Dear Harlan: How long should I wait to text back a guy I met? I’ve been told that it’s a good idea to wait at least two hours before texting back. Is there any truth to waiting to text someone? If so, how long should I wait? — Texting
Dear Texting: Here’s a bigger question — do you use an exclamation point if he doesn’t use an exclamation point? Does using an exclamation point make you seem too excited? What about an emoticon?
What if you text back too soon and use too many exclamation points? What if you use one exclamation point and he doesn’t use any? What if you use three and he uses one?
Here’s my big problem with your question — if you’re THIS concerned about doing the right thing before dating him, how will you ever be able to trust your instincts while dating him? If you’re this concerned about impressing him and getting him to like you now, how far will you go to make sure this guy likes you?
Here’s when you text him back — when you feel like it. If he thinks you’re too excited, he needs to find someone less excited. If he thinks you like him too much because you are too enthusiastic, he needs to find someone who likes him less and who is a lot less enthusiastic. If texting too soon ruins the possibility of a relationship, it was never a relationship worth having.
Dear Harlan: I’m so worried to meet my two roommates in a few weeks! I got the worst situation ever: Two friends requested each other, and I ended up being put into their room. OK, maybe it’s not THE worst situation, since it could turn out alright. But I’m always thinking of the potential bad sides, and how I’d have to live with it for the whole school year. For example, we might not get along.
Also, I have this terrible sleeping habit (not that I can help it) of snoring. I feel like my snoring will annoy them too. The problem is, people make fun of my snoring and it bothers me.
I guess the real problem for college is that I’m scared I won’t get along with my roommates, they won’t accept me and make fun of me to other people. How should I approach the situation, if it turns bad? Or, how do I prevent it from turning bad? — Worried All The Time
Dear Worried: Until there is a problem, don’t create one. They might have terrible gas and fart uncontrollably. They might have boyfriends who spend the night and keep you up all night. They might snore louder and have louder snoring boyfriends who keep you up all night and expel gas in the morning. You can create endless situations to worry about, but until there’s something to worry about, don’t. If snoring poses a problem, you’ll welcome their suggestions and find a solution.
You can consider getting a white-noise machine, get them earplugs, see a doctor, or worst-case scenario, move out of the room. There will be a solution.
All you can control is how you approach the situation. Be kind, be considerate and make sure you have ways to make friends outside of your room. Then, rest easy knowing that while you sleep, they get to listen to you snore.
Dear Harlan: I’m about to go off to college with a major in engineering.
Needless to say, because I’m entering in such a competitive and academically challenging field, I’m determined to make school and my grades my top priority. I’m very nervous about how I will do, and want to continue the discipline I practised in high school.
A guy I met (through the engineering Facebook group for my school) has begun trying to pursue a relationship with me. I like the guy, but I’m very hesitant to start a relationship and go through a lifestyle change simultaneously, especially since my only other serious relationship distracted me from my school work.
(Granted, I was a clueless 16-year-old back then. Now I’m just a clueless 18-year-old.)
So, what’s your take? Am I trying to be too rational about this and should I just go for it, or should I remain a free spirit and focus on my studies? — Zoe
Dear Zoe: Shutting your love life down would be a HUGE mistake.
It’s the equivalent of constructing a life that has no balance. Engineers should know better. Get settled. Find out how much time your academic obligations will consume.
Then, engineer a love life. Get creative.
Have romantic study dates. Reward your partner with “love” prizes for correct answers. Find a way to achieve balance. Otherwise, you might open your eyes and realize you’re a clueless 25-year-old engineer who knows how to construct buildings, but is clueless when it comes to building relationships.
Dear Harlan: I’m 22 years old, and have a 10-month-old son. I will be attending a large university by the end of this month.
The distance from the college and my home is about an hour and a half, but I will be living on campus.
My mother is going to watch my son during the week and I will be home on the weekends to spend time with him. I’m worried that I will be one of few single parents and will not be able to make many friends because I can’t just go out and party or whatever the other students do. — Single Parent
Dear Single Parent: Single moms can still go to parties during the week, just don’t take your baby with you. Single moms can still get involved with activities on campus, just don’t take your baby with you (unless it’s a single moms’ group).
Single moms can still make friends with people who don’t have kids, they just need to be selective when it comes to sharing too much info too soon. For sure, there will be some 18-year-olds who might not be able to relate to you because you’re a single mom with far more life experience. But there will be a lot people who will find you someone worth knowing. It just takes time and putting yourself in places where it will be easier to meet these types of people. Leadership groups, public-service organizations, and student government are a few places where you can find people. Also, look for any resources for single moms. Start with the day-care center on campus and chat with the people running the facility to find out where a single mom can find support. And if you find there are no resources for single moms (I’d be surprised), start one. You can be a mom and have friends.