Category: Advice Goddess

The Advice Goddess

 Liar Drill 
I’m a guy, and a female friend asked me to objectively rate her looks on a scale of 1 to 10. She has a very high opinion of her looks, but she insisted she wanted the truth, so I told her I’d put her at a 5.5 or 6. Afterward, she sent me a text about boundaries and said she’s cutting me out of her life – for being honest like she asked me to! — Burned If there were a class in “How to be a heterosexual man,” lesson one would be how to answer a woman’s questions about her appearance. She’ll insist you give an honest answer to the classic gotcha question: “Do I look fat in this dress?” Always lie. Well, unless you are held at gunpoint or threatened with disemboweling with a steak knife or rusty pliers. In which case, also lie. Admittedly, this advice is at odds with the black-and-white notions of honesty and deception drilled into us from an early age: Honesty, good! Lying, evil! If we lie, terrible things will happen to us – such as cancer of the nose (as seen in that lie-arrhea-prone puppet, Pinocchio) or pants that spontaneously explode into flame. “For centuries, philosophers and ethicists have railed against deception,” note business school professors and researchers Joseph Gaspar and Maurice Schweitzer. The belief that deception is always...

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The Advice Goddess

Brawl Straps 
I’m a woman in my early 20s. The guy I’m dating brought me to meet his friends. His male friends were warm and friendly. The women were awful. One deliberately kept saying my name wrong (it’s not exactly exotic), and two others glared at my miniskirt. Another said something about how low-cut my top was. She made it sound like a compliment, but it was a mean dig. How can these women be so nasty when they don’t even know me? How do I diffuse situations like these? — Upset Nothing like women celebrating other women: “Way to go, girl! Showing everything but your areolas.” When a man has a beef with another man, he’ll be direct about it: hurl insults at the guy’s face and maybe try to renovate his jaw with a barstool. Women fight sneaky-dirty with other women, using covert tactics, explains psychologist Anne Campbell. These include mobilizing a group of women to ostracize a woman, talking trash to men about her looks and how “loose” she is, and offering “compliments” that are actually nasty digs. Give a woman’s confidence a beatdown and she might dim her shine (cover her miniskirt with a shawl and wipe that sexy red lipstick off on her sleeve). Psychologist Tracy Vaillancourt separated female research participants into random groups. She compared one group’s reactions to a 20-something woman walking...

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The Advice Goddess

Hollow Sheldon Call me old-fashioned, but I find humility attractive, and I’m disturbed by the lack of it in a guy I’ve been dating. He seems to need to keep telling me how desirable he is, like by mentioning he dated some Instagram model and saying, “I’m used to being the smartest guy in the room,” when he initially lied about going to a top-tier university and had actually failed out of community college. I find his lack of humility to be a big turnoff, but my friends keep telling me not to be stupid: He’s a sweet, considerate good guy, who seems to love me. — Disturbed The guy probably figures there’s a reasonable explanation for why you’re with him, like still-lingering impairment from a concussion you got walking into a pole while texting or a rogue amoeba screwing with your brain function. Though you’re getting icked out by what you see as a lack of humility – a guy preoccupied with his own greatness and shoving it at you – consider the sorts of things that require his type of hard sell: for example, cricketburger sliders – as opposed to the bacon cheeseburger variety. You might also consider that the way most people see humility – as not being a showoff, downplaying and even denying one’s talents and accomplishments – seems to be off-base. Though humility has...

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The Advice Goddess

Bond Scare 
My roommate and I are best friends, and we’ve lived together for four years. Recently, she got into a pretty serious relationship, and it seems her priorities have totally shifted. Is a best friend always second place to a boyfriend? Or are they both of equal value?  — Hurt A female best friend can do a lot to make you happy – even give you a baby – though she’ll have to wait till the NICU nurse gets busy and kidnap one for you. It can feel like a betrayal to be downgraded in your bestie’s life when a serious boyfriend comes around. However, evolution’s ultimately to blame. “We are survival machines – robot vehicles blindly programmed” by evolution to preserve our genes by passing them to generations after us,” explains biologist Richard Dawkins in “The Selfish Gene.” Simply put, we’re each a big flesh bus driven by our genes, subconsciously steered to do their bidding. Psychiatrist and evolutionary medicine founder Randolph Nesse sums up the grim reality: “Evolution “does not give a fig about our happiness.” It likewise doesn’t care whether we have friends, save for how they might help us survive and pass on our genes. This sounds cold, but understanding the evolutionary reality can help you stay in your friend’s life and keep her in yours – perhaps without taking her shift in priorities personally. I use that understanding...

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The Advice Goddess

Thin Line Between Love and Bait My relationship with a man I’d been dating was getting serious. His previous relationship ended when his girlfriend dumped him. Last month, he ran into her and told her he was seeing me. She began crying and begged him to take her back. He was torn about what to do. I told him his feelings for her weren’t romantic but stemmed from a sense of obligation, and that he should be angry at her for trying to make him feel bad about moving on with someone else. He still went back to her, and now they’re engaged. I’m furious. Why would he choose to be with someone who dumped him? He could’ve moved forward with someone who really cares, with whom he could have a relationship based on love, not guilt (over making this other woman cry). How can I prevent this from happening to me again? — Outraged We sometimes explain things to ourselves in ways that don’t so much lay out the facts as provide an airbag for our feelings. Take a question I often hear from readers: “Why did he/she stop returning my calls?” Helpfully, many suggest the most likely explanation right in their email; something like, “I just know they were kidnapped by the Russian mob.” Right. And they’re probably still tied up in an abandoned warehouse, being tortured...

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