In Which We Have A Thoughtless Feeling Inside

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


For the past year, I have awoken myself early to go for a run before work. Recently, my roommate Anna’s doctor suggested that she start running, and she invited herself along on my morning runs. I have tried to make the best of this, but she talks the entire time about her worries and her complaining about the pace gets kind of annoying as well.

Previously this had been a peaceful part of my day; now it has turned into a chore. I can’t just tell her how much she ruins this for me, since we have to go on living together, and it is kind of hard to hide what I’m doing considered our close proximity. Is there any way out of this?

Laney F.


I mean if you told her you were doing personal training on the side and would be sending her a bill that would probably get things moving in the right direction. But no, that will not accomplish the prime goal of any useful lie – to directly eliminate the hurt feelings the truth so seems to consistently cause.

Since she seems to obey her own doctor, it may be best you have your doctor chime in on this as well. Maybe your “doctor” can inform you that you need to be running at night. Without you to push her she might give up the mornings and running altogether, at which point you can covertly switch back. This introduces a lot of complications, but could be the most pain-free solution.

A fake boyfriend that Anna hates and who criticizes her is probably your best bet. You can use a friend or hire an actor; she will probably see that this is a couples activity now and gracefully bow out. Problem solved.


I recently broke up with my girlfriend of nine months and I feel like I am going through the twelve stages of grief. It is hard to connect with someone else and the energy required to keep up with dating is not really in me right now.

Still, I feel like meeting someone else would probably help me get over things faster? I want this to be as pain-free a process as possible, and it feels like all I do is think about Maggie or compare other women to her. I have written her and called but she doesn’t reply. Do you have any tips for getting through this rough period?

Walter S.

Dear Walter,

Every human person allows their perspective on the world to be altered by different things. Think of what you did – and this need not be related to romance at all – that last altered your point of view on life as a whole. Was it a trip, a fuck, a movie or book? You’ll want to repeat whatever that is, in hopes of giving you an identification with someone else’s situation that has a chance of putting yours in perspective.

As for the not answering your messages: if someone is ignoring you, that means it either causes them great pain to have to communicate with you, or they simply do not give a shit anymore. Either is really bad news for you. It is not only not healthy to continue sending messages into a void and believing you might get a response, it is a waste of your energies that could be directed on someone who actually values you as a person.

Illustrations by Mia Nguyen.

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