In Which We Use The Word Incessantly

Hard to Say is This Recording’s weekly advice column. It will appear every Wednesday until the Earth perishes in a fiery blaze, or until North West turns 40. Get no-nonsense answers to all of your most pressing questions by writing to or by dropping us a note at our tumblr.


This past year in college, I have developed an extremely clingy friend who I will call Billy. Billy is not a bad guy or anything like that; he just believes that he has found his best friend and I think otherwise. If I sound callous that is because I am a little tired of him representing to other people on my behalf.

This summer will likely be even more challenging, since Billy chose an internship in the Midwestern city I am from. I have friends from high school I plan on spending the summer with and I don’t want Billy around all the time.

Can you help?

Alex T.

Dear Alex,

This sounds more like an unrequited love affair, which is a lot easier to dispense with, since you can start an affair with someone else. While normally I would suggest you commence immediately with an off-putting habit that will send most people running in the other direction, I suspect Billy will embrace your newfound love of cigar smoking and become the cigar king of Chicago.

Since any oversized move you make has a chance of backfiring, you should play this more subtly. Get a feeling for the things Billy would not be willing to do with you. Here are some possibilities you can hesitantly explore:

AA/NA meetings

Juice bars

Escape rooms sometimes offer internships

Crack rock


Whatever it is that Billy finds disgusting will be your ticket out of this unwanted closeness. You’re welcome.

Also, when you lie, don’t touch your face. Also, when you lie, don’t touch your face.


My boyfriend Kyle and I have a great relationship. We spend almost all our free time together and we rarely argue or fight. He’s really supportive of me and never criticizes anything I do. 

There is one problem though. Kyle fancies himself an amateur gourmet. He is always planning some recipe composed of farm-to-table ingredients. Once he smiled at a lobster he was about to boil, which was a little strange, but the larger issue is that Kyle can’t really cook. His meals are so adventurous that they’re frequently inedible. He consumes them with aplomb and never seems to notice my lack of enthusiasm. How can I make him stop without getting in leg-deep shit? 

Angela D. 

Dear Angela,

Just come up with some strange diet plan that requires cooking things that even this Julia Childish can’t screw up.

Preface your lie by saying that you had an allergic reaction to one of his terrible meals (preferably rabbit, since humans should not consume rabbits except as a direct fuck you to Beatrix Potter). Explain that you were tested for allergies and it turns out you have some rare condition which involves never consuming the worst of his preparations in any form whatsoever.

Illustrations by Mia Nguyen.


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