And we're back with more sage wisdom. This week, we have a dog-hater, a victim of cheapness, and a dude losing his beer, and they all have one thing in common: they don't know how to talk to people.
Let's get to it.
Dear Mr. Brilliant,
I hate my girlfriend's dog. I'm not an anti-dog person, but I've never really loved them. She says this dog is "her little angel" except it also fucking bites me all the time, and growls when I sit next to her. How can I fix this without pissing her off?
Jack Russel Victim
Dear Soulless Weirdo,
First of all, if you've never loved dogs, check yourself into a mental hospital. I can't help you.
Okay sorry. I know that doesn't help. I just had to say it, because seriously, dogs are beacons of joy, and love, and all things good and you are hollow inside, and you should hate yourself.
Okay sorry again. I'll try to assume you're a decent human being now.
Look, okay. As someone who doesn't love dogs, you probably don't understand the connection people have to them, as it sounds like your girlfriend has. That's okay, but it's worth recognizing--not because you should sit there and take the abuse, but because it informs you about how you can talk to her about it.
And yes, you do need to talk to her about it. This is how you avoid that unfortunate episode where your frustration boils up until you find yourself grabbing the dog by the ears and yelling, "I hate you you fucking bitch!" only to have your girlfriend's mom walk in and assume you're actually psychotic forever and ever.
If you care about your girlfriend, you can swallow your desire to drown the little fucker and consider the talking route instead. Here's how:
First off, mix the truth with some comforting lies. Talk about the dog on your girlfriend's level. Talk about how you love it, and you understand how she does, but then calmly bring up the idea of obedience training. If you have the means, maybe even offer to help pay for it.
Look at other solutions as well. Does the dog get enough exercise? Is there anything in your behavior that's causing you to unintentionally rile up the dog? Is the dog sensing that you're a heartless sociopath hellbent on not enjoying the greatest creatures alive?
These are all Googleable things, so it may be worth doing some light research.
If all of this sounds too strenuous for you, you may just not actually give a shit about your girlfriend, and would be best off breaking it off.
My boyfriend is cheap. Like I don't want to be ungrateful or anything, and I'm not the most materialistic person, but from dinners to gifts to like, everything, he just seems like he doesn't want to spend anything on me. It's not a patriarchal thing because I spend on him. And he does have money too. So I don't know. It just feels shitty. Am I an asshole for thinking like this?
Yes, I probably am.
Dear Gold Digger (Relax, I'm kidding),
If he has money, then no, you're not an asshole. If he actually doesn't have much money and you're like "but come on, you have some money," then you're still only kind of an asshole.
I'm guessing what you're really thinking is that it feels like he's unwilling to sacrifice for you, and that bothers you. In a way, it makes you feel less valued by him, and even though it's really dumb, we all want to feel valued (because, we're a bunch of insecure children who need outside validation GOD I HATE US.)
As is pretty much always the case, the solution here is talking carefully with him about it. I'm sure he has his reasons for being like this, and those are worth taking into consideration before you talk to him. But just because that's the way he is doesn't mean that's the way he has to be. He can be more considerate and get better just like I'm sure you can probably get better in about fifty ways.
So first of all, figure out how you feel. I posited a guess up there (about you not feeling valued), but it's just a guess. I don't live inside of your brain.
Figure out exactly what it is about his cheapness that bothers you, before you express your problems to him. If not, you'll just end up doing what we all do when we're angry about something uncomfortable--you'll redirect your anger.
Next thing you know, you'll end up screaming at him for the way he doesn't use the rough side of the sponge to scrub dishes, and then a back and forth will ensue, and you'll end up calling him a "cheap penishole" in a yelling match, and really, what is that going to accomplish?
It's also important to look at it within the context of the whole relationship. If the problem is that you feel undervalued, does this go beyond his cheapness? Does he generally not treat you like you matter very much? I don't know the answer, but you need to, because if it's part of an over all problem, you have some bigger shit to address.
And let me reiterate that you need to speak with him carefully. Dudes get butthurt just as much if not more so that ladies. If you don't believe me, set up a scenario where you see another man's penis (like in a movie or by Googling Chris Brown), and just say, "Wow," and see what happens.
Point being, we're also sensitive little butterflies who redirect our anger constantly, and that's worth taking into consideration.
So don't use words like "cheap" or "stingy." Also do NOT talk about how he "doesn't appreciate you enough" like it's an objective fact.
Instead, say that you sometimes feel unappreciated. Communicate what you're struggling with, but try to avoid sobbing and groveling. That will make him feel bad and change his behavior for like four seconds.
Real, calm, rational communication is the way to go. Convince him of why you feel this way instead of whining, and if he's worth having around, he will listen and make an effort to change.
My roommate keeps drinking my beer. I don't want to make things weird, but this shit is annoying. What should I do?
Beerless in Dallas
Oh what a dilemma! The awkward situations! The thievery! What is one to do?
Look I've been through this before, and in my bouts of anxiety, I've thought out many possibilities for this scenario.
1. Writing and performing a Broadway-style song to ask him to please stop.
2. Wait until you catch him doing it, and stare at him like he killed your child until he says something.
3. In the ultimate move of passive aggression, take pictures of your beers in his room, and draw question marks all over it (only to then of course act like nothing is wrong when he sees you next).
4. Wait until he is within sight of the kitchen. Then make a visual point to storm over to the fridge (do it dramatically enough to make him look), and then stare him in the eyes as you lick right around the bottle cap of every bottle you have in there. If you have cans, even better.
5. Start to take his shit without asking. You can start eating his strawberries, and using his silverware. If he's not getting the message, you can just very plainly wear his old high school t-shirt with his name on it, and then deny you're doing it to his face.
6. Failing all of this, you can peel off the initial layer of awkwardness and have an adult conversation with him about it. I know, I know. The horror.
This is your only real option, and it's worth doing regardless of the results because really, you should get used to having awkward conversations. It's part of being a grownup (in my experience, it's most of being a grownup).
If you'd like to receive some of my sage wisdom, shoot me an e-mail at Will@BeBetterStupid.com.