thought that "of course she's into me, she finally figured out how awesome I am... while, apparently my current girlfriend has forgotten how awesome I am."

Don't ask your girlfriend's other friends what their opinion is... talk about kicking a hornet's nest! There are probably six different sides to the story of whatever happened between them this Summer, so you won't find any clarity there. Talk to your current girlfriend about this. Directly. Ask her for details about what went down this Summer between her and the other girl. This is a chance for you to be both brave and honorable. I know that sounds like a tall order and that maybe I'm making a bigger deal out of this than I should, but the direct approach is always the best. Even if it ends up being painful, it doesn't cause any pain that wasn't going to happen sooner or later anyway (and likely be worse pain the later it occurs) and it saves everyone a lot of time.

If you break up with your current girlfriend so you can be with this new girl, I can almost promise you that the new girl will suddenly and shockingly lose interest in you very soon after that break-up occurs. You asked, so that is my advice. If I'm wrong, feel free to write back in a few months and tell me how it all shook out.  ...but I seriously doubt I'm wrong.

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