Mixed signals

Joey Garcia

My brother introduced me to a girl who was a friend of his girlfriend. She wasn’t my type, but she was visiting from Mexico, and he pressured me to “show her a good time.” I took her out a couple of times, and we slept together. We went out a few more times with my brother and his girlfriend. It was OK, but she is not my type. She’s clingy and overweight. When she returned home, she e-mailed me daily. She returned to the United States in December and said she was moving here. She asked me to help her get a job, so I did. She asked me to take her out, and, as a favor to my brother, I did. We drank too much and slept together again. The next day, while I was at work, she moved her stuff from her friend’s house to mine. I told her to move out, but she refuses. I don’t want to throw her out. She says she is in love with me and that I’m everything she ever wanted. How can I make her understand that I think of her as a friend?

You are dating and having sex with a woman that you are not attracted to, and you think she has a problem? Might I suggest that her problem is you and that your problem is you, too? The antidote is honesty. If you take a woman out, have sex with her, correspond, claim she is not your type but have more sex, allow her to stay at your place while you’re at work and then protest when she moves in, you’re sending a double message. Don’t blame her for selecting the version that she prefers. Blame yourself for being inconsistent and confusing.

If you want a woman to be your friend, treat her like one. Don’t swoop in to rescue her and don’t have sex with her. If you relegate her to “friend with privileges” status but fail to tell her, you are dishonest. (The “friend with privileges” option rarely works anyway. One person inevitably becomes attached and wants more, while the other is adamant about the arrangement as it is.)

Let’s be clear: You have not done your brother a favor, nor are you a “nice guy,” nor are you a friend to this infatuated woman. You’re co-dependent. The neurotic part of your ego is dependent on her being dependent on you. By remaining emotionally distant, you validate your belief that you are a victim. This maintains your inflated ego (a puffed-up ego is a valiant attempt to hide low self-esteem). Shed your burden: If this woman is actually wonderful but doesn’t physically match your expectation of your type, ditch the expectation. But if you don’t really care for her, stop baiting her. Learn how to be a friend.

I work with a lot of really great guys, many of whom are single. I have a friend who is always asking me to set her up. I don’t want to, because I have to work with these guys. If something went wrong, I wouldn’t want it to affect my job. Plus, she has herpes and doesn’t tell the guys she has sex with. Is there something I can say to her to settle this?

Say no, firmly. If she presses for a reason, simply explain that while you hope she meets someone special, you are not willing to risk your job. Then, offer to attend a singles event with her, like the Professionals Guild’s Un-Valentines Hearts & Roses party or an SN&R singles cruise. At either event, she can meet people who are focused on finding a partner, sans the usual bar-scene objectification.

Meditation of the week
I recently attended a prayer service created by five teenage girls, all high-school freshmen. The theme of the service was compassion. At one point in the prayer service, the young women asked those attending to reflect on several questions, including this one: “Would the world be a better place if everyone followed your example?” Wow! If you lived with that question for a week, how would it change your life?

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