Surviving e-drama

Joey Garcia

I’ve been e-mailing a guy in L.A. that I met on the Internet. I have high moral standards and feel that the guy should always call the girl first, so when he sent his phone number, I didn’t call. Eventually I gave him my number and he left a message. I called a day later and got the distinct feeling that he didn’t want to talk. After that, it was e-mail only. He wrote that Valentine’s Day “sucked” because he had no one to share it with. I wrote that I expected to be in L.A. soon and maybe we could meet. I haven’t heard from him since. My heart says to ignore his future e-mails and call him in two weeks. Maybe I should also forget about going to L.A. because I’ll be tempted to call. I’m not a bad looking woman and I know I could find somebody else, but there is something about this guy that keeps me hanging on. Normally I would never bother with Internet dating but my other option is being at the mercy of friends setting me up. What should I do?

E-mail is a digital phone call. So if you sent the first e-mail, you already compromised your standards. But if this fellow sent the first e-mail, who cares? What moral value exists in expecting the man to phone first, but then chasing him when he doesn’t respond to your advances? Long-term, committed, loving relationships are based on mutuality. If you’re not awake to his resistance, you may attempt to win him over by trying to sell him on how wonderful you are. Believe me, that kind of behavior is sure to upend high moral standards because it quickly degrades into desperation. Yours.

Being at the mercy of blind dates set up by kind friends is a better option, in my opinion. But if your relationship pattern is to chase men who avoid emotional intimacy with you, this guy’s come-hither-go-to-hell behavior will keep you hanging on. My suggestion? Let go. And next time, remember: 1. In the digital dating world men offer their phone numbers first as a courtesy. 2. If you get “distinct feelings,” be honest and ask if they’re true. 3. Don’t plan strategies (i.e. ignoring e-mail, calling in two weeks). Dating is not a chess game.

I was promoted and a colleague was assigned to help me ease into my new responsibilities by acting as my mentor. In a conversation with him, I mentioned my concerns about working with someone in the department who is notoriously difficult to get along with. I shared a few examples of my interactions with this person, believing that the conversation was confidential. But later, at a company function, two people confided that they had also had trouble with the employee that I struggle with. I find it hard to trust my mentor now. How should I confront him?

It appears that your mentor’s attempt to protect you from feeling alone resulted in you feeling, well, alone. Be truthful: did you ask your mentor to keep the conversation about this other employee strictly confidential? If not, please take 50 percent responsibility for the breech of information. Now, be scrupulously honest. Did you ever wish others knew how difficult this difficult person really was? Alacazam! Your wish has been granted. When you’re ready to admit your role in this sitcom, talk to your mentor. Begin by laughing at yourself: “When I had troubles with [insert name of challenging employee here] I would wish that everyone knew how difficult she was! Well (laughter), now some do! I do wish that our conversation had been confidential, but … “

Meditation of the week
“I seek to live a life that will never be so full of activities that I will be unable to take time to meet the immediate needs of those around me,” wrote Ruth Paine in a college essay. What activities must be removed from your life so you can be present with the people in your life?

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