Dear Harlan: My best friend, who is a girl, went through her first real breakup about a year ago with a guy she had dated for around 10 months.
She’s been distraught ever since and unable to get over it. Whenever he shows any interest in her, she ends up hooking up with him and being upset all over again when she realizes it’s a one-time thing.
Recently, I heard that he had been with a bunch of girls at college.
I decided to tell her to help her get over him. She’s been upset since I told her and she confronted him about it.
I have two questions. First, how can I get my friend to finally move on and get over this guy?
Second, how do I handle this situation if confronted by the guy or friends for telling her about what he’s done? — Caught in the Drama
Dear in the Drama: Putting aside the fact that you might have a painful crush on your best friend, here’s what I’d tell my best female friend:
“(Insert friend’s name) first, you know how much I care about you and want you to be happy. Right?
“I can’t imagine how painful it must be for you to get past your ex, but I wanted to remind you that you are so smart, so attractive, and have so many amazing qualities.
“There literally are thousands of guys waiting to date you, love you, respect you and treat you the way you deserve to be treated. You deserve the best, and your ex is treating you the worst.
“Not only is it disrespectful hooking up with you when he knows you want to get back with him, it’s unthinkable that he’s exposing you to any sexually transmitted diseases he might have.
“Because I care about you, I’m going to remind you over and over again that you live in a world of endless options.
“If in a few weeks you still can’t see it — I want to help you find professional help. I’m always here for you. Please be good to yourself. Get him out of your life and start living life again.”
As for how to deal with a possible confrontation with her ex — I’d shut up and walk away. You can’t engage a guy like that and win.
Defending yourself will just get him to attack you and force her to take sides. Don’t play his game, and you will win.
Dear Harlan: The response you gave to the young man who wrote to you about his friend who was sexually assaulted at a fraternity house was well done.
However, there is one more step that the young man can take to help prevent sexual assault on his campus — become a member of a sexual-assault prevention group. Dr. John Foubert, Oklahoma State University, just released The Men’s and Women’s Programs: Ending Rape Through Peer Education.
The books contain a full explanation of how to organize a sexual-assault prevention group on a campus, and provide a step-by-step script of what to say and do to encourage other student peers to be the sort of bystander who helps to prevent sexual assault. — Chuck Eberly, professor of counseling and student development, Eastern Illinois University
Hi Chuck: Thank you. I appreciate the resource and hope people pick it up and check it out.
Dear Harlan: I’m a sophomore in college and a commuter student. As a commuter, it’s really hard to get that real college experience all my other friends have seemed to pick up effortlessly while living on campus.
I’ve tried, and I’ve made some acquaintances from class, but I’ve realized the school just isn’t a right “fit” for me.
I’m already enrolled to transfer to a state school, which was my second college choice originally. I already have some friends from high school who go there as well.
My transfer school is a pretty major party school, and I don’t drink, or really party at all for that matter. Also, everyone I know does drink, which automatically puts me on the social outskirts.
I’m already halfway through my college career, and I want to make the most out college that I can, and be able to make solid friendships as well, all while being 100 percent sober.
It’s easier said than done though, and I want to enjoy the true college experience that has eluded me my past two years, all without the baggage that comes with the booze. — Sober and Socially Stuck
Dear Sober: What’s “The True College Experience”?
The answer: You’re living it.
It’s just not the true or real experience you want it to be. Instead of wasting another second thinking that everyone is having a better experience than you (it’s not true) or that everyone is drunk while having it (also not true), write out exactly what you want your experience to become in the next two years.
Make it as detailed as possible. Once you spell it out, map it out. Mapping it out means putting together a step-by-step action plan.
Include the steps you’ll take to make it happen and how long it will take. While mapping it out, turn to advisers, instructors and students living the experiences you want to live on your current and future campuses.
Find them through the admissions office, campus websites, and clubs and organizational listings.
Ask them about their experiences. Talk to them about alcohol use on campus. Ask them how long it took for them to create their best experiences.
Then, use this to create your own best college experience. You might just discover the real college experience you want isn’t at the place you want to go. Better to figure it out now than in two years when you graduate.
Harlan is the author of ‘Dad’s Pregnant Too’. Write Harlan at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit online: www.helpmeharlan.com. All letters submitted become property of the author. Send paper to Help Me, Harlan! 2506 N. Clark St., Ste. 223, Chicago, IL 60614.