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 firstname.lastname@example.org or by dropping us a note at our tumblr.
I have been friends with a guy I will call Alan for a few years. We both play music but never play together (different styles); still we have kept up with each other over the years.
We have good chemistry when hanging out one-on-one, and I’ve always enjoyed it whenever that happens. Alan’s made it clear that he would be open to something more, but I am concerned that things might get competitive with both of us sharing similar goals. The few times that it has come up, arguments have tended to ensue. Am I right to be wary of conflict?
No happy relationship was ever described by the words, “we fight a lot about about melodies.” With that said, ground rules for a relationship can accomplish a lot, just as the security of a prenup can assuage the mind of the more financially sucessful party.
Here are some ground rules to keep in mind considering your situation:
1) What kind of music does he play? House? Cool.
2) What are his thoughts on Savage Garden? Neutral. Cool.
3) How well does he know the lyrics to “Girlfriend in a Coma”?
4) Did he seem really low-key and collected when he found out that Thom Yorke unexpectedly released an album? Great.
That should do it. Tread carefully.
I go out with a group of friends who always order wine at every meal. At first I didn’t mind not being the only one drinking, but our dinnertime conversations are becoming progressively sloppier and it makes the evening something of an ordeal.
Is there any way to improve these circumstances without coming off as a killjoy?
Wine, or sad juice as it is called through the greater Pennsylvania area, was created for Europeans who have less problems and anxieties than Americans. Wine is highly addictive: some experts believe it is even more compulsive than cocaine.
Your friends are therefore ensconced in the saucy, grapey grip that won’t let go. The only way to free them from their urges is to take things even more thoroughly in the messed up direction, until the entire group can barely wake up the next morning. Next time y’all meet up at dinner, you can meekly ask for a dry evening. It will be that day that each of your liquored-up friends will understand one of life’s most important lessons: sobriety can, at times, be as exciting as chardonnay.
Illustrations by Mia Nguyen. Access This Recording’s mobile site at thisrecording.wordpress.com.